Most people have a phobia about making presentations at work, whether to their bosses or to internal or external clients. Here are some key tips to help them:-
1. Not Too Many Slides
Don’t use slide after slide. You don’t want the audience reading off the slides just like you are. You could easily have just sent them a paper on the subject instead. It makes you sound as if you don’t know your subject.
2. Bullet points Only
Keep the slides to a maximum of three. These should just have bullet points on them without explanation. You want to keep eye contact with the audience so you don’t want them staring at the slide when they should be looking at you.
Don’t look at the slides unless you have to. Each time you look at the slides your audience will too, and you’ll have to get their attention back again each time
3. Concentrate on Solution Rather Than Problem
Don’t spend too much time on the problem and the reason for the solution, especially if you are presenting to senior management. They know there’s a problem and that’s why they are there – to hear the solution. They are always short of time. Don’t waste a slide with a list of the problems on it. Mention the problems briefly in your preamble before you put up the first slide. The only time that you should put the problems up on a slide is if you have worked out the cost to the company of them. It would, even then, be best to leave that to your last slide along with the benefits (cost-wise) of your solution
4. Keep Moving During Presentation
Keep moving about during your presentation as it both cools your nerves and keeps the audiences attention on you and not the slides.
5. State Your Conclusion at the Start
State your conclusion right at the start, so that people know what you are about right from the outset. Don’t keep them in suspense working towards your conclusion. State what you believe right from the beginning and re-enforce it time and again during your presentation
6. Avoid Reading from Notes
Don’t read from notes during the presentation. Again it makes you sound as if you don’t know your subject
7. Know Your Audience
Find out something about your audience beforehand so that you can relate examples to their personal experiences. Every time that you do that you are taking one more step to get buy-in from another member of your audience
8. Keep Message Simple
Do not just stand in one spot spouting a plethora of information. The audience can’t handle it all.
It is best to have one simple message and to just mention the most important of the winning arguments, rather than all of them.
The more arguments you add, the more chance you have of someone taking one of them apart. If they do that it looks very bad for your whole argument
9. Only One Possible Path
Make your message heartfelt. Make the audience believe that you believe that there is only one possible path to take.
10. Use Financial Information to Reinforce Your Case
Use financial information as much as possible to reinforce your case, showing the money benefits to the company if they take your suggested route and the costs to them if they continue in their present path.
So, use it as your last slide when making presentations. It’s your clincher.
However, make sure that your costings and benefits are researched and based on hard facts rather than just being off the top of your head. This is the area where you can have most impact, or where you can be totally taken apart
Lastly, make sure you smile at your audience as soon as you introduce yourself. It will put both yourself and your audience more at ease. You’ll find that they reciprocate and you are off to a good start.
Making Presentations is a skill. Learn that skill.