Everyone who wants to move up within a company will probably have to do a presentation eventually, and then once in a while thereafter. However presentations do not come naturally to everybody (myself included!), you may be dreading the moment when you absolutely have to do a presentation, you may be coming up excuses every time it is suggested you do a presentation, however one day you may have no choice and will you will out of practice. My recommendation would be to just give it a go, it does get easier, and you may surprise yourself and actually start to enjoy it. I have put together some tips to help you put together a perfect presentation:
1. First things first, set up
Arrive early and seek help to set up if required. Do a run through of the presentation to ensure the equipment is not going to let you down. This will help calm your nerves if you are feeling a little scared.
2. The rules of the slides
Use 10 slides maximum, no less than size 30 font and do not overdo the words on the slides. You do not want the audience to read the whole presentation from the sides, think of the slides as a summary of the presentation you are delivering.
3. It’s all about the delivery
So your presentation is prepared, practice, practice and practice, in front of the mirror and to your friends and family. You need to slow down, add pauses, project your voice, use eye contact and do not read from the slides. With all this combined it will help calm the nerves, you will come across as a confident presenter who can be heard and knows what they are talking about.
4. Forget about handouts
I would recommend from experience, do not give out handouts of your complete presentation, the audience tend to read from the paper and they do not engage themselves with your live presentation. You should aim to get the attention of the audience. By all means you can email your audience a copy of the presentation summary afterwards, for reiteration and referral.
5. Begin with the subject of the presentation
Getting the audience interested in the subject of the presentation right from the beginning is crucial.
6. Use your time well
Time management is crucial in presentations, it’s no different to any other business tasks. Make sure you stick to the allocated time to ensure that you don’t waste anybody’s time, they may start to get impatient if you over run. Short and sweet is perfect, if you can say what you have to say in few words then do so.
7. There is nothing wrong with humour
Do not be afraid to add humour to your presentation, humour keeps the presentation natural and adds an informal element, which can break the tension, bring on an emotional response and help people relax, including yourself.
8. Ask questions
To keep the audience interested and to make them feel part of the presentation, engage with the audience – Ask questions and invite the audience to input ideas. Two way communication is important within a presentation, otherwise it may become a little dry. If you are going to just talk at people, you may as well just write down the presentation and ask your audience to read it in their own time. You must must interact.
9. Patience is a virtue
You need to be patient. People will ask silly questions, they may make no sense whatsoever, they may ask you to repeat yourself. Stay calm, and deal with the situation, whilst not getting behind with your presentation. You can always say that time is running out, but if they wish to discuss something in more detail afterwards then that is fine.
10. Learn from others
Watch and learn from those at the top of your organisation, go to presentation workshops if the opportunity arises, find advice online and ask for feedback.
And lastly I’d like to add that you will get better with experience, you will develop, you will learn the tricks of the trade and grow in confidence.
And that just leaves me to say GOOD LUCK & HAVE FUN! If you have any questions, please ask, and if you have any advice to add then please do so.
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