Have you been on the recieving end of a brilliant presentation recently?
Perphaps you’ve given one yourself.
Either way, you’ll know that giving a brilliant presentation at work isn’t easy.
It doesn’t involve reading slides, speaking in a monotone voice or dumping data on fellow professionals; that’s very easy to do!
The reality is, no one really expects you to give a brilliant presentation. They simply want you to share your knowledge, information and insights in a way that connects with them. That said, wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all experienced a few more brilliant presentations?
Where do you start?
Put yourself in your audiences shoes.
As you craft your presentation, ask yourself:
– What your audience needs to know and why they need to know it
– Why your audience should care about what you have to say
– Exactly how your presentation will make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different
– Whether each point or fact you plan to share is completely relevant to them
– How each point you plan to make totally supports your message
– How you will respond if someone asks, ‘So what, why are you telling me that?’
Focus on feelings
Most presentations need to be supported with some form of data or facts to achieve credence; that’s often a pre-requisite.
Data on it’s own however, is not enough; feelings matter too.
If you focus purely on achieving intellectual understanding alone, you will be doing your audience a disservice. They may be professionals but they are also emotional beings.
Decide in advance how you want your audience to feel and prepare and deliver your presentation with that in mind.
Surprise your audience
The world appears pretty much divided on suprises; some of us love them and some of us hate them. When it comes to presenting, most audiences welcome a surprise.
The hallmark of a brilliant presentation begins when you were expecting to be bored to tears, to quickly find youself feeling really pleased to be in the room instead. For that to happen, it has to start immediately; don’t wait to share your suprise.
As the late, great, Dr Stephen Covey once said, ‘Being with the end in mind.‘
– Tell them something big, powerful and relevant that they don’t already know
– Reveal a truth, fact or statement that will get them thinking
– Make them smile
– Ask a thought provoking question
– Tell a short, relevant and compelling story
– Ask them to close their eyes and give them something to imagine
Keep it short
If you are given 30 minutes to speak, try to finish in no more than 25; your listeners will love you.
Brevity and focus is paramount when it comes to presenting. Once you’ve prepared your message be mercenary with it. Cut it down to only what needs to be said. Many presentations could actually be given in half the time allocated if prepared mindfully.
Get straight to the point!
Your audience really don’t care how many offices you have, how many widgets you make and what all the letters after your name stand for.
Many professionals present their ideas as though they are comedians by saving the punchline for the end.
That works for comedians but not for business presenters. We need to deliver the punchline up front and get to the point. Your audience won’t thank you for making them wait.
The key to success is to make your presentation short, relevant, compelling and memorable.
Use visuals wisely
In a previous article ,I wrote: ‘Over the last decade or so the ubiquitous misuse of visual aids has created a great deal of unrest. If you’ve ever come across the terms, ‘Death by PowerPoint’ or ‘Death by Bullet Point’, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
The effective use of visuals can have an extremely positive impact on business presentations. Mindfully crafted, compelling visuals can help presenters to:
– Capture and keep their audience’s attention
– Give greater clarity and meaning to content
– Enhance the emotive side of their presentation
– Increase their credibility and memorability’
If you are using slides, use as few as possible. Make sure they are ‘clutter free’, simple and compelling enough to support the point you are trying to make
There are a host of different types of visual software available to you today:
Before you decide to use any of these, ask yourself what value will they add to your audience and your message.
Don’t stop there
You can have a great mindset, content and visuals but part of a brilliant presentation comes from the way you deliver it too.
Here a a few key tips to help you on your way:
– Use hand gestures – movement offers energy and visual stimulation. Let your hand speak too.
– Stand tall and proud, feet shoulder or hip width apart.
– Smile before you utter a word and lighten up.
– Be vocally expressive. Adjust your pitch, pace, tone and volume.
– Make good eye contact.
– Address bad habits.
– Speak slowly and clearly; don’t forget to pause.
– Be facially expressive. Don’t just sound passionate, look it too.
– Be as open as possible.
– Tell stories.
– Don’t forget to breathe.
– Make mindful use of the space available to you. Don’t just stand there.
If the idea of crafting and delivering a brilliant presentation appeals to you and you need some help:
– Get yourself some mindful presentation skills training.
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some good one to one public speaking coaching.