Passion makes the difference between a plain presentation and a great presentation. The more passionate a speaker is, the more his or her presentation comes alive, and the more the audience becomes transfixed. A well-delivered presentation may seem like an effortless act, but in truth any dynamic presentation is the result of extensive planning and effort during delivery.
If you have a presentation in mind or one assigned to you, heed the six tips below from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan. They will put you on the right track to delivering a stellar presentation that leaves a lasting impression.
1. Prepare Accordingly — If you think you will be able to pull off a dynamic presentation by the seat of your pants, you better think again. The foundation of any presentation is the amount of preparation the speaker puts in behind the scenes. Develop a topic, flesh it out into concise, relevant and specific bullet points that tie back to the central theme and develop a narrative arc to follow. Then perform a handful of dry runs in front of the mirror, a friend or colleague, or your family.
2. Open With Something Strong And Unforgettable — There is a saying in the writing community that you need to capture your readers within the first 100 pages. (Actually, the number is probably closer to 25). You can apply this idea to your presentation as well through telling a story, sharing a compelling incident or through an anecdote. Whatever method you choose, the first 2 to 3 minutes of your presentation can make or break your audience’s interest in what you have to say, so make it count.
3. Keep Your Presentation Short — You have probably sat through a long presentation on more than one occasion. Think about how bored you became. If you want to avoid being a bore that makes the audience snore, you should pare down your presentation to its slimmest, trimmest, most refined form. Each bullet point should pack a meaningful punch that, once delivered, leaves the audience in anticipation for the next verbal blow you have to deliver.
4. Maximize Visual Aids — Including a visual aid with your presentation is a must these days. The trick is to incorporate it in such a way that it never overshadows your presentation itself, but complements it. PowerPoint is the most common means through which people add a visual (and audio) element to their presentations. But keep the glitz and glam, the crazy transitions and the musical accompaniment to a minimum. Keep your visuals aesthetically noteworthy, but not so brazen as to steal focus from you.
5. Avoid The Statue Routine — Be animated. Don’t stand behind a podium, relax and be casual. Move around, wander about and most importantly, make eye contact with a handful of audience members. Locking eye contact with someone will not only hold their attention, but others nearby will also pick up on the subtle action and find themselves drawn in to your presentation.
6. Never Apologize During The Presentation — This is a Public Speaking 101 lesson. Never apologize for mispronouncing a word or losing your place, confusing the order of your presentation or having difficulty with technology. Doing so will only compromise your command and air of authority, and break the flow of your presentation. This will cost you the audience’s full attention. If you trip up, just move along. The best way to avoid this is to pause frequently. Just gather your thoughts and take a breath.
Remember—presentations are powerful sales and marketing tools if you prepare correctly. Follow the tips above and you won’t go wrong!
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.
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