7 Tips for Presenting Like a Pro

7 Tips for Presenting Like a Pro
  • Opening Intro -

    I read a study recently that ranked causes of anxiety, and right at the tippy top (even beating out the death of a loved one), was public speaking.

    At first this surprised me, but without much thought we can all recall a presenter who got too nervous to deliver an effective message.

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If you need to make a business presentation, then there is no need to go weak in the knees because nailing a great presentation does not need to be difficult. Before you throw up your hands in utter despair, keeping seven basic points in mind will have you presenting like a pro.

1. Create a Focus and Keep It

The first important step in making a great presentation is to carefully choose your topic. While some speakers may have complete freedom, others must stay within a certain area. Regardless, find something that you can be passionate about as it will help you stay interested in doing a great job.

Once you have created no more than three great ideas, then think about your target audience as your presentation will be more successful if you find a topic that they care about as well. The best topics are usually those where you are solving a problem to which the audience can relate. For example, if you are talking to sales professionals, then you might want to talk about five ways to use cold calling to increase your prospects or if you are talking to web designers you might want to talk about how to create great links.

Oral Presentation Skills:

Stay on point by building your presentation around your 3 main points. I usually use my 3 main points as my thesis statement, then zoom in on each one of them during the body of the presentation, then restate the thesis at the end. This way, no irrelevant material can creep its way into my notes. Consider the length of your presentation and narrow your focus carefully. The more time that you need to fill the wider your focus needs to remain.

2.Write Your Presentation

The next step in preparing a great presentation is to write the presentation. When structuring the presentation, it is best to follow the axiom, Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them. To this end, I prefer to structure my presentation beginning with an attention grabber, followed by a thesis, a body closely related to the thesis, and a conclusion that restates the thesis.

  • The Attention Grabber

    There are many different techniques that you can use to introduce a topic to an audience. One common technique is to tell a good story presenting a problem that your presentation then answers. If you can add some humor to your story, then your audience wants to listen even more carefully.

    Another great technique is to paint an emotional picture related to your topic. Choose to paint a picture that your audience can relate to and tell it in a way where audience members can imagine it actually happening to them.

  • writepresentation

    Image by Pixabay

  • The Thesis

    This will be a one sentence statement that represents the point you are trying to demonstrate or the action you are trying to motivate. This should not be simply informational! Informational presentations are boring. If your only purpose is to convey information, use an email. The value of the presentation is your ability to inspire. Keep this in mind when developing your thesis.

    If your three main points are not the thesis statement, you should introduce those three main points before transitioning into the body of the presentation.

  • A Well-Researched Body

    After you have hooked your audience with your strong introduction, then follow it with a researched middle where you show that you really have command of your subject matter. While you may need to spend hours preparing your presentation’s middle, be careful that you do not give the audience more than they can comprehend or retain in a brief period of time, but be sure to give them more than they can get with a brief Google search. Again, any information you convey should be calculated to inspire and motivate.

    A well-researched presentation often includes numbers and statistics. Make sure to provide your audience with how this impacts them personally. The more that each audience member feels like you are talking to them personally, the better the audience will receive your presentation. It is usually best to follow the format of your three main points when structuring the presentation’s body.

  • A Memorable Conclusion

    The conclusion needs to create a passion in each audience member to follow the information that you gave during your presentation. Therefore, you should tell the audience exactly what you want them to do using strong action verbs.

    If you choose to end with a question and answer period, then make sure that everyone in the room can hear the questions and your answers. Conclude the question and answer period with a strong call to action and repeat the thesis.

    Now that you think that you have written an outstanding presentation, go back to the previous tip. Make sure that each part of your presentation adds an important part to the focal point. If it does, then you are giving the audience what they need to hear. If not, then rework the parts, because your focus needs to be your promise to your audience that you will teach them about one topic.

3.Use Visuals

Visuals are a great way to help hold your audience’s attention, but no one wants to see people read what is visually presented to them. Use visuals to help create lasting memories in your audience’s mind.

