Guest blog by Jenny Kantarovski, Senior Graduate Recruiter at Accenture:

Chances are at one stage or another you will be tasked with delivering a presentation. It could be for a project at university, for a client at work, or it could form part of an assessment centre for a graduate/internship position. Regardless of the context, presenting is a key skill and we all want to excel.

Whether you’re getting ready to do your first ever presentation, or whether you do them frequently, there are a few essentials to consider. So here are some tips to help you succeed at any presentation you do:

Preparation is key and builds confidence

  • Keep your notes or speech to key words/bullet points.
  • Strong eye contact will help to build a connection with your audience.
  • Practice! Take the time to present to yourself in the mirror or to friends. This will help you become more natural in a real-life setting, as well as building your confidence with the content and style.
  • Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’. What if you walked in and you were told you only had 30 seconds to explain everything you thought you had 30 minutes to talk about? Don’t let this fluster you, focus on the key points your audience need to know. Always follow up to ensure your audience gets the rest of the information they need. Adaptability and flexibility are often important competencies being assessed.

What you say and what an audience will see are important

  • Where possible, try to incorporate some form of audience participation. Ask questions or include an activity to keep an audience engaged and involved.
  • Clearly preface anything that may be personal opinion and be prepared to explain why this is the case to your audience.
  • Don’t pack too much information into visual aids – keep it simple, clear and relevant otherwise your audience is too busy reading rather than listening to you.

Develop your own presentation style

  • The basics will always count: tone, pace, volume, clarity and body language (smiling is allowed!) Don’t be afraid to use the space around you, particularly in large groups to make everyone feel addressed.
  • Be careful of filler words – eg., ‘umm’, ‘uhh’, ‘yeah’, ‘err basically’, ‘I guess’ etc. These can suggest to the audience that you’re unsure about the content you’re delivering and can impact their confidence in you.
  • Remember to keep all body language and movement professional and balanced to minimise distraction. It all contributes to how well the audience values your presentation.

All in all, the most important thing to remember is to relax and believe in yourself. The rest will follow and you may even enjoy it!