No matter your position within a company at some point you will be expected to give a presentation whether it be to a large audience or a small group. It can be nerve wrecking to try and win over the audience with your message. Don’t get too worked up here are some tips from some of the pros on giving a killer presentation:
Show some energy — No great presentation can be delivered like a conversation. You’re not lecturing to a college class, you’re not at a cocktail party and you’re not chatting with a small group in a board meeting. You’re on stage! People are sitting in their chairs for too long — most of them squirming. Many of them have their iPhones and laptops ready to command their attention the moment that you start sucking. You’re on stage — act like it! Get out of your comfort zone. You need to be an order of magnitude more perky than you would feel comfortable with in a normal conversation.
Tell a story — Every great presentation tells a story. Stories have starts, middles and ends. They are human and touch emotions. The bring your product to life. They are not buzzwords or bullet points. Why do people think that buzzwords are going to interest audiences?
Learn how to structure — Telling a story is one thing. But make sure that you’re structured in the way you communicate. You need to break down your message into key components. It is generally best if you have a “theme” or “thesis” which if the main point you want to get across. You then need sub-themes or “supporting evidence” to reinforce your key theme. These are weaved through your story.
KISS — (keep it simple, stupid) The goal of the presentation is just to give the audience a basic sense of what you do and why it matters. Don’t confuse this with a tour-de-force education on the finer details of how your company operations. They simply need to know: who has a problem? how are you solving this problem? why does this matter? how big of a problem is it — really?
Make it visual — Bullet point were the worst thing ever created for group presentations. Nobody wants to read your text on a big screen. If you’re going to do that why not just print out your presentation and leave it on my seat. Far more expedient. Your presentation should have almost no bullet points. The way to capture an audience’s attention is visually. Pictures set the image, your voice tells what would have been in the bullet points.
Eye Contact – Match eye contact with everyone in the room. I’ve also heard from salespeople that you shouldn’t focus all your attention on the decision maker since secretaries and assistants in the room may hold persuasive sway over their boss.
Come Early, Really Early – Don’t fumble with powerpoint or hooking up a projector when people are waiting for you to speak. Come early, scope out the room, run through your slideshow and make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparation can do a lot to remove your speaking anxiety.
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