Knowing how to give a good presentation is an important aspect of life. Presentations are used so much today; whether it is trying to impress a client, present a business proposal, or promote your business there is a need to know how to do it right the first time. You won’t get a second chance. There are two major facets to a good promotion; preparation and delivery.
Whether or not a presentation is good is decided before it’s even begun. You need to start by researching your audience and knowing who you are talking to. A presentation for, say, a group of schoolchildren, is going to be different than the presentation you give to a business partner. Take the time to understand your audience and cater to them.
The structure is also a key factor. A good presentation, much like a good story, has three main sections; the opening, the body, and the closing. The opening of your presentation is where you present your key points and make introductions. The body is where you expand on these points and go into more detail. The closing section is where you reiterate key facts and draw conclusions and bring everything to a close. Structuring your presentation is important. Imagine reading a story from the middle. You wouldn’t know what was happening.
You need to practice your presentation. However, contrary to what you might think, memorising it perfectly is a bad idea. When you memorise it perfectly you tend to sound boring and monotonous when you deliver it. You should remember key parts at least, but there’s nothing wrong with making up some of it as you go along. Give practice presentations to your friends and family before hand. Or practice giving the presentation to a wall or empty room. You might even find it beneficial to record yourself giving the presentation and watch it. No one really likes watching themselves back but it’s a good way to see how you come across to your audience.
Keeping yourself calm is another important step. If you sound nervous then it sounds like you don’t really believe in what you’re saying. You come across like you lack confidence and no one believes in the unconfident person. If you know a way to calm your nerves then take those steps. One little tip is to think of it not as a presentation, but merely as a conversation you’re having with the audience.
Know When To Stop
It’s important to get your presentation right, but you can work on it too much. There comes a point you won’t be able to improve it anymore. When that point is reached trying to improve it will just stress you out. Get the presentation done and then just stop. Don’t work on it anymore.
Of course you also need to deliver your presentation. Here are some tips and skills on how to do that.
There are two factors to communication; verbal and body language. When you deliver a presentation you should keep both in mind. Start by being brief and not dwelling on a topic for too long.
Engage The Audience
You need to keep the audience engaged to keep them interested. Ask a question every so often, even if it’s just asking if everyone is keeping up and understanding so far. You prepared so that you know your audience and can play to them. Speak their language, so to say.
When you talk to your audience you need to avoid speaking softly. Sound confident and don’t use filler words like “uhm” and “ahh”. You sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about and it makes people believe, again, that you are unconfident and don’t believe what you’re saying. It’s also important to avoid the word “don’t”. Instead of telling your audience not to do something, tell them to do it. Also avoid saying things like you hope they enjoy your presentation. Tell your audience you know they’re going to enjoy it.
Body language is as important as verbal language. You need to stand at a comfortable distance from the audience, and maintain eye contact with them when you can. The more you look at your notes the less prepared you look. Focus your eyes on one person at a time too, rather than looking at everyone and just surfing with your eyes. Appear confident by straightening your back, smiling slightly, and keep your hands open.
You should also be prepared to answer questions from your audience. The presentation itself also needs to be of good quality. But with adequate preparation and a killer presentation you can wow anyone and sell them on you or your idea. Then you’re one more step along on the path to the perfect you.