Wednesday, 1 August 2012

How to give effective presentations

Seven Presentation tips and techniques

Presentations can be hard work to both deliver and attend. Yet, they are part and parcel of our working lives . Having trained over 3000 participants to feel more confident and sure of themselves when delivering presentations, I have identified the following tips which some of the best presenters I have seen use. I hope you find them useful.

1. The Result. Be absolutely clear about what you want your audience doing, thinking or feeling after your presentation. Focus and clarity about what you want to achieve are critical to allow you to deliver your message with confidence. It also makes your preparation so much easier as you will be able to decide what to put in and what to leave out. Most presentations are boring because of the amount of detail included. Less is best but have your detail as backup in your slide deck if needed.

2. Know your audience (as best you can)
The best presentations are all about the audience. These presentations are interesting, understandable and memorable from the audiences perspective. Structure your presentation to your audiences tastes and likings. Align your objectives to theirs and emphasise the benefits of what you are proposing in your introduction. It is your job to grab the audiences attention and give them a reason to listen.

3. Have a clear beginning, middle and end
Your introduction should give the audience enough reason to listen to you and engage through questions. They should see the benefits of your message upfront. Tell them what you are going to tell them and why it is important to their world. The middle should be no more than three key points to back up your argument you have put forward at the beginning. The end should be a clear call to action repeating the benefits for the audience.

4. Stand tall and look straight at your audience
In our experience most people spend over 90% of their preparation time on their slide deck. While a good deck is essential, it will not convince the audience by itself. You and your presence in the room are key to making the difference. Stand tall, hold eye contact, speak slowly and smile. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. The key is to practice or get a friend to video you and have a look at your performance. Reduce time on the deck and spend more time with the camera on your smart phone analysing your practice sessions to become and feel more confident.

5. Don’t Address Slides. Address & engage the Audience You are here to influence and engage people in the room. Use the slides as a visual aid to clarify your message, but make sure you address the people, not the slides. 80% of your eye contact is with your audience. Encourage participation from your audience. Remember, if they are asking questions, they are interested and listening. The challenge can be keeping the dialogue on track.

6. Have an opinion and back with facts
Forget what you learned in school—more is not better.. Make your points specific, and support them with facts. Your audience do not want you to rehash details, they want to hear what your opinion or decision is. What is to be done next and what do you need from them. You are paid to use the grey matter between your ears. Demonstrate your capability

7. Remember that Timing Indicates Emphasis
In general, a good rule of thumb for allocation of your overall time is to spend 10 to 15 percent of your time on the opening, 70 to 85 percent on the body, and 5 to 10 percent on the closing. This allows slightly more time up front in the introduction to grab attention, “win over” a hostile or uninterested group, and establish credibility. However, having a strong close is every bit as important as your opening so again get out your smart phone and video your close.

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