If you have a major event coming up, these presentation tips will help you to knock it out of the park. Impress your colleagues and inspire your audience by connecting with them in a meaningful way.
Our Top 12 Presentation Tips
Tell a story
No matter what the content of your presentation, when you frame it in a narrative, people are far more likely to connect with what you are saying. If you set your data and facts in a storyline that your audience can follow, they will find your presentation more engaging. Take your audience on a journey and talk about the things you are passionate about in your subject matter.
Know your Territory
Scope out your presentation venue before the big day. Know where to enter and exit and check that all your technological requirements are met. Knowing the lay of the land will help to mitigate anxiety leading up to your presentation.
Arrive early and test all of your technology to ensure that your slides or videos work perfectly. Take out all of your notes and props and have them arranged within easy reach. If you need a pointer or a microphone, ensure that they are set up and working. If you need water, then get yourself a drink. Your first introduction to the audience should be your smiling face, not your back while you scramble to set up.
Know your Audience
Tailor your presentation to suit your audience. This means that you should speak to their expertise so you don’t drown them in jargon or bore them with information they already know. You should also use a tone that is appropriate e.g., not too friendly or too formal. Speaking with a tone and level that suits your audience will help them to engage.
The biggest obstacle to a successful presentation is nerves. One way to overcome yours is to meditate just before you are set to give your presentation. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and promote higher cognitive functioning. It also improves memory, so just 15 minutes of meditation should help you to give a much better presentation and think on your feet during question time.
When scientists hooked Johnny Carson up to a heart monitor, they were surprised to find that even the old pro’s ticker got a boost when he walk out on stage. The experiment found that his heart rate doubled just before the show started so imagine what yours is doing right before you step out in front of a crowd. One way to calm the storm is to breathe deeply. Use your diaphragm to take a few big breaths right before you start to help calm your nerves.
Sure, this isn’t about you, but launching into your rhetoric without establishing your credentials or without the audience knowing your name is not the best way to make a meaningful connection. If you can find a way to weave this into your narrative, even better!
Practice Makes Perfect
As presentation tips go, this is probably the most important. Practice your presentation on someone else to see if the tone, level and humor hit the mark. Avoid memorizing a script as this will make you sound stiff and unnatural. It will also make it harder for you to find your place if you get stuck. Instead, just remember the basic points along the journey and then speak more naturally around each topic.
Brevity Is the Friend of Success
Never tailor your presentation to a time slot. You should decide on a topic and then cover that topic comprehensively, but as succinctly as possible. Once you have written your presentation, focus on each and every point and make sure that it adds to the narrative. If it’s not doing a good job, chuck it out.
Dress for Success
Looking great and professional will help your audience to take you seriously. When you look great, you feel more confident and this will help to bolster your performance. If you tend to sweat when you are nervous, pop an anti-perspirant in your bag and don’t hesitate to bring an extra shirt if you need to.
Take it Slow
Sure, you know this presentation tip by heart now, but it really is worth repeating. Speaking slowly and deliberately will help your audience to keep up. This will also make it easier for them to follow your amazing narrative and absorb your words of wisdom.
Think, Don’t Drink
Don’t be tempted to calm your nerves with too much alcohol. All that adrenalin in your bloodstream will dehydrate you and may compromise your ability to think quickly. Instead, calm yourself with deep breaths and make sure to keep hydrated. If you’re absolutely parched, drink a glass of water.
What presentation tips do have to help fellow readers? Leave us a comment below, or tweet us @trackvia with your feedback.