There comes a time in every leader/manager’s life when it is necessary to give a presentation. This might be to a board, a small élite team or a very large group indeed – we are talking here about several hundred and up. The same principles apply whether the group is large or small– you want to keep them interested, alert and engaged right through from the start to finish!
We’ve all sat there haven’t we, trying hard to concentrate as the presenter drones on and on. That monotonous voice and the endless boring Power Point Slides! We are bored and we know everyone else is too – no one is paying attention!
Of course, if the you, the presenter, suddenly shouted fire we’d all be up and out of those seats in a shot. But what else can you, do to help us pay attention?
Here are my tips.
- Start with a bang – open with impact. Start off with something that really grabs your audience’s attention. No don’t shout fire – but do say something memorable. Make a strong impression and get their interest straight away. You could start with a remarkable fact about the organization or something surprising about you. But don’t be too shocking in a work environment.
- Say why you are there – tell them your purpose. Why are you speaking to them? Tell your audience clearly what this is about. Be clear yourself why you are there and then make it clear to them. Then stick to your purpose. Make sure your presentation is well focused.
- Be the leader – stay in control. This is your presentation and you are responsible for it. Show you are in control Make sure you do the talking, not your slides. They are only exist to support you Make sure you let your personality show through.
- Make it the right length. Short and interesting is much better than long and boring. After the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, famous orator Edward Everett stood up and talked about the battle for two hours. Then Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in two minutes. Who do you think made more impact?
- Stay on the subject. If you are talking about something your audience is interested in, they will not fall asleep. Do you have some special news to share with them? Are you about to solve a problem for them? Stay with that and they will stay with you.
- Have a call to action. Do you know what you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation? Put it at the end of the presentation for impact. Make it clear and end with it.
- You gotta practice! Anything and everything is improved with editing, polishing, smoothing and practicing. Practice your presentation and it will be far more effective when you deliver it.
- Be confident.This is easier said than done. But practice will help. Have a short relaxation technique to use in the rest room before hand if you know that you suffer from stage fright. The practice and taking time to prepare properly on the day, will also help with that. Try to enjoy yourself, if you can, then your audience will do so too.
- Be ready for the unexpected. Things can go wrong. You can lose your notes on the day, for example. So have a back up plan and, if you can, try out the equipment before you start.
- Give a presentation you would enjoy – make it interesting. If you are passionate about your subject and enjoy it, others will too. If you are warm and interesting – they will love it.
Wendy Mason is a career coach. She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at email@example.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com
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