The design of your visual aid is crucial. You should use a separate clear visual aid for each important point in your presentation. Too many presenters reuse boring powerpoint templates without images or backgrounds. Follow the 6×6 rule: six words per line, six lines per slide MAX. Slides are free. Not only will this help give appropriate weight to your information, but it will keep the audience from being distracted from your message. You are the presenter, the slides are the aid. Don’t get that backwards. If you do not have a visual, then turn off the screen until you are ready to show another visual. Help the audience follow along by using the same layout, font and titles for each slide. Proofread the wording on each visual very carefully, as one misspelled word can ruin a whole presentation.

If you are using a laser or pointer, then only use it when you absolutely need it. Otherwise, lay it down. If you continue to hold it, then you will be too tempted to use it to point out everything to your audience. Therefore, it is best not to use one at all or use it only minimally.

view visual presentation ideas – google

4. Dress the Part

When you are making a business presentation, then it is important to look great. In most cases, men will want to wear a well-pressed business shirt. It depends on the audience if a suit coat is needed. Your shirt will look much nicer if you put a men’s undershirt under the business shirt as it helps to protect against underarm sweat stains from showing. Menswear Reviews recommends Underfit undershirts. Your hair should be neatly combed. Wear business shoes that allow you to stand comfortably. Don’t forget deodorant and brushed teeth.

Women should dress conservatively for their presentation. In most cases, a woman will want to wear a knee-length business dress. Depending on the audience, a business pant suit may be appropriate. Hair should be worn so that it stays out of the way during the presentation. Choose your shoes carefully so that you can easily stand in place.

professional dress code – pinterest

5. Make the Audience Your Friend

If you are not used to communicating with an audience, many speakers find it an intimidating experience. Remember that the audience is there to hear the information that you have to share. They really do want you to succeed, so pick out a friendly face or two and look them straight in the eye.

If you find it impossible to look an audience member in the eye, then look at a low forehead crease. Your audience will never be the smarter.

Do not keep throwing words and visuals at an audience without giving them time to catch up with your speaking pattern. Don’t be afraid of silence after asking a question or for emotional effect. If you are nervous, you will naturally speak much faster than you intend to. Therefore, it is essential to give your audience time to understand what you are saying. Make a conscious effort to breathe at important parts throughout your presentation.

audience

Image by Pixabay

When possible, use a surprising action or visual to reengage your audience about halfway through your presentation. Consider having them stand up and pretend to do something or do something for real. That way, those audience members who did not get enough sleep the night before have a chance to wake back up. I keep this youtube video open on another tab in case I ever lose an audience. The truth of the matter is that it is usually not your material that is putting an audience to sleep, but the fact that they are physically exhausted.

6. Practice

There is no way to compensate for lack of preparation when you are giving a presentation. Therefore, it is very important that you practice your presentation before you give it because if something can go wrong it will when you are presenting. Some of you may think that you present better when you’re shooting from the hip. You don’t. You’re kidding yourself. Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. I can’t say it strongly enough: practice your presentation.

You’ve heard to practice in front of the mirror. That’s okay, but in the day of smart phones it’s usually possible to position the phone somewhere and present to the phone while it’s recording video. That way you know exactly what the audience is going to see. Spoiler alert: that video is going to do to you what that little kid did to the emperor’s clothes. It will be a brutally honest depiction of your performance. But then you can make notes of your ums and annoying habits and fix those as you continue to practice and practice and practice. Also keep in mind that you will be much harder on yourself than any audience member will be on you.

7. Arrive Early

If you have never been to the place where you are giving the presentation, then make sure to leave extra early or visit the site ahead of time. This allows you to be sure that you arrive on time. It also allows you to feel comfortable in the room before your audience arrives. Do a sound check and run through the presentation once to make sure there won’t be any surprises or technical glitches. The more cushion you leave yourself, the less stress you will encounter.

When you follow these seven tips, you will do a great job with your presentation. Remember that the audience is your friend and sell them on the most important parts of your presentation. If something does go wrong, smile and remember that you will have a story to tell during a future presentation. You’ve got this! Go kick some butt!

Career Management reference:

building up your career

 
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Successful Presentations For Dummies (Series)
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Successful Presentations For Dummies (Series)
  • Malcolm Kushner
  • For Dummies
  • Edition no. 1 (02/09/1996)
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Last update on 2017-08-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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