Being a great speaker doesn’t come naturally to most people. Even the experts speaking at conferences at the Madinat Arena, Dubai or the Trade Centre, only achieved their smooth patter by following the basic tenants of presenting. These are essential whether you are presenting to a small group or a large auditorium.
Make it interesting
A great presentation can win new clients and wow audiences. Yet many people fail to consider how to make their presentation interesting – ending up with a bored and distracted audience. Not sure what makes a boring presentation? Well the shy trickle of people leaving by the side exit is a clue, or people surreptitiously texting while you’re talking.
So do your research and make your presentation compelling.
Know your facts, but don’t read them off in a list, find something engaging about each one. Another interest killer is hearing old facts rehashed. If you are presenting old ideas justify and explain why they’re still relevant, show your audience why they should re-evaluate their pre-conceptions.
The same goes for new ideas, don’t just spout off what the latest guru says about a theory, or manufacturer says about a product. Put some time into finding out why the new is necessary and give your own opinion on its relevancy to your audience.
The first time you run through your presentation should not be in front of your intended audience – because this is the time when you notice what’s wrong with your presentation.
You get a feel for whether you are using the right language, whether what you written actually makes any sense, and whether it sticks to the intended timescale – if you’ve been given ten minutes your audience wont appreciate you keeping them for twenty.
Practice is crucial for helping you develop your own style. Some people find they are innately brash and loud, some have conversational tone, and others are more scholarly in their approach. All these elements can be helpful but if you keep to one style only you are limiting how effective your presentation can be. Learn how to modulate your voice to emphasise certain points, take pauses to allow particular points sink into the minds of your audience, raise your voice to wake the crowd up, and learn how to use a smile to engage people.
If you’re having trouble visualising yourself talking in front of an audience, check out the TED talks online. Here you’ll find some of the very best speakers in the world.
It’s pointless presenting anything, whether or not it’s well researched and exhaustively practiced, if the tone and style don’t fit your target audience. Consider the type of people who are coming to watch you. Are they hoping to find out the details of new product prototype? Or are you giving an in depth analysis of current customer trends? Is the intended audience more likely to respond to high visuals and low text, or vice versa?
Knowing what will elicit the best response from your audience lies at the heart of great presentations. If your audience are mainly experts in their field, they’ll expect you to talk to their level, and will switch off if they feel you’ve dumbed it down for them. The same is true for a group of new-comers. If you fill your presentation with lots of industry jargon and ideas, they will walk away from the presentation feel no wiser, and probably dispirited.
It’s your job as a presenter to pitch your presentation perfectly to educate and excite your audience.
It’s really off-putting watching someone visibly squirming with nerves while presenting. An audience may be so involved in watching the presenter stutter and bumble, that they don’t hear a word, or watch any of the presentation itself.
If you do struggle with nerves practice taking deep breathes and slow down your presentation. Both techniques help calm to the nerves. Have a bottle of water handy as well; nerves make your mouth dry.
Presenting like a pro is something that is only accomplished through practice. To learn more about this essential sales skill, visit / and sign up for our presentation skills course.