10 Presentation Tips for Success

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    10-presentation-tips-for-successDo you have the following symptoms: sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in your stomach?  Perhaps you hate flying and are about to board a 
    plane.  Perhaps you are going on a first date.  Or maybe you’re waiting in the wings with five minutes to spare before you take centre stage to give an important presentation.

    For the majority of people, giving a presentation is a daunting experience whether it’s in front of a few colleagues or in front of a packed auditorium.  Pre-presentation nightmares commonly include falling over as you enter the arena, forgetting to wear trousers or losing the power of thought and speech.  Whilst we recommend sensible shoes and checking carefully in the mirror to avoid the first two calamities, the other concern can be eased by preparing carefully.  Careful preparation means you aren’t going to make a fool of yourself, and furthermore will be able to deliver a slick, professional presentation which succeeds in delivering your message. 

    So don’t delay: follow these 10 steps to banish those pre-presentation nightmares.

    Time is Precious: Nowadays people never have enough time; not enough time to finish that important report, not enough time to take the kids to the zoo, not enough time finish off those important DIY jobs around the house: not enough time for themselves period!

    If someone has come to hear your presentation, be mindful that they have given up their precious time to listen to you.  Be fair, play nice and make it worth their while.

    Be Entertaining: A boring presentation equals a bored audience.  We have all experienced the highly-intellectual-but-dull-as-a-dormouse speaker and had a quiet nap or planned our week’s activities during the presentation.  Don’t let this be you. 

    Incorporate some humour into your presentation: prepare simple, captivating slides; be personable and tell some funny stories; find a way to connect with the audience.  In short be entertaining.

    Walk the Room: Assume the audience has a low boredom threshold.  Watching a statue is never an exciting occupation, so make sure you move around a little during the presentation and try to talk to all sections of the room.  But beware: no dashing to and fro like an Olympic sprinter or the audience will become distracted from what you are saying.

    Be Passionate: When you speak to someone who is passionate about a subject, their enthusiasm becomes infectious.  Be that person.  Speak forcefully and enthusiastically and the audience will really sit up and listen to what you are saying.  If it’s making you so excited, everyone will want to know more about it.  On the other hand, if you sound bored, chances are that no-one in the room will give a damn what you are on about.

    It’s all in the Timing: A good stand-up comedian has to get his timing right: too quick to move onto the next gag, and the audience is lost; too slow and the audience is bored.  You might not be a professional comedian, but you can learn to use silence to your advantage.  If you make a joke, let it sink in for a second or two.  A complicated concept might similarly need to be given a little time to be absorbed.  Work the pauses confidently, smiling at the audience and standing without fidgeting.

    Interrogation Options: A great way to get the audience to participate is to ask questions of them.  Picking on one person and interrogating them is not recommended and could definitely backfire if they become embarrassed and mute, or angry and vocal.  Instead prepare some questions beforehand and just thrown them out to the group.  This normally works well for a small audience where someone is likely to respond, but in big groups, people are notoriously shy at shouting out the answer, just like being back at school.  In any event, if no one volunteers to speak, make sure you supply the answer to the audience; there is nothing more annoying for an audience than a question left unanswered.

    They Love You Really: Most people sitting in your audience will be thanking their lucky stars that you’re up on stage and they’re not.  They know the stress and fear of giving a presentation and will be watching you pityingly.  But deep down, people prefer to see you succeed than dry up like a desert spring.  Let their support help you.  Even if you mess up, have some technical problems or, heaven forbid, fall down during your entrance, act as though you are having the time of your life and the audience will love you.

    Be ever Hopeful: A great presentation takes the audience on a journey full of ups and downs and should always include a generous sprinkling of hope.  After the scene-setting introduction, discuss the current issues and problems.  The audience will become thoughtful of how these can possibly be overcome.  But you, the speaker, can bring glad tidings and explain that yes there is hope – through your proposed solutions.

    Game for a Laugh: Giving a presentation is no game so make sure you practice it over and over again before the big day.  You will get slicker and more confident, and in doing so, you can focus more on your performance and delivery, not just on the content.  Be sure to build in pauses during the presentation ready for the laughter that is bound to erupt from the captivated audience.

    Know Your Place: Check out the location of your presentation in advance.  Will you be on a stage or standing at the front of a large room?  Will you have a confidence monitor to check your slides or do you need to have printed versions to refer to?  Will you have a pointer or light pen?  Having this knowledge before you go centre stage will be another confidence booster.

    In addition to following the steps above, it is imperative that you practice and practice and practice!  Take note of the time you take – don’t rush the presentation and remember those important pauses.  Practice your walk and ask a colleague to sit in on a dress rehearsal. 

    And when you have done all this, you can be assured of a good night’s sleep!

    Michelle Collins

    With over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing Michelle is an active article writer in our article section. Focusing on articles to help businesses grow and think outside of the box she covers a wide range of topics ranging from website recommendations, business tips and more.

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