In the world of business, presentations have become inevitable. Whether it’s selling a new idea to your management or an investor, defending a proposal or giving feedback on a project being carried out, you will need to give presentations and the last thing you want to do is bore your audience. Your objective as a speaker is to be connected to your audience, absorb them, have them learn something new and then perhaps convince them to do something with this newfound knowledge. To succeed at this you need to be compelling and confident otherwise; your audience may soon be sliding out their phones and logging in to various platforms of social media while glancing at their watches and silently praying for this to be over real quick. To prevent you from falling into that kind of situation, consider the following quick tips:
1. Plan and practice ahead of time: Planning and practicing ahead of time for your presentations is crucial to succeeding. Planning involves a lot including knowing your audience so that you can tailor your presentation to suit them. It involves preparing your slides and notes. In the preparation of your slides, try not to cram too much into a single slide or have too many slides. Avoid putting too much information on one slide otherwise, your audience might as well read and have no need to listen to you. Know what it is you are talking about and practice, practice, practice. Practice in front of a mirror and before friends until you feel confident enough.
2. Dress appropriately and be punctual: A famous saying goes thus – dress the way you want to be addressed. Your looks say a lot about you and can determine whether your audience will take you seriously or not. Be neat and punctual; people never complain when you are too early. Also try to stick to the time allotted to you for your presentation and don’t rush. Decide before time what slides can be jettisoned in the event that time is insufficient.
3. Know your audience: Knowing your audience beforehand helps you interact better with them in the course of the presentation. Are they professionals and highly learned people or are they amateurs? Knowing these things helps you be more thorough in your planning.
4. Frame your story: People love stories. A good story and a touch of humor will always help ease the tension and predispose your audience to listening to you. Wrap your topic around a short but memorable story and try to include some captivating multimedia in your slides. Simple pictures and strategic keywords will also go a long way. While you do this, also be conscious to stay on point and don’t drift too far from your topic of presentation.
5. Mind your gestures and body language: Your body speaks much more than your lips may ever say some times. Make eye contact when presenting; gesticulate but not excessively. Move about if there is room to do so and mingle with the audience. That way they’ll feel more connected to you.
6. Engage your audience: In the course of your presentation, try not to talk on and on without any opportunities for your audience to make inputs. Ask questions that will get them involved and if there is time, include brief syndicate sessions to get the audience actively involved.
7. Have a remarkable closing and give room for Q&A: Always plan a remarkable finish. Have that piece that the audience will go home with and always remember, even if they don’t remember any other thing. Also, create time for questions and answers as this is just as important as the formal presentation.
When it comes to presentations, first impression matters; if people enjoy listening to you the first time, chances are that you won’t have a hard time getting and/or keeping their attention at subsequent presentations but if they have a boring experience, you may spend the next two or more presentations trying to remedy that. The good thing however is that the more presentations you do, the better you are sure to get at it.