Giving presentations may make many have sleepless nights and cause cold sweats, but it is vital for pitching to new clients and training staff.
Here are a few tips to help you present confidently and effectively:
Make sure your Message is Clear
Make sure that your audience understand your point. A presentation full of graphs and tables is not something that your audience are interested in hearing about. They want clear, actionable, or relevant information, not regurgitated stats or detailed stats which will cause them to lose interest.
Stick to one template style and use a clear font and format. You don’t want a mishmash of ideas and styles, which can cause your audience to lose focus – having a clear visual style can help bring things together.
Do your Homework
Make sure you know what is actually relevant to your audience. Are there details you need to include or clarify, or items that need omitting? As with the above you always need to make your message is as clear and concise as possible.
What will the main questions that could be asked after your presentation? Make sure that you cover all possible angles and feel confident about any impromptu questions.
Prepare for Things Going Wrong
Something may crop up doing the presentation, whether it’s equipment failing, losing your place or train of thought, or mobile phones going off. So make sure that you are fully prepared for any eventuality and try and use humour and don’t ignore the elephant in the room.
If you’ve lost your place, try taking a sip of water to gather your thoughts, or make a friendly comment and develop empathy – remember you’re talking to people who will understand!
Slides are a Support not the Focus
The slides of your presentation should not be the focus of the presentation. Prepare great support material – from handouts to visual aids that compliment and add to the presentation as a whole. If you have detailed information that you have to present, give as a separate document so that the audience can read in their own time.
If equipment failure does happen then you’ll be confident enough to carry on the presentation as you’ll still have the speech to give, as well as having extra documents to lean on.
Map your Presentation
When planning your presentation make sure you know the start and end of your presentation so that you can tailor the content accordingly. Guide the audience to the message you want to give through your slides by knowing where you want to begin and how you want to end the presentation when you are planning for the slides.
Start by determining the knowledge of your audience on the topic and then best plan the route from moving the audience from where they are now to where you want them to be at the end of the presentation.