Corporate presentations are tricky. They are used to share a new idea with your audience or build on an existing idea or vision. In either case, you need to understand the need of the presentation and expectations of your audience. If you don’t do that, you may end up working for days without a result.
Generally, presentations are made up of three components: the presenter, the content and the audience. The best presentations are the ones that present content for the audience without compromising the presenter’s comfort.
Here are a few tips to prepare for your next presentation.
The preconceived notion is that corporate presentations and meetings are boring and most probably a waste of time.
Prepare well so you can keep it short. Practice your presentation at least times in front of a mirror or by recording yourself. It may be a painful process but the end result could be rewarding.
Wayne Burgraff believes that “It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” This is actually true unless you don’t want your presentation to have an impact.
Practice until you know where you will go at what point during your presentation. Until you are prepared to answer all the questions, don’t step into a presentation.
Keywords help deliver the message
Key words are important. Think of pointers your audience should take away from your presentation. Build your keywords around them. Try to have no more than three take-aways from your presentation. Mention them enough times during the session.
Make sure you begin and end with your key words as that creates recall. Ask questions about your key messages so the audience understands and the take-away is clear.
The rule of THREE
Philip Crosby, like most other communication experts believes that ‘No one can remember more than three points.’ Keep your presentation slides down to three points each.
If you have more content, move it to the next slide. If you feel the need of describing a point in detail, put the description in your notes and ‘say’ it during your presentation. You may also put it on a separate slide and give your audience a minute to go through it.
The point is to keep it short, formatted in a big, readable font and designed to be precise. Too much detail on the screen may put your use to the session in question.
As Dianna Booher puts it, “If you can’t write your message in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour.”
Do you have ‘back-up content’
Even if you are making the worst presentation of your life, chances are that someone from the audience will be listening. Jokes apart, you need to know about the ‘what else’ of your presentation.
Participants may ask questions that are not pertinent or slightly off tangent. You need to handle such a situation tactfully. First, see if you have a rational answer to the question – if not, just politely say that you would do your research and get back. Second, be sure to bring everyone back to the topic. Keep the distraction short and don’t get carried away.
If you can keep your presentation about the ‘3’ points you build it around, you will have better results.
The end of the beginning
The better you prepare, the more your audience will respect you.
Logistics are an important part of preparations. Avoid distractions during the presentations by making everything available before you start.
Place notebooks and pens to take notes during the session. Make arrangements for tea, coffee and water. If the presentation is short, request the participants to stay back for a cup of tea. If it is lengthy, break for a few minutes in the middle for tea session.
Test your clicker, pointer, projector, LCD, sound and laptop before your guests arrive. If the audience is huge, arrange for floating microphones for any questions.
The last thing you want is for you to be searching for your marker to write on the white board. Avoid that. Prepare well.
Be aware of your venue
Last but not the least; visit the presentation venue a day or two prior to the actual event. Carry out dry runs as many times as you can at the venue. Use this opportunity to know where you will stand while speaking to the audience. What will be your walking space and find the best spot to stand to present your case.
Knowing your venue will save you a lot of trouble and energy. Being comfortable in this space make you appear more confident and you have the ownership of your space which is definitely going to add to the way you will speak.
As a last note, remember that presentations are meant to ‘present’ and not elaborate. If you are required to share details over email, use another type of a document.
Don’t forget to read my next post on how to deliver a good presentation, happy communicating!
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