6 Tips For Better Presentations
Regardless of your profession, your presentations need to be dynamic, engaging and interesting. Otherwise, you will fail to capture and maintain your audience's attention, and without their attention, your presentation will fizzle and fall flat. How can you avoid this happening to you? The key to making powerful, effective presentations is in your preparation.
Dynamic Presentations Begin With Your Preparation.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that the final product (an article, a book, a presentation) arrived that way on the first try. This is never the case. They are just the last of several drafts and iterations built up, broken down and then reconstructed. The same is true for presenting. Even the most naturally gifted public speakers still need to prepare accordingly. This is why we drew up the six tips below -- to act as a roadmap for your presentation preparation.
6 Tips For Better Presentations:
Tip #1. Develop An Outline: A dynamic presentation is many things, but first and foremost, it is focused. Without focus, the presenter winds up floundering to find cohesion. Remember, your primary goal isn't to entertain the audience, but rather to make a point. We recommend devoting the entire first day of your preparation to honing in on your key talking points.
Tip #2. Research Your Audience: Your audience will determine the style and language you choose and how you speak. For example, let's say you are presenting to an audience that is unfamiliar with what you are presenting about. In this situation, you may want to include a list of definitions before your presentation begins.
Tip #3. Practice Extensively: There are two main hurdles with presentations: How well you know the material and how comfortable you are speaking in front of others. Both can be addressed through practice. By practicing the actual delivery of your presentation, you continually expose yourself to the material, and strengthen your memory's hold on it. By practicing your presentation in front of friends or colleagues, you will get used to how it feels to present to an actual audience.
Tip #4. Tell A Story: The most effective way to get your audience to relate to the subject of your presentation is to include a story to which they can relate. This will draw them into the experience. For presentations, a story allows you to paint a picture as to how a business principle or idea would operate in a real situation, and help the audience connect with your presentation on a more personal level.
Tip #5. Include Visual Material: Using presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote is a powerfully effective way to complement your talking points. Without some sort of visual element to your presentation, you risk sounding like someone lecturing. The trick is to design a visual slide that works for you, not against you. In other words, avoid bogging down your presentation with images, sounds or videos that distract the audience.
Tip #6. Psych Yourself Up: The moments leading up to a presentation ought to be spent mentally preparing yourself to go out there and do it. Public speaking coaches talk about this all the time -- rituals and techniques that get presenters in the right headspace. This, of course, is intensely personal. Depending on your personality, the process will vary. For some, blasting loud music and singing along pumps them up. Others need to attain a Zen-like peace before stepping out in front of a group.
Executive Summary: It is important to remember your final product represents only a small percentage of what people really see -- all the research, revision, refinement and practice it took to get to that final product go unseen. At the end of the business day, the preparation you invest in your presentation is what will separate you from the rest of the pack.
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