A powerful presentation stems from much more than a fancy PowerPoint slide- or even the information on it. In order to deliver a presentation worthy of an engaged audience you will need more than just ‘the facts’.
Here are five top presentation tips to help make your next presentation a success:
- Be confident: You are the master of this presentation and you need to demand the respect and attention from your peers. Stand up straight, make eye contact and speak clearly at an understandable pace! Speak too fast you will lose them and too slow you will bore them.
- Outline the purpose of your presentation early on: This will help your audience follow along and come to their own conclusions as you flip through slides. It will help inspire follow up questions and comments.
- Don’t read your slides: Yes the information is there (and hopefully not jamming up the entire slide) but that doesn’t mean you are there to read it word for word. I am assuming you are presenting to adults and I am assuming they can read. Your slides are there to back up your “speech” not to be it!
- Longer doesn’t mean better: Time is of the essence and using it wisely is the new black. Take as much time as you need to properly get your point across- but lose the fluff that traditionally was used to extend the length of a presentation.
- Be aware of your body language: Standing is better than sitting when giving a presentation- it demands attention. You can move- but don’t pace! No one wants to feel like they are on a boat (sea sickness much?) Be aware of your hand movements- are you using them enough? Too much? Also, don’t keep your arms crossed (It comes across more snotty than serious.)
- Practice your presentation: Even if you only say it aloud to yourself? Go through your slides. Be aware of what information follows what and know your time frame!
- Leave room for questions and comments: Everyone is busy and has blocked off a set time frame for this presentation- respect their time by ensuring that you’ve worked in ample time for any questions or conversation that will follow.
- Have handouts ready: Whether or not you choose to hand them out before or after is up to you- but it’s nice to have a summary of information to walk away with. Handing them out before MAY distract your audience so unless you need them to follow along? Make it a surprise extra at the end.
- Be yourself: Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humor or include a personal experience if it supports your cause. Being yourself will come across as more natural and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
- Don’t forget to breathe: Take pauses in your presentation when necessary to give everyone time to absorb the information. This follows along with the speaking pace tip in number one but I feel it’s necessary to reiterate how important it is to not sound mechanical.
In the end knowing your information will go a long way and practice makes perfect! Your first one may not go as planned but they more you do? The better you will become!