By Bigg Success Staff
Just like public speaking, many people are frightened by the thought of making a presentation. Yet learning how to present your ideas well is a sure-fire way to advance in your career. Here are nine tips to make your next presentation unforgettable:
- Define your purpose.
What is the desired outcome of your presentation? Once you know the answer to this question, you can start preparing for it. You’ll make a lot of choices as you get ready for your presentation. You’ll make better decisions with your purpose firmly in your mind.
- Do your research.
Find out all you can about the person or persons to whom you will be presenting. What’s their background? What are their preferences? What has worked well for people who have made presentations to them before? What didn’t work? By knowing your audience, you’ll be more successful in designing your presentation for their needs.
- Develop the appropriate collateral materials.
What are the right materials for your audience? What materials fit your content? For example, believe it or not, some people hate PowerPoint presentations. If you know that in advance, you might use flip charts or some other tool instead. Of course, your supporting documentation needs to fit your content as well.
- Develop a back-up plan.
Ask yourself, “What if …?” For example, what if your computer crashes?
We’re reminded of the entrepreneur who was scheduled to make a presentation to a venture capital firm. When he tried to start his computer, it wouldn’t come on. Which meant no PowerPoint presentation. Which meant no presentation at all.
The financiers were put off by this because they felt that he should have prepared for such a possibility. They reasoned that, if he wasn’t prepared for something as simple as this, how could he be trusted to prepare for complex market situations?
What could go wrong? Prepare for it in advance. Your show must go on!
- Plan for interaction.
Think about questions or comments that might arise during your presentation. Prepare for questions that you want to answer then and there. Plan for questions that you may not want to answer (e.g. price discussions). Know how you’ll get back on track when a comment is made that strays from your focus.
- Put yourself in the role.
Find someone who knows your audience and practice on them. By rehearsing your presentation beforehand, you’ll be better prepared when you’re doing it for real. You’ll be in familiar territory. For more information, see The Role of Role Playing.
- Focus on making a connection.
With most people, what you say and how you say it are less important than the perception they form of you during your presentation. Seek, most of all, to develop and build trust as you present. Relax. Let the real you shine through.
- Don’t waste time.
Depending on the formality of the situation, a little small talk (no redundancy intended) may be appropriate. Then, get to your points. Don’t waste their time, or yours. Getting to your key points early in the presentation insures you get the most attention for them.
- Call for action.
You started planning for your presentation by determining its purpose. Close by asking the person or persons to whom you’re presenting to do what you want them to do.