Public speaking is something that often produces intense feelings of stress and anxiety and many of us dread it. However, presentations offer an opportunity to communicate a great idea, demonstrate skill and knowledge or to engage people in your project, so being able to present is an essential skill to have. Preparing and delivering a persuasive presentation is a gateway to many potential opportunities - these are our tips on how to make this happen.
● Start with a powerful opening. The first 30 seconds of your presentation is the point where your audience is the most engaged so it’s here that you need to plant the seeds of your ideas or arguments. Don’t waste this time on introductions or admin, go straight in with your big pitch and create the hook for the rest of your presentation with a powerful headline message.
● Focus on the status quo - and then offer your alternative. This can be much more effective than simply launching straight into your arguments without giving your audience something to compare them to. The most effective context for this is the challenges that your audience faces - if you use this as the foundation for your presentation listeners will have every reason to stay engaged.
● Use your visuals effectively. Nice images can create a positive aesthetic but you can also use visuals to help explain complex ideas, present the results of research and summarise data. Using visuals means that you can avoid overwhelming people in terms of the content of your verbal presentation and give them something visual and easy to digest instead.
● Think about where you can engage your audience. There are many benefits to making your presentation a little interactive, including ensuring that you keep your audience on their toes and focused on the information you’re delivering. You might use the presentation as an opportunity to ask questions and gain information - a great presentation should feel more like a conversation than simply being talked at.
● Streamline the presentation to core concepts only. If you add too much extra detail to your presentation then you risk confusing people and you may find that your audience becomes disengaged. A series of clear and consistent points that are obviously linked is persuasive and powerful but rambling on and constantly adding in new ideas or information that is only barely relevant, is not. Think about the times when you haven’t enjoyed a presentation - all too often this is when structure is lost and ideas don’t obviously follow on or make sense together.
● Put your content together well in advance. The slides and visuals that you use for your presentation are a big part of the impression that you make and how well you get your idea or information across. Make sure these are clear, consistent and concise. Prepare them well in advance and keep them simple.
Being able to present effectively is a great way to engage and show people what you can do - these are just some of the tools you can use to make this happen. Find out more by booking onto our Advanced Presentation Skills Training Course...