Give your audience a road map by outlining your key points at the beginning. Let them know what to expect so they can focus on the most important points throughout your talk.
Use concrete examples to illustrate your points.
If you use slides (Powerpoint/Prezi), keep them clean and simple and use them to highlight your main points. Make sure your text is legible from the back of the room, and avoid overwhelming your audience with too much text, a gaudy colour scheme, or too many images.
Remember that making eye contact is crucial to holding the attention of your audience. Don't look just at your notes or slides. Be sure to talk TO your audience. Try to involve everyone, not just those directly in front of you. Using appropriate body language and humor is another way to hold people's attention and interest. Asking questions and giving people a chance to participate will also help keep them interested.
Avoid using unnecessary jargon. Remember, if people don't understand what you're saying, they're less likely to pay attention to you.
Remember that silence can sometimes be just as effective as words. Strategic pauses between slides and/or points give people a chance to consider and process what you're saying.
Invite questions at the end of your talk. Listen carefully, answer honestly, and learn from them. Questions asking for clarification may point you to areas where your message was unclear.
Finally, thank everyone for their time and attention.
AND REMEMBER, IT IS NORMAL TO BE NERVOUS. YOU'LL BE PROUD OF YOURSELF WHEN IT'S OVER!
This page was created by Beheshteh M. Asil and Marcelo Herrera as part of the 2014 Professional Development class.