9 tips for introverts to make solid presentations
In a ‘social gathering’ of social stigmas, introversion can be found awkwardly standing in a corner with a drink in hand, not making eye-contact, while planning every possible exit strategy. That’s probably how most people see you as if you’re an introvert. In most societies, the outgoing charismatic people are on top of the food chain, whereas introverts are mostly misunderstood. Susan Cain, in her phenomenal TED talk about introversion, says that most school and work environments usually facilitate productivity for extroverted people. But that doesn’t mean that introverts cannot make it.
Image : shutterstock
One thing that introverts can find unpleasant to deal with is making presentations at the workplace. It means interacting with people to push an idea that needs to sell. So, four important things you’d need to focus on would be preparation, interaction, and execution. Preparing for a presentation would include gathering all the resources that form the crux of your presentation and making it an interaction which goes both ways, that is, between you and your audience. Execution would require you to decide how to go about your presentation with the right kind of tools.
Here are some tips to help you prepare and execute your presentations.
Structure your presentation
Start by structuring a beginning, middle, and end, not necessarily in that order. This is a very crucial and vital step that is part of your presentation. Segregate parts of the topic that need to be in the foreground and work on them. Use the ‘five Ws and H’ approach for this. That is, ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. Once you have that done, the rest of it is a cake walk. With this step, you’ve done most of the ground work and just have to worry about executing it.
The part that would sell the most is if your PowerPoint presentation (PPT) had more visuals than text. Use infographics and templates with a simulating colour palette for your slides. This will allow the audience to focus better on your idea. You can use various other free web-based graphic design tools that come with readymade templates and themes to create your slides.
Script you presentation
After structuring your presentation, draw out a basic script about what you would say and how you would say it. This is basically practising for your D-day of sorts. Time yourself as you talk along with your PPT. Once you’ve figured it out, practice in front of the mirror.
The stance you hold while you present your topic is vital. Non-verbal communication is also an important factor to consider while you prepare. Make sure you are not fixed to a certain place. But that doesn’t mean you ought to be all over the place. Perhaps you can change positions for each slide. Keep a straight back and your shoulders loose. This helps you breathe and feel more relaxed. Use welcoming hand gestures and maintain eye contact with your audience. The most important thing is to remember to smile.
What you wear can affect your presentation immensely. This bit is a two-way street, that is, it emboldens your confidence, and your audience will also have positive impact on your audience. Wear more blues or greens as these colours are associated with calmness, learning, and growth. Put together a good outfit and make sure you have a dress rehearsal as you practice.
Create mock questions for yourself
Something that is most characteristic of presentations is the interactive question and answer session that happens after. This needs some hardcore preparation which requires you to stay maybe two steps ahead of your audience. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and anticipating which areas of your presentation might raise questions.
Depending on your presentation and its topic, try to organise an icebreaker with the audience with a simple activity. This will help your audience stay engaged with your presentation from the start.
Sometimes, presentations take more than 30 minutes while explaining your content. In such a case, give your audience breathers in the presentation. Give them some time to process what you have said with, perhaps, a small video or an activity. This will help your audience engage themselves better with your work.
Remember, no matter how your presentation goes, it is always important to gather some feedback. The opinions of others who interacted with you will help you with perspective. Maybe leave some feedback forms asking for some advice. There might be people who are interested in talking to your after the presentation. They might even want a copy of your presentation. Create some parts of your presentation you can circulate among your audience with your contact details.
Above all, make a presentation that is centered around your intelligence and creativity. Try to compile your skills to make things interesting, like, using humour or pop culture references. With these things in mind, you can render a solid presentation.