From time to time, all of us are confronted with the inevitability of making public presentations. Some of us love such occasions, others - tolerate them as inevitable, but many among us simply dread them. What we all agree with is that we want our colleagues to appreciate and enjoy our presentations. We can master our presentation skills and keep improving them with each new presentation. In this article we offer you a few powerful tips, which will help to ensure the success of your presentation.
Luke is very fond of showing the results of his work. What is more, he loves making presentations about his team’s achievements. During such presentations, he often gets carried away and can spend hours, talking about his team and their incredible results. To his surprise, he has begun noticing that the number of people wishing to attend his presentation steadily declines. Each time this or that colleague comes up with a perfect excuse for their absence.
What happens and why? Luke has a very interesting area of work; the cases he presents are very colorful and exciting; his team achieves their results in non-standard ways. Why then his colleagues do not like to listen to him?
Let’s have a look at Luke during one of his presentations. As a rule, he rushes into the meeting room in a hurry. He spreads his notes all over a table, sets up a laptop, connects it to the screen ... Then loudly, enthusiastically and inconsistently he chats about the work of his department, jumping from one slide to another. His talk is long; he meticulously presents all the details, taking great care not to forget a single one of them. His colleagues truly respect him for his work and the achievements of his team. That’s why they sincerely try to catch the thread of his story. When they fail, they begin checking the clock, their phones or simply stare at the ceiling. Luke does not notice this. He enthusiastically continues his presentation. When it is finally over, everyone is happy to leave the room.
What mistakes does Luke make? How to build up presentations in such a way that a speaker feels comfortable to tell their story, while listeners can easily follow their presentation, extracting some useful information from it.
Five steps to a successful presentation
1. Arrive at the location where your presentation will take place, earlier. Make sure that you have enough time to make everything ready. It is highly irritable to you and your audience if a few minutes into a presentation you realize that something doesn’t work out; you can’t find a good plug; your file is saved in a wrong format or colors and structure of your presentation are altered. Also, leave a few minutes for yourself, just to get settled and to take in your surroundings.
2. Ideally, your presentation should not last more than 20 minutes. This is the maximum length of attention span. Decide how much time do you need for each slide and try to stick to this schedule.
3. For your presentation, choose (or create) colorful, easily readable and understandable slides, with a minimum amount of text. It will be very convenient if your presentation contains a progress chart. This will allow your listeners to see the progress of your presentation: which topics have already been covered and which ones still remain.
4. Speak clearly and distinctly, using expressive intonation. Have eye contact with your audience and avoid staring at the screen. Use the slides to complement and illustrate your speech, and not as a cheat sheet.
5. Use a bottle of water not only to quench your thirst during the presentation, but also as a means to gain some time before answering tricky questions.
And what about you? Are you among those who have to leave their ‘comfort zone’ to make a presentation? Do you ever worry that people won’t turn up to listen to your presentation? Or, maybe, you can share some other powerful tips that can come in handy for other readers of this blog?
Too stressed or overworked to spare some time for the preparation of the forthcoming presentation? We know how to help you! Please, follow this link and read more information on successful public speaking in our recent article “5 tips to improve your public speaking”.
Gross Leadership heartedly invites you to the upcoming public speaking workshop where you will dive in the world of successful speeches together with Anna Gross. You are welcome to register for the workshop following the link.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…”
(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)
We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!
With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.