Delivering a presentation can be a daunting task for anyone as many of us try to avoid it, we might not all exactly be masters at giving inspiring speeches and we might our skills may be a bit rusty when it comes to talking in front of an audience. Whether you’ve been lined up to speak at a conference, pitch a new product to clients or deliver a lecture the aim is to make it memorable. Here are a few top tips to make sure the next presentation you deliver is a knockout.
Being well prepared is key to delivering a smooth presentation, don’t wait until the last minute and throw together something, give yourself enough time to be able to thoroughly prepare in advance. To start developing and planning your presentation you need to know what you’ll be giving a talk on, once you know the subject you can start thinking about what you want to include. Create an outline with the key points that you want to touch on, this will give you a skeleton which you can work from in order to write your full presentation.
When you’re writing your presentation you need to keep in mind your audience, this will greatly impact the vocabulary you decide to use. If you’re presenting to people who aren’t aware of any technical jargon that you were considering including, don’t, it will only put them off. Make sure you don’t go off on a tangent, focus on the purpose of your presentation. If you’re delivering a presentation on a new product, stick to that. Lastly, keep it interesting, you won’t gain any benefits from a boring presentation that everyone is sure to forget about as soon as they walk out of the door. Don’t reel off boring fact upon boring fact or a list of achievements, share your ideas and stories instead, those are things that the audience will find interesting and engaging.
You need to decide whether you’re going to go ahead and memorise your whole presentation or use an aide such as a script or a teleprompter. If your presentation is quite long or there is a lot of detail to remember you might want to consider using a teleprompter, using a teleprompter instead of a script will look more natural and will eliminate the visual distraction of a paper script. It’s always best to be prepared so if you do choose to memorise your presentation consider using a teleprompter as a backup or a prompt just in case.
As the old adage goes “practice makes perfect”, and it couldn’t be truer, practising your presentation beforehand allows you to become familiar and comfortable with what you’re going to say. You shouldn’t just limit yourself to practising alone, giving a mock presentation in front of a few people will allow you to gather feedback not only on the content of your presentation but also your delivery, feedback is extremely valuable and can help you fine tune your presentation.
Once you’ve finally made it to the big day consider arriving a little bit early and familiarise yourself with the environment, this will help you to relax a bit if you’re a bit nervous. Be wary of your body language during your presentation, try to avoid excessive swaying and shifting your weight from one leg to the other, this is a big give away that you’re nervous and can serve as a distraction, your audience might end up paying more attention on your fidgeting than your presentation. But don’t worry, the audience is expecting a level of nerves so don’t overthink it, just remember to breathe and you’ll be fine.
Plan for a small period of time at the end of your presentation to allow for a bit of question and answer, it’s a great way to create a discussion about your presentation and allows the audience to become engaged further.