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Give that Killer Presentation!

Being able to communicate effectively is a key part of business success so the ability to deliver a speech or presentation confidently is an important skill.

It’s not only important for senior management to be able to give a good presentation but for anyone who has to put a message across in any situation in the office.

What makes a good presenter?

The number one characteristic of a good presenter is confidence.

While it is said that there are two major human fears – death and public speaking – presenting doesn’t have to be something to fear.

Remember that your audience are also human and many of them are sitting there feeling that they are glad not to be you.

Thinking they are judging every word you say can be extremely off-putting, so focus instead on the fact that you have just come to deliver a message.

Before even starting to think about what you’re going to say, know who you are going to be saying it to.

In other words: know your audience. Know whether you are speaking to peers, management, clients, future employees, the press, etc. to know how to position yourself and frame your message.

What may be interesting and relevant to your peers, for example, may not be for a client audience.

If those who you are addressing get the sense that you have tailored your message to speak to them specifically, they are more likely to respond positively to what you’re saying.

Giving a killer presentation involves keeping the attention of your audience and making them engage in what you’re saying.

It is easier for them to do this if you break up your message into smaller bits which can be absorbed quickly. Condense your message to as few words as possible.

Cover the Ws (what; who; when; why) and if you are using presentation aids such as slides, ensure that only very brief extracts from your presentation appear on these.

When you put up a slide, your audience will automatically look at it to read it and stop listening to what you’re saying so avoid this by only giving highlighted points on your visuals.

The average attention span of a listener is between five and ten minutes for any single unbroken subject. A younger audience will have less tolerance than this, so plan your content according to your audience.

If you are doing a presentation on a product or service that has a link to social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, mention this.

Highlight the handles that are relevant to your presentation, even yours if you tweet in a professional capacity, so that you can continue the dialogue even after the presentation is complete.

It also gives your audience the opportunity to engage with one another, especially with platforms like twitter.

For the tech-savy, you can even include a ticker tape on a screen where tweets are reflected real-time for your audience to see.

Story-telling is an important part of successful presentations.

If your audience is able to relate to you and your company personally and form some sort of link between their lives and yours, it becomes much easier to keep their attention.

Make sure that you don’t read from cue cards too much (it is ok if you need some sort of cue though if you are not confident enough to speak off the cuff) and make a point of maintaining eye contact with people in different corners of the room.

Stories are made up on a beginning, a middle, and an end. Follow a similar structure in your presentations so that the audience is left feeling satisfied at the end with a strong conclusion.

Whether you already shine under the presentation spotlight or not, make sure that you are well prepared for any presentation you give.

By knowing your content well, you will be more confident about speaking and setting yourself up as the expert.

If you are anxious about an upcoming presentation: practice.

Time yourself in front of the mirror, do the speech for a loved one, or ask a colleague to watch you do a dry-run.

You do want your message to come across as natural and effortless but in order to accomplish this, you’ll need to practice.

Good presenting is about entertaining as well as giving out information. Most people remember more if they are enjoying themselves and feeling relaxed.

So, whatever your subject and audience, try to find ways to make the content and delivery enjoyable.

Remember that if you are in a position to give a presentation, it means you are the ‘expert’ and your team/company value what insights you have to offer.

Remind yourself of this if you start to feel anxious.


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