In many circumstances, a well-prepared and engaging presentation can make or break a situation. Presentation skills are necessary for all areas of life and business, from securing a big contract, getting hired or promoted for a new position, or rallying support for projects.
Margaret Chamblee, an experienced marketing and sales professional, shares some tips on essential requirements to take your presentation to the next level and improve your chances of receiving a standing ovation.
Connect with Your Audience
Find a way to demonstrate your passion for the topic you are presenting on to your audience. Passion inspires confidence, which allows you to be more relaxed while speaking to a crowd or room. Be honest, be authentic, and let them know you care.
Know What Your Audience Needs
Whenever you are preparing a presentation, remember to focus on what your audience needs to know and wants to know. A strong presentation should not be one in which you share every fact you possibly can. How will the people you are speaking to benefit from what you have to say? Be prepared for how your audience responds and know how to adapt to make sure they understand.
Keep It Simple
The key to any strong presentation is to stay clear and concise in the message you want to convey. Don't get caught up in trying to nail down every specific; instead identify a key topic or a few key points you want people to take away from your message.
Remember to Smile
Many presenters make the mistake of failing to engage with their audience. Some of the best presenters remember to smile and make eye contact with various members of their audience. You don't have to connect with every single person but identify a few people and make eye contact periodically. It helps you as a presenter establish rapport with the audience and gives you a sense that you are talking amongst a room of peers and not strangers.
Use Body Language
So much of communication can be demonstrated non-verbally. Ways to quickly turn off an audience include crossing your arms, hands behind your back, hands in your pockets, or pacing. Using open gestures, such as naturally moving your hands to emphasize points, can help construe confidence and reinforce the message you want to convey.
Use Your Voice Wisely
In addition to body language, tone and inflection go a long way in conveying a message. Using strategies such as changing the speed in which you talk or changing the tone and pitch of your voice can help emphasize the importance of particular messages and help capture the attention of your audience.
Hit the Ground Running
The beginning of your presentation is vital to ensuring you capture attention and gain traction early on. If you don't come off energetic and engaging to start, it can be challenging to regain focus later in your presentation.
Don' Forget to Breathe
You can get caught up in speaking too fast, or your nerves can get your heart rate pumping. Most experts suggest focusing on your breathing from the beginning. Pause from time to time to catch your breath and recollect yourself. Controlled breathing allows you to relax, which helps you calmly and confidently present yourself.