Top Tips for Improving Presentation Skills & Public Speaking for Final Exams

At some point in your life as a university student you will have to give a presentation. In fact, public speaking skills will come in handy even after college when you enter the workforce. Nowadays, communication skills are the key to success. It’s important to learn how to develop presentation skills. And for non-native English speakers, school and professional presentations can be really difficult.

By learning about the different ways to improve your presentation skills, you’ll be able to more effectively express yourself. A lot of anxiety and worry about public speaking for people we work with is usually caused by two issues.

First, education in anglophone countries puts much more emphasis becoming proficient in public speaking, debate and communication skills in general than in many other countries. Many non-native English speakers often feel intimidated by their native-speaker peers and falsely assume that they are brilliant geniuses who were born with a natural talent for the arts of rhetoric; however, it’s really because of many years of training.

Don’t let this discourage you from learning how to develop presentation skills.

Second, the level of English proficiency, of course, can be a great barrier to feeling comfortable and even feeling yourself. It’s natural to feel vulnerable when giving a presentation, whether you’re a native or non-native speaker.

We decided to put together a number of presentation and public speaking tips that will help you improve your communication skills, so you can confidently deliver your next great speech.

We think that by following these tips on presentation skills, you will not only become a better student but also be prepared for a successful career.

Below, you’ll find tips on how to develop your presentation skills and plenty of tips. If you’ve graduated university and have started your career, then these will also help you impress your colleagues at your next meeting.

Regardless of whether you’re in school or working, make sure to practice!

Presentation Preparation

If you’re delivering a report to your class or to a roomful of colleagues, preparation matters. By preparing both your presentation and your notes beforehand, you’ll be more likely to communicate your main points and connect with your audience. Create a powerpoint with visual cues on each slide to remind yourself about the topic you’d like to cover. This will help you memorize your presentation without boring your audience by reading directly from your slides.

It’s important to not only think about how you’ll structure your information to get your point across, but also think about the audience.

What time of day is it? How long is the presentation you’ll be giving? And who will be in the room? Tailor your presentation around those three questions to create an engaging presentation.

Public Speaking Skills Tips for Your Presentation

In order to deliver a great speech, preparation can go a long way. By creating and reviewing your presentation well beforehand, you’ll be able to work out initial kinks to create a smoother experience for the audience. To really excel at your presentation, below you’ll find a few additional tips for structuring your speech and presentation:

  • Create a presentation for your specific audience.

  • What are my main points? What do I want them to remember/learn?

  • How much time do I have?

  • Can I use visual aids? If yes, how can I sue them effectively?

  • Introduction: Greet your audience. Say what the presentation is about/what the objectives are. Here you need to catch your audience’s attention. Maybe use an anecdote. Present a problem they would like to have solved. Make a provocative statement.

  • Main part of your presentation: Now you need to outline your argument and develop a story. Limit the amount of main points you want to make. Don’t overdo it. Information overload can lead to your audience losing interest.

  • Shake it up a bit with variety and graphics.

  • Conclusion: Sum up your main points briefly.

  • Answer questions.

  • Thank the audience.

  • Leave on a high note. Give them the solution to the problem they want to see solved. Make a strong and positive statement.

Simple Tips for Improved Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

If you need to quickly learn how to improve your public speaking presentation skills, then there are a few tools you can use to feel more comfortable and connect with your audience. Below, you’ll find reminders and questions that are effective for presenting and communicating any topic.

  • Greet your audience with a smile — everyone loves a presented in a good mood.

  • Enunciate clearly and confidently. Don’t speak too quickly ever. Practice the pronunciation of your speech beforehand and avoid words you are not comfortable with. Ask if the people in the back can hear you.

  • When you practice your speech, think about how you would judge a public speaker:

    • Did they use their hands too much or too little?

    • How did they use eye contact with the audience?

    • Did they move around? What impression did that leave with the audience?

    • Did they appear confident?

    • Was their voice too loud/quiet?

    • Did they speak too slowly/fast?

    • Was their variety in their voice or did they sound too monotonous?

    • Was the speech well-structured?

    • Did it have an introduction and conclusion?

    • Was the speaker well-prepared?

    • Did they use visual aids successfully?

    • Was the language too simple or too complex?

    • Was the speech/presentation interesting?

    • Did the speaker just read from their notes?

  • To emphasize your main points, use silence. Pause before you say something very important. Your audience will not only be better able to absorb the information presented but you will also come across as a much more confident speaker.

  • Move around and use your hands looking at different parts of the audience. Don’t gesture too much, just to drive home a point or to express yourself.

  • You could even involve your audience by asking them questions.

  • Don’t read from your notes. This is one of those key presentation skills.

  • Use a little humor. Even better use anecdotes. Everyone loves to hear a story that doesn’t connect at first, but ends up helping their understanding.

  • Practice your speech at home in front of a mirror. Pay attention to your body language and pronunciation. Use intonation and pitch. Don’t sound monotonous. (this is especially important for non-native English speakers of Asian languages.)

  • You’ll be nervous. That’s just how it is. Make peace with it and use your nervousness to energize you. Take a few deep and slow breaths to calm yourself down. Take your mistakes with a sense of humor. Don’t be too apologetic.

  • Use variety to your advantage. Break your speech up into different segments.

By studying these tips and practicing your public speaking and presentation skills, you’ll not only improve your career prospects but also your English. Becoming a great public speaker is not rocket science. You can do it!

Don’t forget to practice your verbal presentation skills with family and friends!

Marike Korn