In today’s economy, everyone has to give a presentation at some point. For some people, this is a key activity that can determine their career success. Today we’re going to be sharing some of the pro tips we’ve learned from some of our keynote speaker clients on how you can give better presentations.
For starters, if you’ve read our previous article on PowerPoint Dos and Don’ts you’ll know that every presentation should have a clear structure. What this means is that you need to have a clear idea in your own head about what you’re going to present.
Who you’re presenting to is the second essential ingredient. Think about the audience you’re trying to convey your message to, who are they, what are they like, how do they best receive information generally.
The next step is organizing and synthesizing your information in a way that makes sense to your audience and keeps then engaged throughout your speech.
Here are some actionable tips you can use to give better presentations:
1.Separate the presentation from the deck
A useful exercise used by keynote speakers is to set aside the PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and just step back. Get some markers and go to a whiteboard or grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write 3 things you want your audience to leave with.
Expand those ideas as if you were explaining them to a colleague or a friend. This will help you acknowledge what information is truly important to the person you’re talking to and why it’s relevant.
2. Don’t read off of each slide
Your audience is surely capable of doing that for themselves. They don’t need you to be standing in front of them reading off the screen.
What you should do instead is to use your slides as outlines or conversation points that you build on, just like you would in a normal discussion.
3. Practice your presentation
By practicing your presentation several times you’ll be able to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and see what improvements you can make.
You can even record yourself giving the presentation. This will enable you to also work on your speaking rate and body language. It’s also a useful exercise for people who get nervous when they speak in public.
4.Use a data projector when practicing
This connects more to the presentation itself, because it will allow you to see if you got the right amount of text on your slides or if you have elements that distract your audience instead of helping them visualize concepts. By doing this you’ll be able to bring together the deck and the speech, to give a great presentation.
If your visual presentation is competing with you for attention, if I as the audience have to choose which one of you to look at, throw it out and start over.
5. Know that your listeners have busy brains
When you speak to an audience you are competing with their busy brains, at least that’s what happens to most people. You are competing with the fact that they are tired, bored, frustrated, overwhelmed and sometimes in no mood to see a presentation. You’re also competing with their mobile devices, which means you are competing with their friends, their family, their kids.
You can’t afford to not be fascinating. You can’t afford to not be inspiring. Accept the fact that they have a limited attention budget so use it wisely.