Whether you have to present to a corporate meeting, a networking group, or a workshop most people at some point will need to make a presentation. It can be nerve-racking but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips to get better results from your presentation.
- Prepare: You will not be able to pull off a dynamic presentation by the seat of your pants. The foundation of any presentation is the amount of preparation the speaker puts in behind the scenes. Develop a topic, flesh it out into concise, relevant and specific bullet points that back to the central theme and develop a narrative arc to follow. Then perform a handful of dry runs — in front of the mirror, a friend or colleague, your partner, your family, etc.
- Open Strong: There is a saying in the writing community that you need to capture your readers within the first few pages or even paragraphs. Apply this idea to your presentation. Whether you use a concrete example or start with a joke the first 2 to 3 minutes of your presentation can make or break your audience’s interest in what you have to say, so make it count.
- Keep It Short: Be wary of long-winded presentations that seem to have no real direction or purpose. You have probably sat through such a presentation on more than one occasion. Pare down your presentation to its slimmest, trimmest, most refined form. Each bullet point should pack a meaningful punch that, once delivered, leaves the audience in anticipation for the next verbal blow you have to deliver. If your audience is reaching for their cell phones, you’ve lost them.
- Move: Don’t stand behind a podium. Relax, move around, wander about and most importantly, make eye contact with a handful of the members of your audience. Locking eye contact with someone will not only hold their attention, but others nearby will also pick up on the subtle action and find themselves drawn in more to your presentation. Remember, when it comes to presentations, periodic contact with your audience is a necessity.