Whenever you are presenting to your management or peers, you need to absolutely hold their attention in order to be effective. Here are a few tips to consider to make your presentation more impactful and interesting to your audience.
Enthusiasm – By being enthusiastic and demonstrating a strong interest in your topic, you will convey a similar level of enthusiasm to your audience. People tend to consider the merit of a presentation based on facts and logic, but they are more likely to act on it based on emotion.
Focused Content– In creating an outline for developing your presentation, pick the one major point or theme that you want to be sure your audience takes away. Next, choose up to three supporting points you want to make which “surround” that major theme. It may be three facts that lead them to the logical conclusion of your major point. It could also be up to three points which support your major theme after you have made it. Why no more than three? Up to three points tend to stick with your audience, making it easier for them to recount. More than three may be fine, but may also divert your audience/recipients away from the main point you are really trying to make.
Opening Statement – Memorize your opening statement and practice saying it with authority and confidence. This will start you off on the right foot and grab your audience from the beginning. Focus on a couple of friendly faces in the room, as this will help you feel more confident while engaging your audience.
Supporting Information – Cite references from recognized authorities.
Visuals – Use visual aids where appropriate, as they can add to your ability to deliver the message. However, when using something like PowerPoint, keep it limited. Too many slides, like too many points, can confuse your audience and actually detract from the major point you are trying to make.
Eye Contact – Establish eye contact with several people in the room throughout your presentation. Do not simply look around the room like you are looking around, over or through your audience. Remember to smile.
Move About – Standing in one place can sometimes cause you to run through your presentation too quickly. Moving around will create natural pauses in your speech and provide for a delivery which is not monotone.
Modulation – Changing the way you put emphasis on a phrase or word within a sentence can change the meaning and how it is heard by your audience. Pick an important part of your presentation and practice a couple of sentences with different emphasis to see how they can sound differently.
Closing Statement – As with the opening statement, know what you want to say and how you plan to bring the presentation to conclusion. This will be the final thought you leave your audience, so it needs to make an impact and be memorable.
Time Limit – Practice and modify your delivery so as to stay within the allotted time. If you have a 30 minute presentation, people may need to leave at 25 minutes to make another meeting. One way to account for this is to reserve the last few minutes of your presentation for Q&A. This will ensure you get your closing statement out before people start thinking about what’s next on their agenda.
Rehearse – Nothing is worse than a presentation in which the presenter is unprepared. Give yourself plenty of time to put your presentation together and to rehearse prior to presenting. Practice your points out loud until you are completely comfortable.
With all the available presentation and communications technology available, make sure you set up for your presentation at least 15 minutes before your start time to correct any glitches you might encounter; this way you can start on time. Also, it is often a good idea to also have printed copies of your presentation in the event the technology has issues.
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