Making a big presentation can be one of the most troubling moments in a career. There’s the fear of public speaking combined with the fear of losing that deal/promotion/etc. Yet giving a presentation is actually very easy here are 5 keys to making the best of your opportunity.
It might seem trite but most of the real presentation is in the preparation. You need to know what you’re talking about and feel confident about your material. I’ve given hundreds of presentations around the globe, and the only one that stands out as terrible is the one I failed to prepare for. I had 20 minutes to write a 40 minute speech for an audience on a subject I knew nothing about, never again.
Drop the unimportant tasks and concentrate on the presentation, get your facts and figures together and know them.
I use the “three tells” approach to presentations, tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you’ve told them. I focus on no more than 5 points (and ideally 3) and make sure my audience is with me all the way.
Keep it simple and straightforward, unless you’re a natural entertainer concentrate on your message and stay on point.
Cut down on the Graphics
PowerPoint may be the most overused tool in the world, try and keep your slides uncluttered and minimal. When I present my slides are a backup to keep structure, I’d be most upset if people remembered them rather than my message.
I’ve delivered whole day presentations with fewer than 10 slides, so just keep asking “what can I cut?” and then cut it.
Eventually you can drop this, when I write a presentation nowadays I can hear the way I’ll present in my head, I don’t need to do any formal practice. But when I started I’d get an empty room and deliver and deliver again until I was happy, then I’d get a practice audience and deliver to them and see if they were as happy.
If you use an audience for your practice, listen to their feedback – it might be painful to hear you missed the mark, but that’s what they’re there to tell you so you can make a success of it when it counts.
Involve Your Audience
Finally on the day, get your audience involved. Don’t talk AT people, talk WITH them. This is possible with even the largest groups, like him or loathe him Tony Robbins is a world class presenter and if he can involve an audience in the tens of thousands you can involve yours as well.
Presenting doesn’t have to be nerve wracking and uncomfortable, as you give more and more presentations you may find you come to enjoy it. But stick to the basics and you can’t go far wrong until you do.