Preparing well is the most important part of making a successful presentation. But, all that hard work is no good until you bring your preparation in to the session with charm and quality delivery.
Making a presentation is all about confidence; knowledge about the subject and how informed you are about the audience you are addressing. So what really goes into presenting it well once you are ready with the content? It’s a combination of a number of factors.
Remember to keep it simple and precise for the audience as you start out. Say only what you have to and move on to the next points. Using quotations, facts, figures, pictures and examples always helps.
Let’s see what else can help you present with impact.
Before you start
We all know first impressions are important. Dress up for your presentation to show you are ready and excited. Greet the members as they come in. Display a welcome screen.
Light music can add flavor but that depends on who your audience and what your organization’s culture is. It may not be a very good idea in most of the organizations in Pakistan.
Welcome and introduce
Make sure everyone is seated comfortably and you have the attention of your audience. Thank them for coming.
Start your presentation with your introduction. If the audience knows you, keep the intro brief. If the participants need each other’s introduction, it is always good to do a quick intro session
Walk the audience through your presentation contents. Explain the objective of the presentation. Clearly spell out what they should expect and if they should ask questions in the end or slide-wise.
Preparing a presentation with precise messages, practicing and key-wording will get you all the confidence you need regarding your content.
Dressing up well, getting a good night’s sleep will give you the energy you need.
Knowing your audience and familiarity with the venue will give you the confidence regarding your skills to present.
You tone of voice should reflect that you presentation is the best thing about the world during that moment. You audience will love the energy that you display.
What could possibly beat an old-fashioned smile? Keep it on during the presentation. Especially when you are taking questions or listening to others discuss a point during the presentation.
Researchers say smile is contagious. Once you smile you invite the audience to reciprocate. Smile during your presentations and you will see everyone follow you.
Keep them engaged
Zoning out is normal during presentations. You audience should at all times be engaged. You audience will feel important if you include them.
Waking someone up with a question or asking for his or her opinion is a good idea. Use it to bring them back.
Pay attention to your
How many times have you seen presenters reading from their laptop screens? Even worse, they read from the projector screen. Do yourself a favour, let them read from the projected screen; you can read from your laptop.
Always face your audience and make enough eye contact. Turn towards them for added attention. Make hand gestures but don’t get annoying. Keep a moderate pitch and tone of your voice.
If there is something that needs to be discussed, you may want to switch off your screen (press ‘B’ if using PowerPoint). This will give your audience the opportunity to concentrate on the discussion.
Conclude with impact
Make sure you end with your key words. Give your audience a summary of your presentation or a run-down of the content at the end. Remind them of the objective.
In order to find out if you got your message across, prepare questions to ask your audience that instigate discussions. The engagement level will show you how well you did.
Wrap it up
If you were standing during the presentation, sit down in the end along with everyone else. This could be a good time to have some tea or coffee. Have an ‘offline’ discussion about the topics discussed. That will encourage them to ask questions or share ideas that they couldn’t in the ‘formal’ environment
Thank them for their participation in the end. Inform them of how this would be taken forward. Let them know when they can come back to you discuss anything regarding the presentation.
Send out a thank you email to all the participants. Do not share the whole presentation with anyone unless absolutely necessary. Instead, share a one pager that highlights the points of discussion and the outcome.
Translate your key-words into key messages based on the session and feedback. Mention them in a prominent place on the document.
End your email with a call for action, follow-up or another meeting after progress on the project.
Some thoughts from the experts
Chris Anderson talks about the presentations in his article on HBR, he says, ”It typically begins six to nine months before the event, and involves cycles of devising (and revising) a script, repeated rehearsals, and plenty of fine-tuning.”
Bill Rosenthal the chief executive of Communispond shares about Steve Jobs idea of a presentation saying, ”The late, great Steve Jobs, one of the outstanding presenters of our generation, spent days on end rehearsing important presentations. He also required the outside speakers at Apple presentations to practice at length.”
I will leave you with a video from Simon Bucknall of The Art of Connection that gives a slightly different but helpful perspective about presentations. Happy communicating!
- How To Write For Internal Communications - August 12, 2015
- How to Improve Communication Skills with Active Listening - August 8, 2015
- How to brand yourself on Twitter - June 29, 2015
- How to get the word out about your new business - November 17, 2014
- What is a successful presentation made of - September 21, 2013