How to Deliver an Awesome Presentation
A presentation is an opportunity to establish your own expertise and the value of your business. With so much riding on the quality of the information and how you present, it’s important to understand how to deliver an awesome presentation.
Stick to the point
Whether you teach a new concept within your own business, pitch your product or service to a prospective client or give a report to management, you need to start with a clear understanding of your objective.
- Understand your audience. Think about what your audience needs to hear. For example, clients and investors need different information about your business. A presentation will not be the same for clients as it will be for investors. An accounting department may need different information than a marketing department.
- Determine the focus. You need a clear, concise purpose which leads to a call to action in your presentation. Start with three questions: how do I want the audience to respond? What are their most pressing questions and needs? Why should they care about what I’m saying?
- Organise your content. The order you present your information in should reflect the natural order of information your audience wants to know. In other words, answer their next question.
Any supplementary material like slides, video or hand outs should serve the purpose of your presentation and enhance your delivery.
- 10/20/30 is the rule. Follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule to ensure you retain audience attention. If you use PowerPoint, 10/20/30 means: you no more than 10 slides, Your presentation lasts no longer than 20 minutes and all the text is 30 points or larger. Even if you aren’t using PowerPoint, the principle behind 10/20/30 holds true. Keep it simple, keep it brief.
- Hand outs and takeaways. Your audience might listen to five other presentations in the same business week. A hand out should be a good reminder of your content and may need to go beyond a slide printout.
- Design matters. Any presentation materials you show are a part of your company branding. Follow basic design rules for the materials you create and use a high-quality printer for takeaways.
Prepare your delivery
Once you have a clear understanding of what you are presenting, work out the best way to deliver it.
- Talk it out. For the sake of your audience, rehearse. Until you say the words out loud, you have no way of knowing how effective your presentation will be. Remember to avoid clichés, jargon and filler words.
- Don’t rely on your slides. Always remember that PowerPoint is a supplement to your presentation, not the delivery method. You are much more interesting than a slide deck.
Use the right tools.
From the moment you enter a room, you give life to your presentation. Your tools and setup affect your presentation as much as what you say.
- Display. Large format displays (LFD) are a sleek way to present information. They suit your SMB meeting room, your corporate reception area or a large conference room. The right software gives you full control over the display.
- Devices. Travel light with a notebook PC, tablet device or just your smart phone. Upload a presentation from the cloud using your device of choice.
- Apps. Presentation apps make for an easy setup. They can allow you to store your presentation in the cloud or upload it wirelessly to the display.
- Sharing. Meeting apps allow you to share screens with an entire room. Sometimes, presentations happen one-on-one. For this, you can use a tablet as your display and control the presentation from your phone.
Leave an impression
A good impression is more than a pressed shirt and new tie. Whether you are presenting to one person or 300 peers, a good presentation will inform, persuade and inspire.
- Be personable. Remember that you are a human talking to other humans. Watch how others make an impression. You want to be professional, but also friendly. People remember what you say if they like the way you say it.
- Learn to adapt. Read your audience as you speak to make sure you are connecting with them. If you catch any blank stares, try to reengage.
- Know more than what you present. Be prepared for the questions that follow your presentation. You need background knowledge and real world examples in the event an audience member asks you to clarify a point.
Presentations can be a good experience for both you and your audience. With an organised, informative presentation, the right tools and materials and readiness to make a good impression, prepare to deliver an awesome presentation.