High impact presenting really is like kissing with confidence.
Presenting our ideas at work is something more and more of us are called on to do every day. Some of us find it more challenging than others; especially if you are presenting for the first time.
That moment stays with you forever, it’s like your first kiss you, never forget it.
Do you remember kissing with confidence?
If you were like me, you were extremley anxious then too and managed to make a mess of it.
Life is a 24 hour, 365 day a year conversation
We are always communicating with someone in some way.
Whether it’s at home, at work, at the bus stop, airport or the gym, there’s always a conversation taking place somewhere. If it’s not us talking out loud to someone else, there is still a conversation going on in our heads that only we can hear.
That conversation continues long after our heads hit the pillow. It’s just a different kind of conversation; its called dreaming.
With that in mind we owe it to ourselves to get good at communicating, especially when presenting our ideas to colleagues or clients.
Here are a few tips to help you to prepare mindfully when presenting to ensure you enjoy ‘kissing with confidence’.
Starting with PowerPoint and doing what many people do; fire it up and dump everything they know onto the slides.
Preparing mindfully, using large post it notes or old fashioned paper. Writing down your objective and key message and then surrounding it with all of the key points which will create your story and support your objective.
Not doing your homework.
Assuming you know exactly who your audience are, how they think and what they need.
Doing your research and finding out as much as you can.
Calling or emailing them in advance if you have to.
Creating your presentation in complete isolation.
Sharing your ideas and work in progress with trusted friends and colleagues, not too many though!
Asking them for open, honest feedback.
Preparing and delivering your presentation based on your needs, rather than your audience’s.
Preparing everything with your audience’s needs at the forefront of your mind.
Starting with the obvious, boring or expected.
‘Good morning, my name is….’
‘I’m delighted to be here…’
‘I know you’d all rather be sunning yourselves on a beach somewhere…’
Daring to be different.
Telling them a true, relevant and interesting story which they will remember and make them curious.
Tie it in to:
– Why you’re in front of them in the first place
– A learning point, experience or epiphany
– Your key message
Showing them slides of your vision, mission, values, office, or anything else that doesn’t help them.
They probably don’t care.
Getting straight to the point.
If you need to talk about your vision or mission, finding another way to bring it to life with impact; don’t make them read it.
Making it clear at the very start why they are there, how you can help them and what you want from them.
Giving them a good reason to want to keep listening.
No one likes a ‘know it all’ or ‘show off’
Arrogance makes audience’s cringe with discomfort and take an instant dislike to you and your message.
Being confident but humble.
Putting yourself in your audiences ‘shoes’.
Thinking about how everything you say and do will make them feel.
Consciously deciding in advance how you want them to feel and keeping that in mind throughout.
Filling your slides with too much text.
If they have to read them, send them an email instead.
If you are using your slides as your script you will bore them to tears and lose credibility.
Using key words that will help them follow your path and also what you want them to remember.
Many people are visual so try to use imagery that will connect your message and make it more memorable. Create a story not a presentation.
Making sure that you know your topic inside out and that you have rehearsed.
Using fancy fonts or font sizes which are too small for your audience to read easily.
Keeping slides clear, simple and readable.
Using long bullet point lists that your audience has to read.
Keeping your slides simple and impactful.
Consider the power of Bill Board advertising. That’s what your slides should be like.
Creating and showing a slide that has no relevance, meaning or value.
Imagine your audience asking the question:
If the slide doesn’t support the point don’t use it.
Making your slides dance and sing. In other words, take it easy with the animations and sound effects
Don’t use animations unless they will add considerable value to the way your content will be received. If you do, keep it minimal and mindful.
Packing graphs or charts with too much information.
Your audience usually can’t read it and don’t have time to anyway. It just leaves them confused and frustrated.
Thinking about the objective of the graph and its key message. Find another way to draw it out; simplify and highlight it.
Having a closing slide at the end that says ‘THANK YOU’
Thanking them, but doing it personally and sincerely. Saying it like you mean it
A lacklustre closing.
Closing without showing them your best fireworks. Have you ever noticed that the very best firework displays anywhere in the world save their best fireworks to the end?
Many presenters finish with the sparklers instead of the big bang.
Leaving them with something they will always remember. Show them your best fireworks.
What do you want them to remember?
Don’t try to be anyone else.
Be yourself, but be your best self:
Be real and enjoy your ‘first kiss’
If you need help ‘kissing with confidence (I mean presenting confidently):
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
Image: Courtesy of www.istockphoto.com
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