In the past, it was possible for most people to avoid giving presentations altogether, or get away with winging them if necessary. Those days are long gone now, though, and most professionals are expected to be able to present powerfully and effectively whenever called upon.
This is odd, considering most people have had no specific training to develop their skills and enable them to present to the best of their abilities.
As a result, they tend talk at people, rather than connect and engage. If you or your employees are doing this, it might be costing you a huge amount in lost business.
In my experience, people tend to do the best they can with the resources and skills they have available. These nine simple tips can help anyone give a more powerful and persuasive presentation.
1. Start with a Bang
Opening with a powerful question, or a story that captures your audience's attention immediately, is crucial.
If you don't grab your audience's attention within the first 30 seconds, they will tune out – and it then becomes really difficult to win them back.
2. Avoid ‘Lip Synching' Your Presentation
Avoid just reading your PowerPoint slides aloud. If you're simply reading the exact same text that's written on the screen behind you, then one of you is not needed!
3. Provide a Clear Next Step
What do you want your audience to think, do, or feel differently as a result of listening to your presentation?
Give your audience a clear next step to take after listening to you speak.
4. Have Focussed ‘Take-Aways'
What will your audience members ‘take away' from your presentation? Be clear about what it is you want them to ‘get', and then give it to them.
Always remember to talk about the benefits of what you can offer rather than the features.
5. Be Willing to Share Your Challenges
We all face problems on a daily basis in business, so be willing to use your personal struggles, problems and challenges to help your audience see how you managed to overcome them and finally achieve success.
By sharing your relevant failures and challenges, and then sharing the processes you've used to overcome them, you will gain your audience's respect and support.
6. Anchor Your Key Points
Tie your key points to an anchor. An anchor is anything that helps your message to become ‘sticky'.
Using stories, acronyms, activities and analogies can all be powerful anchors for a message.
Every time you make a key point, link it to a relevant anchor, as it will help them to remember you and your message. It will make what you're saying ‘sticky' and memorable.
7. Use Visual Words to Paint Pictures
Use your language to paint pictures in the minds of your audience. For example, use ‘three keys' or ‘three tools' instead of ‘three strategies'.
8. Keep it Focused
Make sure you spend your energy delivering a small number of key points, and that each one of them is memorable.
This is a far more effective tactic than trying to cram too much information in, which leads to the audience forgetting everything.
9. Involve Your Audience
Audiences hate passively listening to presentations.
Instead, involve your audience by using activities and questions. It's much easier to do than you think, and can make a huge difference to the level of success you can achieve with your presentations.