1. Profile your audience
Focus on their interests and concerns. This presentation is not about you, it’s about what your audience wants to get out of this session. This is the single, most important factor in presenting and the one that so many people get so wrong! Spend five minutes thinking about who they are and ask yourself what their needs and anxieties are in the context of the subject matter you wish to present.
2. Establish your main message
This may sounds obvious but 95 per cent of presentations have no clear objective and the message isn’t apparent until close to the end because many presenters either hold it back purposefully or are not clear of it themselves. Audiences need to know what your talk is about right from the start.
3. Grab attention
Give your audience a good reason to listen to you and show them how they will benefit from what you have to say. Make big, bold and interesting statements at the start. You don’t have to back them up at this stage – that comes later.
4. Keep topic areas to three or less
For example, if you are pitching to clients those topic areas might be, budget, quality and the delivery. Using these topic areas, you can bring in all the things you want the audience to hear in order to persuade and motivate them about your ideas or message.
5. Illustrate points
Illustrate your points with examples, stories and/or case studies that are going to make the points you are trying to get across memorable.
6. Sum up decisively
The conclusion is no time to let the thing peter out or, worse still, rush in a desperate attempt to get the presentation over and done with. Reiterate your main message, sum up and end decisively on a positive note.
7. Use positive language throughout
The language you use needs to be positive and encouraging. Use a conversational tone in your approach and try not to use unfamiliar terms, jargon words or phrases that baffle or alienate members of your audience. If you must, then always define them.
8. Deliver with impact and enthusiasm
Create energy by using your hands, as you would do in everyday conversation. Emit warmth and confidence by smiling and standing still and straight.
9. How to use PowerPoint
Only use it if it is going to enhance your presentation, don’t make it the focus of your audience’s attention. Keep text to less that 15 words per screen, or better still just use pictures because these don’t stop the audience listening to you.
10. Practice, practice, practice
This cannot be stressed enough. Make sure you dedicate plenty of time to rehearse your presentation. It may sound like an obvious thing to say but so many presenters fail to deliver through not putting the time into making the subject matter come alive and instilling confidence in their audience.
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