The point here is more important than any single conference or meeting: in fact, I believe that to be a leader and a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to make presentations as a professional. Here are eight tips on how to do it.
1. Properly prepare.
I know you are thinking that “preparation” means having your presentation in order and your brochures organized, but it is not at all what I mean.
What I am referring to here is the need for careful analysis of members of the public to know who you are talking to and what they expect or need from the presentation. Take the time to talk to the person who invited you first, to have a complete analysis of who will be in the room. Obviously, the presentation of a room full of CEOs will be different from a presentation for a group of frontline workers.
2. Start with a bang, not a whimper.
I have seen many presenters start their presentations by giving their name and the title of the program and then saying “Let’s start”. I promise you that if you start your presentation with such a boring start, you will lose your audience before they start
We live in an era of great entertainment and when we sit people in a room to watch a presentation, we need our presentations to start with an explosion. You can start with a compelling date, a great story, a surprising statistic or even a provocative question. The key is to attract people’s attention. So you can present yourself and your topic.
Also use these tools to close your presentation explosively, because people remember the beginning and the end of everything.
3. Recognize that the space is part of your presentation.
In many cases, I have seen that space becomes a barrier for presentation to be effective. Or the room was too full, it was set up incorrectly or the speaker was tied to the podium because that was the only place where a microphone was available.
Be sure to check in advance the space you will be presenting to see your limits. Furthermore, the day of the presentation arrives early so that any space or space problems can be solved before the presentation begins.
4. Please get rid of the PowerPoint.
It seems to me that all those who make presentations these days are in love with PowerPoint. For me, there are several problems here: the main one is that PowerPoint quickly becomes a sleep inducer, because people look at a screen and, often, the lights have dimmed so that PowerPoint can be seen more clearly: an invitation to all to take a nap.
Personally, I think it would be much better with a couple of brochures that hypnotize people with PowerPoint. I also believe that most people who make presentations have too many slides and try to click 97 of them in 35 minutes. This in my opinion is a disaster.
Finally, many people believe that their PowerPoint is their presentation, when the reality is that PowerPoint should be a supplement to illustrate the key points. Furthermore, people really use PowerPoint as a script for their presentation and read from the screen. This causes members of the public to run screaming from the room.
5. Make it a conversation, not a presentation.
I think when you’re planning a presentation, you should have a couple of points where you interact with the audience, to have a conversation rather than just a presentation. This makes the presentation much more useful and interesting for members of the public. They have the opportunity to ask questions and talk to you as a human being instead of a presentation robot.
6. Use stories.
Great presenters tell stories that capture the attention of the public, but here is something you should not forget: stories are not just stories for the sake of stories. Illustrate the key points you are discussing. This makes the presentation much more memorable.
7. Get some coaching.
All the professional speakers I spoke to told me that they used a professional trainer to help with presentation skills. Join Toastmasters to learn better presentation skills, find out if your company offers training on presentation skills, attend a presentation skills course somewhere in your community. Or use a private coach to help you perfect your skills.
I guarantee that if you do things, you will get incredibly better results because someone has objectively received comments on what you do well and what you need to improve.
Every time you give a presentation, ask a trusted colleague to observe your presentation and give you comments, or if this is not possible, at least take the time after each presentation to review what you think went well and what could improve.