Some consider giving a presentation a fate worse than death. But, before you get ready to head to the highest tower and take a flying leap, here are some tips to make your next presentation a great one.
Have you ever watched someone give a presentation and thought that they made it look easy? Believe it or not, they were probably shaking in their shorts a few minutes before the curtain went up. Accept the fact that you will be nervous and move on to the more important things, such as turning an idea into a stellar presentation.
Now all this is not meant to heap a load of pressure on your head. Giving presentations is a big deal but the outcome everyone wants is success. Depending on what success means to you, let that drive how you envision the outcome of the talk.
There is an art to presenting any type of information. Begin with a few tips and move on from there. The hope is that the following information will get you moving in a positive direction from your first presentation forward.
Ten Ways to Get Your Presentation off to a Great Start
- Take it slow – People have a tendency to speed up their speech when they get nervous or are afraid that they will forget something. Slowing your speech also slows your heart rate and gives the audience a chance to hear you.
Tell a story – It used to be that introducing yourself was the first thing you said in a presentation. Today, people want to be entertained. They search for relevancy from the beginning, so give it to them.
Choose a topic and stick with it – There is nothing worse than losing your audience on some tangent. Stick to a clear and concise topic throughout the presentation.
Include the audience – Don’t talk “at” them; talk “to” them. Make the audience feel like they are a part of the presentation. It prevents boredom and snoozing.
Use relevant visuals – Visual aids are fun but can be distracting when they have nothing whatsoever to do with your topic. Stay focused.
Get set up ahead of time – Don’t wait until zero hour to make sure that your laptop sound is working with the speakers in the room. Murphy’s Law says that it probably won’t since you didn’t check it beforehand.
Make eye contact – It helps to quell the nerves, as well as make the audience seem smaller and more friendly.
Use as few slides as possible – If you are using slides, tailor the background to the lighting in the room (for example, a dark background and white lettering in low light). Keep the wording to a minimum.
Become transparent – Audiences like presenters who are real. Using big words only makes you seem arrogant. Stay on their level and they will keep listening.
Show enthusiasm – When you are excited about the topic, your audience will be as well.
Maybe you already implement these ten tips and maybe you don’t. Try to add at least one new piece of advice with each subsequent presentation you do.