A really good way of improving your presentation skills is to watch other speakers. I will often go to sessions by people who I know to be good speakers, just to watch their technique. It’s actually easier if it is a session you’ve seen before, or on a subject you don’t have much interest in, so you can focus on the presentation skills, not the content. 🙂 There are a few speakers I try to get to see at every conference, having seen the same presentation several times for this very reason.
This is not about being a fanboy (it is really 🙂 ), or trying to emulate that person. It’s about trying to identify aspects of their presentation style that could work for you. Ultimately, you are trying to develop your own style, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore what is going on around you. The same way you will look to others for advice, you should watch their presentations to see which aspects of their style could be of benefit to you. Things like stage presence and crowd control come naturally to some people, but they can be learned. Check out how other people do live demonstrations to see how they cope with transitions between the slides and the demos.
There is always something to learn from watching other speakers, even if it is what not to do. 🙂
Check out the rest of the series here.