8 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills
1. Join Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a organization where you will get a chance to work on your impromptu speaking skills, leadership skills, evaluation skills as well as opportunities to practice specific skills in prepare presentations (at your own pace). Clubs typically meet weekly and you can find clubs that meet in the morning, evening, lunchtime to meet your schedule. I highly recommend this! Find a club and attend to learn much more.
2. Consider the Dale Carnegie Course. The Dale Carnegie Course is about much more than speaking, but you will speak in each of the 14 weekly sessions. This workshop is more expensive than Toastmasters but is an excellent program to help with presentation skills, confidence and more.
3. Find opportunities at work. You might have limited opportunities to speak at work, due to the nature of your job, but that doesn't need to keep you from letting people know you desire that chance. Take even opportunities to talk in small meetings as a chance to practice the skills we learned together too!
4. Find opportunities outside of work. Step up in your church or civic group to present some information or be involved in committees or teams that might provide you a chance to hone your skills.
5. Get feedback. Every time you speak ask someone to give you feedback. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what they saw, heard and observed. Ask one of them to provide you feedback after they are in your audience.
6. Video yourself. You saw the value and power of seeing yourself on tape. Use this tool yourself. Practice a presentation at home and let the camera run - then, watch it and think about what you might do differently to make your message even more powerful.
7. One thing at a time. Choose to work on just one thing at a time. For example, if you want to work on having a stronger WIIFM, make that your major goal for the talk. Pick one thing to especially, consciously work on each time you present. Doing this will help you improve quickly and consciously. Be sure to tell those you are asking for feedback from to look for these key focus areas too!
8. Go Karaoke! A colleague of mine, Jeffrey Gitomer suggests this as a great way to work on your presentation skills. He says that if you can use your skills to get a bunch of uninterested, rowdy (drunk!) people to pay attention to you, you have learned valuable skills that translate to presenting "non-singing" material. I think he is right.
©2004, All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin is the President of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps their Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/training/training.asp to learn more about customized training and workshops on Presentation Skills or contact Kevin at toll free 888.LEARNER.