If you are working in almost any capacity in the corporate world, if you are working in business today, then you will be required to make presentations to others.
These presentations may be infrequent for you but nevertheless they'll be important. Important because you will want to make a good impression, you will want to convey your message as effectively as possible, to make an impact on your audience, to convince them, to influence them.
You will want to do it well because speaking and presenting in business today will affect your career success.
So how can you improve your business presentations ? What can you do to stand out from the others ? And how can you have more confidence in all that you present ?
Here's 5 simple tips to improve your presentations.
• Prepare. Sounds obvious, doesn't it, but the more you prepare your presentation the better it will be for those you are presenting to. And the more confident you will be. When we prepare, we can organise the structure of the presentation, include key information in the right order, ensure we are clear in what we are saying and the way we are saying it. In doing this, you will be more concise and focussed on achieving the outcome you desire. Always, when preparing start with the question: "What do I want to achieve ?" By asking yourself this you will keep the presentation you prepare on course to the successfully achieve the objective.
• Understand your audience and their needs. Only when you understand who you are presenting to and what their needs are, can you deliver the message effectively to your audience. Many people, when presenting to others, even important business presentations, fail to understand the audience, their level of understanding of the material being presented (whatever that material is), what their needs are and as a result they fail to engage the audience.
• Tell stories. We all love stories. Stories have been told to every child from a very early age and we still, as adults, engage in the power of storytelling. Rather than dull facts and figures, strategy and actions points incorporate stories, even simple, short but relevant stories will change the impact of your message. "Before I begin outlining the five year strategy plan, I want to share with you what my five your old son thought that starting school meant to him." (There's a link there to strategy, of course.)
• Use humor. We all love to laugh, we all appreciate a sense of humor and whilst your audience doesn't want you to tell jokes (No, they don't!), they will enjoy humor in your presentations. One way which will always work with your audiences is to relay something humorous about what has happened to you. Self-deprecating humor, in my experience, is always enjoyed by the audience they'd much rather laugh at something that happened to you - which they can relate to - than something which has happened to someone else. Those I coach often say "But I'm not funny." And yet we can usually, very easily, identify an incident or event which has happened to them which is humorous - and relevant to the audience and the subject matter.
• Use PowerPoint sparingly. I love PowerPoint (or if you're using Mac, Keynote !) but in so many presentations it's used by the presenter to present all they are saying and to present complicated graphics and charts. When you're using PowerPoint, include the subject matter as bullet points and when you are presenting, you then expand on these points. And restrict the content to about 6 to 8 lines per page. This can be increased, of course, if the size of the screen were it will be shown will be larger. But for most presentations - meeting rooms, boardrooms training rooms - less is more.
Is not hard to improve your presentations and I encourage you to make deliver them in the best way you can. And ,of course, the more you make, the more confident and the more effective you will be.
About the author: Graham Moore is a professional speaker and trainer who presents to audiences internationally. With over 15 years experience, he also conducts presentation skills training and coaches managers and executives in presentation skills. If you'd like to learn more about how you can improve your speaking and presenting skills go to http://mooresuccessonline.com
Author: Graham Moore