Do the words ' Please can you prepare/deliver a presentation on x' fill you with dread? Presenting is part of many job descriptions and one which many people would rather avoid. In fact when a team a team of market researchers asked 3000 U.S. inhabitants “What are you most afraid of?” Many named more than one fear but right at the top came speaking before a group, followed by heights, insects, financial problems and deep water. (Source
An uneffective presentation can be unengaging, boring and can leave the audience wondering what the point is. With this in mind, here are our top five tips to presenting:
1. Prepare. What are the audience going to gain from attending your presentation?
Also consider their position, existing knowledge, experience, number, and willingness to attend. Who are the decision makers?
2. Use an INTRO
Begin by raising expectations. Your opening must declare that what is coming is enthusiastic, relevant, interesting and dynamic. E.g. use a prop; a short story; a quotation; music; a good picture; a statistic; a question or other audience involvement.
Remind the audience why they need to listen to you. In particular how they will benefit from the experience.
Say how long you will be speaking, (and stick to it).
Explain when you would like questions. I.e. anytime / at the end. In presenting a proposal it is normally better to allow questions anytime as you can always curtail a discussion if you are losing focus.
Tell the audience what you will be covering – outline your Structure
Don't forget the summary:
summaries are vital for a professional end to your delivery. Repeat your top four or five key points. Leave the audience with a strong message.
Do not introduce any new material even if it was something you forgot earlier.
3. Keep it simple
, the audience will not remember most of your words. Leave opportunities for discussion about detailed points rather than try to cram them in.
4. Consider your method.
Do you have to use PowerPoint? Some of the best presentations I have been to have just been a single person on a stage; I was totally focused on them.
5. Slow down
. Most people speak to fast, especially when they try and cram lots in. Take a breath and slow your words down - they will sound fine to the audience!