Only by reading notes, slides or clue cards will not make you deliver a good presentation. Proper rehearsal does help but there are many other aspects of delivering a presentation. However, it’s much better to rehearse the presentation the way you’ll deliver it—standing, aloud, and with the passion, pacing, and movement you’ll actually use. You may surprise yourself to see how much better you come across with each rehearsal. Practice improves performance in every field of endeavor.
A presentation is a ‘present’ you give your audience, consisting of your ideas and thoughts. Put conviction and passion into a presentation to connect with people and make your ‘present’ truly memorable.
Here are five ways to ensure a presentation becomes a real gift:
- Converse, don’t lecture: Don’t get caught in complicated content and talk at your audience. Instead, think you’re having a conversation with many individuals, rather than delivering a lecture to a crowd.
- ‘Tell and show’ — don’t ‘show and tell’: When you first show a slide and then talk about it, the slide takes the lead. Rather, follow an earlier slide by raising a logical question related to the next one. Then, show this. That way, you lead – the slide follows.
- Express over impress: Don’t stress about pitch, body language, etc. These are important details — but only details. Immerse yourself in the message, visualize what you’re saying and express yourself with conviction. That will impress an audience more than your tenor of voice!
- Create a story — not a slide deck: Don’t start making a presentation, staring at a blank laptop screen. Rather, start with a blank sheet of paper, asking yourself: Why are you presenting this? What do you want the audience to think or feel? What problems do you want to solve? Then, build your slides to create a compelling story around answers to these questions.
- Use the best ‘bait‘: Apply the word ‘You’ three times in the first five sentences of a presentation, such as: ‘Your situation’, ‘What you need’ and ‘How this presentation will help you’. This bait will ensure you ‘hook’ your listeners.