Public speaking doesn’t have to intimidate you any longer. For many people, the thought of getting up in front of a group of strangers, but also sometimes their peers or people they really admire, is terrifying. No matter how adept you are at your job or how social, the thought of giving a full-length presentation with all attention on you can feel a little nerve-wracking. However, no matter what industry you work in, it’s likely at some point you’re going to have to give a presentation. You can attempt to avoid it as much as possible, but it could always become an issue. Instead of dreading presentations, you need to learn to embrace and use them as an opportunity to show off your knowledge and expertise. Follow these tips to become great at giving presentations.

Create a story

The first aspect of a great presentation that you should focus on is cultivating a story. People love stories; a story captures someone’s attention and makes them listen to it. You could be speaking about the driest subject in the world, but it’s up to you to find a way to make it engaging. Use an anecdote that can somehow be related back to the focus of your presentation. Watch really good speeches from other people and see what kind of stories they use to grab the audience’s attention.

Plan it out

A long time before your presentation, take time to plan it out. Write out your talking points and create an outline for how you want to structure it. You may have a general idea of what you want to say, so cater it to your audience. Think about your audience and what will make them pay attention.

Rehearse it ahead of time

Once you have a basic outline of your presentation planned, it’s time to rehearse it! This tip means you’ll want to plan the speech ahead of time, so you aren’t rushing the night before to write everything down and have no idea how long it actually takes you to say it or whether you need to add or cut anything.

Keep it useful

If you really want to grab your audience’s attention and give a great presentation, make them see how what you’re saying is useful. Make it clear you’re telling them something beneficial; explain why you’re talking about your topic and how it can benefit them to actually listen and absorb what you’re saying.

Show your enthusiasm

When someone is enthusiastic about a topic, it makes the people around them interested as well. You might be nervous speaking in front of a group of people, which makes it hard to be your most engaging self, but don’t let this small issue stop you. By planning your speech ahead of time and practicing it, you’ll make it easier for you enthusiasm to shine through as you speak.