The word ‘presentation’ seems to spark a deep fear in some people. One of the most powerful tools to inform and persuade, the presentation can be a frightening experience if you’re not prepared.
Things like this always come down to practice and familiarity. It can be easy to go overboard with all the bells and whistles but too much can be distracting. Follow these top tips to give an effective presentation that will have you winning over your audience in no time.
It’s all about expectations
One of the first things to consider is the purpose of giving the presentation. What is your audience expecting to see? Are you trying to inform them or persuade them? Tailor your presentation to your audience. A presentation for a bunch of teenagers is going to be hugely different from one you give to executives.
One of the biggest let downs in a presentation is when the speaker isn’t prepared. Make sure you know the location where you will be presenting. If it will be at a boardroom meeting know the ground rules and agenda. What kind of technology is available there? Do you need handouts? Do you need to take your own laptop? Sometimes it’s these small details that really matter so make sure you know exactly what you need to prepare. Remember to take back ups of everything as well, it’s always a good idea to have a plan B.
Do your research
Under-preparation is probably the number one factor that induces anxiety during presentations so make sure you now your stuff inside and out. Keep in mind that you want your talk to be as relevant to your audience as possible. Try and find out about particular issues that your audience might be concerned with.
Get some rest
Make sure you get a good nights rest and try and relax before your presentation. Once you have done your prep, there’s not much more you can do so try not to worry. Get lots of sleep so that you wake up in the morning nice and fresh, ready to tackle that presentation!
Delivering the presentation
The basic presentation format is simple. Have a strong, attention-grabbing intro followed by a clear central message that’s supported by the main body of your presentation. Finish this off with an outro that ties everything together. Keep your mind on things like tone and pace as well. Will you be using humor? Do you need to be serious? Again, tailor your delivery to the audience. Carmine Gallo shows us how to Deliver a Presentation like Steve Jobs.
At the end of your presentation, make sure your audience leaves with all the information you wanted them to learn. If they need to fill out a form, make sure they do so. Hand out business cards or contact information as well so people can follow up with you. It’s also a good idea to take away any questions your audience had so that you can improve for your next presentation.
Follow these tips to help reduce the stress and fear you might experience before your presentation. The more familiar you are with the process the more effective it will be. Once you know the expectations of the audience through your preparation and research you can rest and review your own expectations and set the bar right where it needs to be.