Knowing how to do amazing business presentations is an invaluable skill crucial to success in the business world. Making a persuasive presentation can be the difference between you landing a much-needed client or investor and going home empty-handed. The best presenters you see and admire were not always that way. They probably at some point in their career felt unsure about themselves and gave very awkward presentations. Like any facet of life, however, with the right application, they worked on their presentation skills.
If you want to improve your presentation skills, the following tips will prove useful as you plan your presentation:
Know your audience
This is the most important consideration while planning a business presentation. After all, the presentation is meant to relay ideas and information to an audience. Tailor your presentation to their experiences and preferences.
Key considerations to observe regarding your audience during the planning phase are:
1. Your relationship with them
Are they strangers, superiors, or colleagues? If they are strangers, you will have to introduce yourself, but if they are not, a greeting before diving into the content will do.
2. Knowledge level
Are they experts in this field such that they know all the terms and references you are about to use or do you have to explain your vocabulary and references to them because they are unfamiliar with the subject matter.
3. What you want from them
Your message should revolve around what your presentation wants to accomplish. People do not like to have their time wasted so your content should be relevant to them. Do you want them to fund your project? If you want to sign them up as a client, do you want to show them that your company is the best and they cannot do better?
4. Audience preferences
Different audiences prefer different things. Some can do with some humor while some will prefer a more formal tone. Some people will appreciate detailed presentations delineating all the facts without minding how long the presentation takes while others want something that cuts to the chase very quickly in as few words as possible.
If you know little about your listeners, research about them or talk to someone who knows them to give you some pointers. Ultimately, you want your audience to remain engaged and the best way to achieve that is to show them that you understand them.
Organise the Presentation systematically
Organization is the next most important aspect of the business presentation. When your content is organized in a systematic way, the audience will find it easier to follow your story and you will have an easy time guiding them through it. Some experts like to think of presentations as a journey.
It is your job to take hold of your audience’s collective hand and guide them to the expected destination. Good organization has two parts to it:
1. It pays attention to your audience
A well-organized presentation caters for the audience’s needs. As we saw in the first point, different audiences have their preferences and if you work around them, you will achieve your goals.
2. It makes the presentation easy to manage
It makes your job easier because you know where everything should be. You know where you start, end, and where you should emphasize to drive your point home. A good presentation should have an introduction, the body, and an ending. If your audience is not conversant with any technical aspects you are about to cover, you can ease them in by explaining those parts first. Your listeners will follow along with your presentation if they know what to expect. Structured presentations also allow you to know how long you are likely to take. You can use those estimations to plan your delivery so that you can use the appropriate amount of time.
Choose the best Design
When you organise your presentation, it is time to make it aesthetically pleasing. If a presentation looks dull and boring, people will get distracted from it easily. A good design also makes your presentation memorable.
The details of the demonstration matter, but the appearance is just as vital. Instead of using the same boring templates, add some variety.
Some simple alterations you can make include:
- Choosing vibrant colors and fonts.
- Adding photos and videos to enhance your message and break the monotony.
- Using visual aids. Graphs, bar charts, and pie charts make it easier to convey the statistical output.
As much as you want it to look great, there are unspoken rules of design you should observe. You cannot turn up to work on a Monday morning in shorts and a beach shirt because they look great (in reference to corporate environments where suits are the norm). Applying the same metrics to presentations, if you want to present the progress of a project to your supervisors, it should look formal. If you cannot decide what to use, these PowerPoint templates give you different formats that are appropriate for different kinds of formal presentations.
Practice the Presentation
Practice makes perfect. Once you have created your slides, present it by reading it out loud in front of an audience. Ask your friends to listen to you and help you polish it up. A mock presentation will help you.
- Time yourself.
- Identify the weak points and iron them out.
- Work on your non-verbal communication i.e. posture, where to place your hands, facial expressions etc.
- Identify potential pitfalls and learn how to navigate them.
Try to go through scenarios where things go out of the script. These scenarios include when you encounter technical difficulties, something distracts you, or the audience asks you unconventional questions. When you practice these scenarios, you will handle them like a pro in the real scenario thus boosting your confidence.
Planning for a business presentation sets you up for a successful session. With good planning, you will know how to manage people’s expectations and give them an exciting and memorable experience. Ideally, you should start planning your presentation early enough so that you have adequate time to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Once you learn how to give a kickass presentations, you will be more successful in the corporate world.