When was the last time you got up in front of an audience to showcase your expertise? If you don’t think you’ll ever be a presenter, you may be surprised. Whether you’re pitching a new client, teaching a class or speaking at a conference, there may come a time when you need to prepare for and deliver a knockout presentation. And if you’re taking time to get out there and present, you want it to be memorable…in a positive way.
If you’re a bit rusty with your presentation skills, or just feel out of your element in front of a group, this can be an intimidating prospect. Here are some tips to help you deliver a winning and memorable presentation, one that you actually enjoy giving!
Preparing for the Presentation
1. Give yourself plenty of time: Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to start thinking about your presentation. As soon as you know you will be presenting, start making notes about all of the elements you want to cover.
2. Research your audience: Your audience should drive not only the content you present, but your approach as well. Find out who will be in the audience and tailor your presentation directly to them.
3. Identify your goals: Why are you presenting? Are you trying to win business? Are you sharing your expertise? Take time to identify your goal and keep it in mind as you develop your presentation.
4. Know your time limit: Make sure you ask how long you will have to present. Knowing if you have 30 minutes, an hour or longer is vital before you start preparing your content.
5. Start with an outline: To make sure your presentation flows and covers all of the points you want to hit on, draft an outline. Break it down into sections to make it manageable in the development stage as well as the delivery.
6. Write it down: Once you have your outline, write down everything you want to say for each point. Think about the content from your audience’s point of view so you can balance the content with engagement.
7. Create visual aids: You’ll want some kind of visual aid to add to your presentation, but fight the temptation of including everything you wrote down on your slides. Keep it short and simple.
8. Memorize it: Don’t worry, you’re not going to memorize and rehash your presentation. BUT, start by memorizing it anyway. Knowing the content inside and out will make you more comfortable and confident during the delivery.
9. Practice: Run through your presentation in full several times before the big day. You may even consider video taping yourself so you can self-critique and fine-tune.
10. Get help: Sometimes an outside perspective can help you make sure you’re hitting the mark. Ask a family member, colleague or even a public speaking coach for help. (I can personally vouch for the value of a public speaking coach! Not only can they help you perfect your presentation and delivery, but they can boost your confidence in your own presentation skills…vital for a memorable delivery.)
Delivering Your Presentation
11. Get there early: Not only do you want to be on time, but if you get there early, you can scope out the room where you will be presenting and start to familiarize yourself with the environment. You can also meet some of the people in the audience, which can help add a conversational tone.
12. Breathe: Take a deep breath before you start and remember to breathe during the presentation. You should pause frequently to give your words a chance to sink in and to give yourself a break.
13. Be a storyteller: People love stories, so the more anecdotal you are, the more memorable your presentation will be.
14. Show your passion: Hopefully you’re passionate about the subject matter. Let your enthusiasm come through in your delivery. It can be contagious and the perfect way to engage your audience.
15. Make it interactive: To prevent boredom for your audience, plan group activities, ask questions and work in a break, if appropriate.
16. Use humor: Humor can be powerful in a presentation setting. Not only can it put the audience at ease, but it can make you more relaxed as well.
17. Plan time for questions: Make sure you leave time at the end of your presentation for a Q&A session. And it’s always a good idea to build in a little buffer time in case you go over during the actual presentation.
18. Leave something behind: Handouts are a great way to drive home your message and give attendees something to refer to after they leave. Be sure to include your contact information and invite the audience to contact you with questions.
Bonus: Like many aspects of business, confidence is important in public speaking situations. Be sure to include these confidence-inspiring tips in your preparation.
Do you present often? What do you do to make your presentations memorable?
Image credit: Vixs
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