Are you dreading your next presentation? Standing in front of people and presenting could make us scared, anxious, uncomfortable or panicky. However, you don’t have to feel that way anymore.
Just follow these top tips to deliver amazing presentations, tell a great story and most importantly, be you!
1. Do your homework
Know your audience, what you’re going to say and practice! The best presenters or speakers look natural and informal. They make it look like they’ve just stood up and delivered straight off the top of their heads. However, they haven’t – they’ve researched their audience, worked on their presentation, practised delivering, and made changes as they went along.
It is natural to get nervous, BUT WAIT! The people in your audience are there because they want to hear you speak. So, don’t forget to have faith in yourself and believe that the audience is with you, because they are! They are supporting you and they are interested to hear what you have to say.
3. Be you
Confidence is important and one of the best ways of being confident is just to BE YOU! Know your strengths and know how you can be at your best in this situation. Whatever strengths you have, use them: Efficiency strengths for structuring the session well, Results Focus for finishing each segment on time or Strategic mindedness for giving people the big picture version of your story. Whatever you have, use. In short, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Be you. People will feel that authenticity and they will respond to it.
4. Tell stories
Make presentations personal and memorable through telling stories. Make sure that your stories are practised and that they have a point, so they’re relevant to your presentation. Weaving in two or three, no matter how short, your audience will be absolutely glued to you because humans are made to tell stories.
5. Work the audience
Be a facilitator, not just a presenter! Humour can work really well, particularly at the start, but practice your jokes with a few people to make sure they land as you’re expecting. You could also ask people to speak to the person next to them, do an activity, move around the room, ask them questions or provide immediate feedback. All these tips can make it super engaging for the audience.
6. Manage yourself
Don’t fold your arms, cross the legs or whatever you do with your body language to put yourself into a self-protective mode. This can give the impression of being distant, or uncertain and may well distract the audience from the content of what are saying. Instead, do what is natural for you but what lands well. Do you need to walk around the room? What about using hand gestures or rising up on your toes when making a point? That’s fine too! However, make sure you ask for feedback, act on it and learn to use your natural style in a way which is credible, powerful and shows people that you’re confident in your material.
7. Using a powerpoint?
Limit the number of slides to keep the focus on a presenter, their story and to connect with the audience. Presentations really are about compelling storytelling. So if an image or two on a PowerPoint can help you tell your story, great! If those images can ANCHOR your takeaway points, excellent! However, slide after slide of wordy bullets that you read from the PowerPoint? That’s is something you definitely want to avoid.
8. Have a point
Have a point and repeat it. If you have one key takeaway, brilliant. If you have three? That will work as long as you signpost it throughout the presentation. However, the fewer the better if you want people to remember what you’ve said.