There is so much to know and learn when it comes to preparing and giving an effective presentation.
But there are some aspects of presenting that are absolutely essential to take into account if you want to present confidently and smoothly.
Here are six of my favourite ‘presentation truths’. Watch this space, more presentation truths will follow.
1.The audience can’t listen to you speak and read slides at the same time.
If you show slides with lots of text, the audience will try to do what they simply can’t do (read and listen at the same time), and they will become frustrated. They will not be able to follow your presentation and they will switch off.
2. Nobody every complained about a presentation being too short.
Far too many presentations are far too long. Prepare a tight presentation which only contains information that is 100% relevant to your audience’s needs and finish before your allocated time. The audience will love you for it!
3.The audience are on your side, they want you to do well.
This fact is great to help you calm your nerves, but how do we know it’s true? Because if you really mess up, the audience will start to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable on your behalf (they are empathetic human beings underneath those business suits.) These are negative feelings and the audience doesn’t want to experience negativity, they want to feel relaxed and comfortable.
4. The audience don’t care how much you know.
This sounds really cruel, but it’s true. You could be the world’s expert in your field but if you don’t talk about what you can do for your audience, they will disengage. Remember, the audience are tuned into the radio station WIFM -·What’s In It For Me?” Make sure you are on that wave length too.
5. Your Power Point slides are not the presentation, YOU are.
Never confuse one with the other. If you have been asked to speak, it’s because someone thinks you have something interesting and useful to say. You make your topic interesting by giving your angle on it and demonstrating why the audience should listen to you. This requires energy, passion and enthusiasm, something that slides obviously don’t have.
6. You have between 30 – 45 seconds to convince the audience you are worth listening to.
Many presentation audiences expect presentations to be the same – hard to follow and boring. But as your presentation starts, the majority will give you their full attention to see if this one is going to be different (they certainly hope so!). If you start off with an original opening and link this to the message of why it’s important that your audience listen to you, you’ll have them hooked. Keep them engaged throughout the rest of your presentation by repeating your main message and illustrating certain points with stories.