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Captivate Your Audience with Gestures and Eye Contact: Tips for Giving a Presentation

Presentation expert Yi-Hsiang Huang shares tips for captivating your audience.

Many people experience stage fright when asked to stand up and give a presentation. Are you one of those people who look confident on stage, but are actually panicking inside? Wistron ITS invited presentation expert Yi-Hsiang Huang, who has spent years poring over the subject of presentation skills, to share some tips on how to create a good presentation, as well as how to take things up a notch with non-verbal cues.

Tip 1: For eye contact, 4 (seconds) is the magic number

We all know that making eye contact with your audience is important, but looking away too quickly will come across as insincerity, while prolonged eye contact can devolve into awkward staring. So what is the ideal length of time? Mr. Huang says, “When you’re making eye contact with individual members of your audience, it’s best to move on to someone else after 4 seconds.” The true effectiveness of this advice will have to wait until our colleagues test it out themselves. Also, when it comes to presentations, appearance is very important; everything from the way you stand to the gestures you make should be carefully considered. You can also enliven things by walking around or using hand gestures as needed during a presentation.

Tip 2: Cut the filler words

We might not usually notice them, but filler words can creep into your speech and affect the professionalism of your presentation. Mr. Huang points out that people who like to use phrases such as “okay, so” and “the aspect of” should watch out for these filler words the next time they’re doing a presentation. Furthermore, when you want to emphasize something, you can find ways to make the most of your voice by adjusting your volume and tone. You may be surprised by the effects using special tones to highlight key points can bring!

Tip 3: Structure your presentation using the “Tree Model”

A good presentation needs to persuade the audience. Different persuasion tactics apply when your audience is your employer, your manager, your colleagues or the general public. The basic rule is to let them know “what’s in it for me?”—in other words, you need to give information that is impactful and valuable to them. To achieve this, in addition to choosing a clear topic and giving unambiguous information, Mr. Huang also recommends the “Tree Model” for creating presentations: choose 1 main message (the tree trunk), 3 supporting ideas (the branches) and back it up with an abundance of stories and data (the leaves). By following this method, you can create a well-organized presentation that is both professional and persuasive.

During Mr. Huang’s talk, our colleagues had a fun time discussing and practicing the many presentation skills they learned. As long as you’re willing to work hard and practice to master these presentation skills, you’ll be able unlock the “superpower” of steadily expressing yourself in front of any audience. We thank Mr. Huang for taking time to give this talk, and hope to see our colleagues again at our next training event.