People vary in their ability to speak confidently in public, but everyone gets nervous and everyone can learn how to improve his or her presentation skills by applying a few simple techniques. If you want to deliver an effective oral presentation, take into consideration the following six elements.

– Nervousness

It is natural to feel nervous in front of an audience. Experienced speakers avoid looking nervous by speaking slowly and avoiding unnecessary gestures or movements. Smiling and focusing attention on members of the audience who show interest can also help you feel more confident.

– Rapport

Rapport is the relationship between you and your audience. It involves eye contact and sensitivity to how the audience is responding to your talk. Be friendly and maintain a sincere eye contact with everyone in the audience. Observe their reactions to your message and make any adjustment in your talk.

– Notes

Avoid reading a prepared text or memorizing your speech as this will be boring. The best solution may be to use notes with headings and points to be covered. The reason behind using notes is to avoid shifting your attention from the audience for too long.

– Body language

Remember that 57% of the message is communicated by what the audience can see. Consequently how to convey your ideas is critically important. Standing, walking or moving about with appropriate hand gesture or facial expression is preferred to sitting down or standing still with head down and reading from a prepared speech.

– Voice quality

The sound of your voice carries 36% of the message. This means that you should consider the volume, tone and tempo of your presentation. You must be loud enough to be heard by everyone. The tone of your voice must be consistent with the message. An interesting public speaker or presenter varies the volume, tone and tempo of his talk to make himself heard and understood.

– Question time

Do not be afraid of questions from the audience. If you have delivered your presentation well, the audience may want some more information. There are some techniques to keep in mind. Pay attention to the speaker when he/she is asking the question. It is better to listen carefully, perhaps nodding in approval, sometimes paraphrasing the question for clarification. Answer the question shortly and simply. If you do not know the answer it is better to say so.

Developing effective communication skills is one of the best things you can do for yourself and certainly one of the most rewarding. If you take the time to prepare well and present your talk effectively, you will no longer fear speaking in public, but welcome the opportunity.