How to improve your presentation skills -
Part 2: Don't try to wing it
Knowing what you are going to say ahead of time is one of the most important steps to success when it comes to presentations. It is the road map and what you fall back on if confidence begins to wane. Think of times you have been asked to speak. You go over it in your head and it sounds brilliant. But then it comes time to actually say it out loud and instead, you ramble or say something that shouldn't have been said, or forget to say something important. That is why you never want to wing it.
When first drafting a presentation, decide what the speech is about and define it in one sentence. Write all thoughts and ideas down on paper and then put the most relevant points in an outline form. Work it through so that you end up with main message points and then supporting talking points. A good format to use is as follows:
There should never be more then seven main message points. These should be the most important and persuasive pieces of information that you want the audience to hear and remember.
Most importantly, practice the presentation out loud. If possible, perform it in front of a live person. If you can get through a speech with a co-worker, spouse, or a good friend present, you can do it before anybody.
Who is the audience, why are they there and what is their knowledge of the topic? Are there any preconceived attitudes or biases about the topic? Confirm the number of people that will be attending.