Some people love giving a presentation and others would rather do anything but. However, what really matters is that the people at the receiving end take on board its key points, relate to its mission, and have the tools required to take action. Here are some of our top tips on giving presentations that provide a strong return on investment.
Start with the end
The best way to grab attention from the very beginning is to explain your conclusion first. Not only does this allow the audience to be on the same page early on, but it will also aid the flow of the rest of the presentation. Whilst a little mystery and build-up can add excitement and suspense, they should only be used if you’re a master of clarity.
Balancing visual with vocal
People generally dislike presentations filled with superfluous text or intricate graphs. Nor do they want to be shown illustrations that lack insight, or be forced to stare at the same diagram for minutes on end whilst you bombard them with paragraphs of speech. By striking harmony between visual tools and spoken explanations, you’ll keep them engaged and effectively convey your core messages.
Apply storytelling techniques
Whatever the subject matter, every presentation has a tale to tell. From brand development and product launches, to financial reports and health and safety training – using the art of storytelling will bring your information to life. It doesn’t have to be a case of “once upon a time”, but adding a little spark and narrative will surely provide more inspiration than reams of cold, impenetrable data.
It can be tempting to write out your presentation in the exact words you intend to use. This is understandable, yet it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. By penning a script, you’re allowing no wiggle room, which can result in woodenness, lack of eye contact, reduced authenticity and even the risk of losing your place. Rather than a script, use prompts to lead you forward, such as flash cards or on-screen bullet points. Obviously you need to know what you’re talking about, but leaving space to think, breathe and respond to your surroundings will culminate in a more genuine and confident delivery.
Practice x 3
As with most things, a presentation will hit obstacles if it hasn’t been practiced in advance. The best rule of thumb is to first practice in your head, a second time out loud to yourself and, if possible, once more in front of someone else. This will allow you to remove any stumbling blocks, polish your articulation and create a product that persuades. If you think that you require more than three practices, go for it!
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