One thing to think about when it comes to improving your presentations is the importance of learning to critique other speakers.
What do I like? What do I dislike? What can I emulate? What would I do differently?
Start getting into the habit of critiquing every speech you see, whether it’s on stage, screen, at a conference or in the office, and really think, what could I take away from what they’re doing? This is particularly true if you find yourself switching off during a presentation, start analysing and thinking, why am I losing interest? Are they not bringing it to life? Because those are all mistakes that you want to avoid.
Looking at well known speakers can be really useful too. Start thinking, what can I learn from these people? Watch some of the major politicians, in particular, people who have delivered great, beautifully crafted speeches and think, what are they doing that I could take away and learn from? Is it their pace or the way they use their voice? Is it the way they hold their body? These are all things that we can learn from and use ourselves.
As well as watching and learning from others, it’s also important that we get into the habit of critiquing ourselves and accepting critique.
If you are preparing for a presentation, a really important part of that preparation is delivering that speech and having it critiqued because it will allow you to make improvements. Two ways to do this is to invite some people to watch it, whether on screen or in a room and invite them to critique you. Make sure to invite people you respect and who you think are going to be able to give you positive and helpful critique and not just rip it apart – that doesn’t help.
You can also critique yourself. Prop up your phone in the corner of the room while rehearsing your presentation, video it and watch it back. Although this isn’t necessarily enjoyable, it is the best way to understand how you come across to an audience. Very quickly you will pick up on any quirks in your body language and speech patterns. Once you’re aware of those, it’s much easier to do something about them.