Presentation skills are something all of us will need at some point in our lives. From winning over that crucial client, to securing funding for a business start up, to nailing that job interview, giving a killer presentation is a definite requirement. Some people are born with the talent to do a great job – winning everyone over with their charisma, confidence and flawlessly designed slides – while the rest of us are doomed to cower miserably in the glare of the projector, feeling awkward and wishing it was all over, right? Well, it turns out that giving a great presentation is an art that can be learned and perfected – you just have to know where to begin. With the right tools, you could be wowing audiences and acing your next pitch meeting.
Do Your Research
You’ve planned out what you’re going to say, created a beautiful slide show and rehearsed your timings. You’re all prepared. Or are you? Any successful presentation has to start with research – not just into your subject matter, but into who you’re talking to. You need to know exactly who is sitting in that audience and what their expectations are likely to be. If you’ve been invited to present by someone, sound them out on what the full picture is and who is likely to be in the room. Doing a little background research not only allows you to get the tone right, but also to anticipate any possible questions ahead of time and even to weave in references which will appeal to the background of those present.
Aim To Entertain
The main purpose of any presentation is to inform – but that doesn’t mean you should forget to throw a little entertainment into the mix as well! If you start simply by introducing yourself and what you’re going to talk about, then half the audience will have already switched off by the end of the first slide. You need to grab their attention – and hold it! A compelling quote, a great true story or even a bit of a stunt or participation activity gets things off to a much livelier start. Get people’s attention first, and you have a much greater chance of them absorbing your central messages.
Keep Your Slides Short
Overly detailed slides drowning in text are a sure-fire way to make people lose focus on what you’re trying to communicate. The key is to keep your presentation short, relevant and heavier on imagery than text. Top companies around the world use Beautiful.AI to create interactive presentations that pop, so use this trick yourself. Also, aim to severely cut the number of different slides you include. You could probably contain your core message in a maximum of five – so why have you got 34? Be ruthless in cutting down – the less people have to read on screen, the more they will actually pay attention to what you’re saying.
Make It A Conversation
Finally, the best solutions are always collaborative. Aim to make your session a dialogue rather than a dictation. Ask the audience questions, make them think and allow them to interact with you – and you are much more likely to get a better result than just reeling off a list of services and benefits.