Whether it’s for an audience of 25 and just a handful of your colleagues, standing up and delivering presentations can be pretty stressful. So here are some key tips for nailing any presentation to ensure that your audience leaves with exactly the impact you want!
#1 Know your intro
First impressions count and so your first 30 seconds is critical to really nailing the presentation. A smooth, snappy intro means your audience will be instantly engaged and more likely to stay engaged throughout; without it they’ll zone out and you’ll spend the rest of presentation trying to get them back. Think about what would grab their attention early on and then get practising your opening 30 seconds.
#2 Ask questions
No matter how exciting the topic, sitting listening to someone speak can be hard work so it’s important to keep your audience interested. One easy way to do this is to ask questions, either directly asking for their thoughts or asking rhetorical questions which will get them thinking and allow them to break up the monotony of listening.
#3 Keep your slides super slick
Slides are there as a tracker for your audience, not for you to read off, so be sure to keep the information limited to a couple of bullet points and single images. Avoid long text and multiple images and keep your background clean otherwise, it’s going to distract your listeners from what you’re saying.
#4 Use flashcards
Reading your presentation from a script is a no-no but there’s no reason why you can’t create a handful of flashcards in order to keep you on track. Limit yourself to 2-3 bullet points or key words on each card, anymore and you’ll be tempted to read from them without making eye contact with the group listening to you, and pin them together so they are easy to hold. It’s unlikely that you’ll need them but it’s a great confidence boost that still looks professional.
#5 Be clear on your outcome
Ask yourself, what would a successful presentation look like? How would you feel? How do you want your audience to leave the room feeling? Answering these questions will not only help you to focus your message and approach but also get you into the right frame of mind. Why not spend a few minutes before you present visualising yourself giving a really successful presentation. This is sure to get you in the zone.
#6 Wrap it up calmly
Leave yourself enough time so that you can use the final minute to summarise what you’ve said, reiterate your key points and even reference any other ideas you have but didn’t have time to cover. This can also be a great opportunity to open the floor up for questions and engage the audience in further discussion.
Remember, only you will know exactly what you wanted to say so if your presentation takes a slightly different course then roll with it! Think natural, in both tone and body language, and stay focused on your outcome. Your audience will be none the wiser!
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