Now that the world is shifting back to the office, our presentations are shifting from the zoom room back to the board room. So now seems like a great time to brush up on some fundamentals to keep your presentation interesting and engaging.
Choose A Topic You’re Passionate About, but Make Sure It’s Interesting
When you are choosing your topic or considering the subject to present, it is important to find an angle you are passionate about and make it interesting. But it is also important to consider what your audience will find interesting. Ask yourself, “why is this topic important?” Giving a presentation is like telling a story you need to consider the beginning, middle, and end. Keep your presentations simple by focusing on the core message and building your presentation out from that message. Instead of expanding on the ideas you are offering, work to go deeper into details keeping the message at center stage.
Be Prepared, Practice, practice, practice
Preparation is the key to a successful presentation. Take the time to run through your script. Practice in front of a mirror or a mock audience. If you have the time, rehearse your speech enough so the word become second nature. Reading from a script for your presentation can create a divide between the audience and the speaker who is reading at them instead of presenting to them. If you do not have the time to memorize your speech, concentrate on bullet point and transitions from one point to another. When you are knowledgeable about your topic, you will be confident in your presentation and able to answer questions ultimately acing your presentation.
Dress Accordingly, show your best self
You are as much a part of your presentation as your topic. Your clothing should be professional and appropriate. Pajamas are not a good choice! Wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in because that confidence will shine through in your presentation. Don’t wear anything distracting. You don’t want your audience’s attention to deflect from the presentation. It is also important for you, as the presenter, not to be distracted by your uncomfortable shoes or your tight belt. Choose an outfit you feel and look good wearing. The audience will pick up on that comfort and confidence when you are on the stage presenting. When you dress appropriately, you will feel successful.
Know your audience, connect with them
Connecting with your audience is key to giving a wining presentation. As the presenter, you need to smile and make eye contact with your audience to build rapport and allow the audience to connect with you as well. Taking a moment to connect with members of the audience will also help to calm any nerves because you are taking the time to connect with people individually rather than addressing the larger group immediately. Consider leaving the lights up because of this. Even if you are giving a PowerPoint, the connection between the presenter and the audience member should be maintained as well as the view of the slide you are presenting. Being able to see the audience is also critical to how you respond to them throughout the presentation. If you are seeing confused faces in your audience, you will know you need to regroup, digress, or ask if anyone has any questions. This element is important to maintain engagement. Connection with the audience ensures a successful presentation.
Know your venue
The stage is taking many different forms these days. Your venues will not always be a boards room. Consider informal settings and presentations giving in outdoor locations. What resources do you have for your presentation? Before your presentations, visit the location to check thing out. Where are you going to stand? Where will your audience be seated? Take stock in what you need to bring with you to the venue. If you need your laptop, are there hook-up or adapters to be aware of? By preparing for the venue as well as the presentation, you will be able to deliver the presentation with confidence.
If your presentation contains media, make sure that media is relevant to your core message. Keep in mind that your presentation is key, and any addition is meant only to enhance your presentation. Choose a media that you are familiar with and comfortable using. Consider handouts that allow the audience to take something with them that lasts long after the presentation. Your leave-behind should be something that stand out from your everyday piece of paper. Make sure it is branded to your company. Consider the paper it is printed on, make it look like something someone would keep. Memorability is want you are going for when it comes to the leave-behind.
Be ready for questions
Expect questions from your audience and pause at appropriate times in your presentation to ask if anyone has any. If you know your subject and are prepared, you will be able to answer whatever questions come your way, but if you are asked a question and do not know the answer, admit that you are not sure of the answer and would be happy to research that more. This will give you an opportunity to follow-up later keeping the presentation relevant in their mind.
Be Confident, you got this!
Giving a presentation can seem like a daunting mountain to climb. However, by sticking to these tips, you will be successful. Choose a topic of interest, be prepared, dress your best, know you audience, know your venue, be prepared for questions, consider a leave-behind, and let your confidence shine on your big day! Last but not least, have fun! This is your opportunity to have your audience get to know you.