At some point in our lives, each and every one of us has attended a presentation. Some are good. Some are bad. Others are just darn right strange! I remember attending a B2B conference with a colleague of mine. When we arrived at the presentation, not only did the 3 individuals running it not talk about the topic intended, they spoke with monotone enthusiasm and made for probably the longest 20 minutes of our lives!
Anyone can deliver a presentation. Telling a story, or getting the facts across is one thing. Telling people what they want to hear from you, exciting people about the topic or just simply relaying information that will resonate with people is another thing entirely.
Here are 5 points to deliver a successful presentation (in no particular order I might add):
It almost sounds too obvious to mention really, doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people looking straight at the wall behind everyone, relaying the script they’ve gone over a thousand times the night before. Your audience aren’t robots, so you shouldn’t be one either. I’m not saying your presentation should turn into a night at the panto, but you should engage directly with your participants. For example, let people ask questions, ask questions back and emphasise on your answers. This can only help to validate the points you’re making in your presentation.
Think about what you’d like to see or take away from a presentation, regardless of topic. What questions would provoke you to think? What would you expect to learn from the presentation? Would you want to attend a presentation on the topic? Would you prefer it to be light-hearted, or more serious and more informative? There are plenty of questions for you to ask yourself.
This one’s a biggie. You obviously want to spend time practicing your presentation, it’s important to understand the main points you’re trying to get across as well as how you want the audience to interpret them. This is as much as you want. It’s so important to not get caught up in a script and end up sounding like a robot. You’ll worry you’re not sticking to or remembering the script and the audience won’t relate. It won’t be fun for them and it certainly won’t be fun for you.
You know that one family member who tells you the same joke every single Christmas gathering? Yeah – that’s how you’ll come across if you’re not careful. I’m not saying don’t be humorous, in fact making the audience laugh can help to break the ice and allow them to empathize with you. Whatever you do, just don’t take it that step too far. You’re there to inform your audience, and while you can also entertain, it’s not a comedy club. Remember why you’re there.
Don’t feel the need to extend your presentation if you’ve already said everything you have to say. It’s far more important to deliver a meaningful and on topic presentation than it is to waffle for an extra few minutes of stage time. This comes back to my previous point about putting yourself in the audience’s shoes. If you wouldn’t want to listen to unrelatable or un-informal information, then why would they? Get them to ask questions at the end to fill the time. This will be far more effective. Your audience will thank you for it.