[It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. It doesn’t even matter what your job title is. The fact is, we all have to make presentations at some point in our careers. We make them to boards of directors. We make them to prospective clients. We make them to internal staff. Some presentations are casual and some are formal. With each presentation, there is typically a lot riding on your ability to convince the audience you are addressing.
So what can you do to improve your presentation skills? The following suggestions may help:
1. Do a Little Research
Know your audience. Who will be attending? What are their issues and concerns? The more you can tailor your presentation to your audience’s specific needs, the more impact you will make.
2. Engage Your Audience
Don’t let your audience get bored. Keep them engaged. If possible, make your presentation interactive. For example, involve them by asking questions and having them shout out answers.
3. Make It Interesting
Have you ever sat through a presentation of facts and figures? It’s not too long before you start dreaming of that “happy place.” Don’t let this happen to you. Make your presentation interesting by illustrating your points through stories, famous quotes or by using metaphors and analogies that your audience can relate to.
4. Make the Information Relevant
Ask yourself, “why should my audience care?” Good presentations should be relevant to the audience, not the speaker.
5. Keep Your Visuals Simple
Whether you are using PowerPoint or good old-fashioned flip charts, make sure that your visuals are simple to understand. Use them to emphasize key points and not to outline your entire presentation.
6. Show Some Passion
The more dynamic you are, the more powerful your presentation will be. Demonstrate the passion you have through your facial expressions, the tone of your voice and your hand gestures. And always make eye contact with your audience.
7. Dress the Part
The way you dress should establish credibility and should never become a focal point for your audience. If your audience focuses on something you are wearing or the way you are dressed, they will get distracted from your message. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
8. Be Prepared
Yes, this is an obvious one. But the simple fact remains, the better prepared you are, the better your presentation will be. It never hurts to practice a few times before doing it for real.
Until next month…