Never look away from your audience. In the outside world you may multitask and look at your Blackberry while ordering a latte, but never lose eye contact with those who have come to hear you speak. Eye contact helps you connect to people and enhance feelings of trustworthiness and likeability.
Fidgeting with your hands is distracting. Don’t clap, knuckle crunch, or cuticle pick. Unless you are pointing to something in your presentation or making a big movement, keep your hands by your side.
When you use your arms, gesture from the shoulder—not your elbow—to avoid looking like you are doing the chicken dance.
You should be neat and organized. Dress for the environment—a suit in a formal business presentation, but more casual if you’re at, say, a tech MeetUp. When it comes to presentation slides, title each one and highlight key words, be sure to spell-check and ask a colleague to review your materials. Limit any “cute” or “funny” visuals, especially if you’re reviewing a serious subject.
“Nobody wants to look at your behind,” says Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond in East Hampton, NY. And you often can’t be heard if you are speaking to the screen. Rosenthal likes the "think, turn, talk" method. Look at an item you are discussing to gather your thoughts, turn to look at the audience, and then start speaking.
Do your best to avoid “filler" words. Keep the "uhms,” "you knows” and "likes” out of your speech.
Run through a preview “performance” so you know you have the right amount of material to make the best use of your allotted time, and you’re not forced to rush to squeeze in important points. Running out of time makes you look unprepared and clumsy.
Keep sounds effects like chortling or laughing at a minimum. “Nobody wants to see a clown performing unless, of course, you’re at the circus,” says Rosenthal.
You don’t want to distract your audience—or inadvertently convey disdain—with visual effects like rolling your eyes. This is especially true when you’re responding to questions, or comments, and you don’t want to appear impatient.
Smile. Stand. Make eye contact. Open your arms. Speak loudly. Says Communispond’s Rosenthal: “Plan for success. Look good, sound good, and know your material.” –Tatiana Serafin