Giving a presentation at a conference is very difficult and quite nerve-wracking! You have to explain your knowledge as best as you can in front of an audience of people you have to engage. You might not feel like an expert in your field, but the pressure is on to act like one while you're giving a presentation.
This might all sound pretty awful, but never fear! Presentations are rarely as bad as they seem. With a few simple tips, we can help you create a presentation everyone at your next conference will enjoy, engage with and learn from.
Think about what they will take away
You will almost certainly end up with a lot of different ideas, concepts and themes you want to include in your presentation. Many of these will be great, but you are always in danger of including too much. You don't want your presentation to become so busy and cluttered that nobody understands what the central point is.
Most people will only take one thing away from a presentation, so you should make sure there is a single focus. Try and think about the main thing you want people to learn, and structure your presentation around that. That way, everyone will come away with a clear idea of what you have taught them.
Human beings learn better if information is presented to them visually. We like pictures, videos, graphs - any way you can think of to present your information in a way that isn't just a wall of text.
If you have a lot of detailed information to get through, consider giving people handouts and summing the text up with images in your presentation. That means they can focus on what you are saying rather than on taking notes.
Practice, practice, practice!
It should go without saying that you should practice your presentation before giving it. This means reading it out loud, whether that's in front of a friend or a mirror. This is a great tactic for spotting areas that need shoring up with more information, as you can take note of when you end up grasping for things to say and fix your presentation so this doesn't occur.
You will also get used to the presentation overall. This will help you cut down on the amount you stumble, stall or stutter as you will be familiar with the order and all the topics. If you don't practice, you might find yourself at a slide that you don't remember creating or a topic you aren't 100 per cent on in the middle of your presentation.
Finally, you need to remember to relax. If you're nervous about giving your presentation, it is usually noticeable in your public speaking. You might start to stammer, look down at your shoes or hide behind your notes; all things you should avoid when presenting information to dozens of people!
Work out a way of relaxing and do it before your presentation. This could be squeezing a stress ball, meditating or even just taking a few deep breaths; whatever calms you down!