5 Presenter Skills To Develop (With Improvement Steps)
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Whether through lectures, demonstrations, speeches, or addresses, you can expect to speak to an audience throughout your presenter career. Presenters need various skills to educate, persuade, inspire, or motivate individuals and groups. With the skills of an effective presenter, you can engage your audience and convey your message. In this article, we discuss what presenter skills are, list five skills of effective presenters, and explain how to improve and showcase these skills.
What are presenter skills?
Presenter skills are qualities presenters use to convey ideas and information to an audience. Developing these skills can help individuals and groups remember your message. These qualities are also useful for preparing your presentation to get your audience's attention. By improving these skills, you can also advance your presenter career to roles, such as lead presenter and presentation manager.
5 skills of effective presenters
Here are five skills you can develop to become a better presenter:
Communication is the ability to exchange information with others. As a presenter, this skill is important for conveying a message. You can apply verbal communication skills to connect with your audience and use written communication skills to prepare your presentation. Effective communication also involves listening actively to feedback and responding appropriately. For example, suppose you're presenting a speech and you notice your audience discussing a point you mentioned. You can use this feedback to wait for a few minutes before you continue your presentation.
Read more: Guide To Verbal Communication Skills
Confidence is the ability to trust in yourself and your ability to succeed. Working as a presenter requires this skill to speak with clarity. Showing confidence involves being calm and focused as you deliver a presentation. This way, you can manage your thoughts better. If presenting to an audience in person, demonstrating confidence also involves making eye contact and using gestures appropriately.
Organizational skills are qualities describing your ability to use resources effectively. As a presenter, you want to plan your time and presentation well. For example, you can apply organizational skills to structure presentations logically to leave a good impression. Organizational skills can also help you manage your emotions before presenting information to others.
Technical skills are qualities you learn through practice, education, and training. In your presenter role, you may need to use computer systems, laser pointers, microphones, and office equipment to communicate with an audience. Enhance your technical skills by taking courses online, completing certifications, and attending workshops or training programs can help you become a better presenter.
Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples
Research is the ability to search for ideas and helpful answers to questions. As a presenter, you want to find information about your audience and understand your topic well. You also research content for your presentation to describe the subject effectively.
Read more: Research Skills: Definition and Examples
How to improve your presenter skills
Here are the best practices to make you better at presenting information to others:
1. Know your topic well
Whenever you're presenting a topic, aim to appear confident by studying the topic extensively. For example, suppose you present the news at work. By researching it extensively, you can show confidence. Knowing your topic well can also help you answer questions an audience may have after your presentation. For example, suppose you present radio programs. If you know the topic well, you can respond to questions individuals may call to ask.
2. Create a presentation outline
Having an outline can help you organize your thoughts as you communicate with others. An outline is a document containing important points you want to discuss. By creating one, you can also keep the audience focused on your ideas and ensure you cover the topic as you planned. For example, if you present the weather forecast, create an outline to guide you on what to discuss. An effective way to stick to the outline is to inform the audience of its content before describing each point. Doing this can also help them understand what to expect from your presentation.
3. Practise your presentation
Presentation practices can also help you feel more confident. You can also address issues that may occur during practice sessions. For example, suppose you're presenting a new policy at work. By practicing your presentation, you can identify whether there are too many visual aids or if you need more content for the presentation to last its entire duration. Practicing your presentation also makes you more comfortable explaining your content. This way, you can remember all the important details. A practice session may also offer an opportunity to work on presentation elements, such as your body language.
4. Keep slides and visual aids simple
Depending on what you're presenting, you may need slides and visual aids. Slides can be a good way to share information with others and structure points you want to talk about to an audience. Similarly, visual aids can encourage audience engagement with your presentation. When preparing slides, consider using pictures, bullet points, and charts instead of large text blocks to encourage your audience to follow your presentation. You also want to use simple images to ensure clarity.
5. Use a consistent pace and engaging tone
Presenting information typically involves verbal communication, and your voice tone and pace can impact your presentation. Individuals typically prefer listening to presenters who are excited about the topics they discuss. Consider varying your tone instead of using a monotone voice throughout your presentation. You also want to use a consistent pace to ensure your audience understands your message. If you're explaining a challenging topic, you can slow down your voice pace and emphasize important words. Listen to how successful presenters speak to gain insights into how to use your voice to your advantage.
6. Consider taking a voice lesson
If you make many presentations at work, you can consider enrolling in a voice course to learn to speak clearly and pleasantly. Learning from a voice coach can help you understand how to vary voice qualities to suit your presentation. For example, a voice coach may help you learn how to adjust your voice pitch, tone, resonance, and rhythm. You can also expect to learn how to pronounce words better from a voice lesson.
7. Try to replace filler words
Try to reduce how frequently you use filler words, such as "uh" and "um" when making presentations. You can pause instead. Replacing filler words with brief silence can make your presentation more natural and help you emphasize your points.
8. Use body language
Body language refers to nonverbal communication through gestures, facial experience, and physical movements. When making presentations, face your audience to show you're ready to engage with them. Consciously using hand gestures and maintaining eye contact can also help you manage nervous habits.
9. Learn about your audience
Knowing your audience can help you choose a suitable presentation style. For example, if you're presenting in a professional setting, ensure your voice tone and words are professional. Similarly, if you're communicating with a younger audience, you can use humour to connect with them.
10. Arrive early
Arriving early can help you prepare for your presentation and feel more composed. For example, it can help you set up any presentation equipment you need. Arriving early can also help you perform your final practice.
Ways to showcase the skills of a presenter
Here are ways you can show your skills from the hiring process to when you start work:
Showing the skills of a presenter in application documents
Emphasize your skills on your application documents to demonstrate your ability to describe a message clearly. For example, you can list all skills on your resume and expand on them when writing your cover letter. A well-written cover letter and resume show your good written communication skills, which is important for presenters. Address the hiring managers correctly can also demonstrate your research skills.
Showing the skills of a presenter during interviews
Interviews provide an opportunity to showcase your confidence and communication skills. For example, you can demonstrate your nonverbal communication with your posture and verbal communication with how you answer questions. You can also reveal your excellent organizational and time management skills by arriving at the interview early.
Showing the skills of a presenter at work
In the workplace, offer to lead presentations during meetings to demonstrate your skills. You can also practice effective communication with your teammates. Depending on where you work, organizing your workspace can also show employers your ability to use your resources well.
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