Some people are just born with stage presence and excellent public speaking skills. And others, well, aren’t naturally born with it. If you consider yourself one of the latter, chances are you find it difficult to give a presentation in front of many people. But these days, presentations are a staple in the business world.
When you’re a business owner, you will have to deliver a presentation in front of an audience or prospective investors at some point. Even if you are not a naturally gifted speaker, there’s no need to panic. Here are our top five tips to deliver winning presentations.
1. Know your audience well
Our first tip sounds very basic, but it is crucial to know who you’re presenting your materials to. If your audience comprises of beginners, then it goes without saying that you shouldn’t prepare advanced-level materials. If you happen to know the names of people in your audience, do some quick research on LinkedIn or Facebook. You’ll gain some insight into their backgrounds and interests. Then you can create a more personalized presentation based on your findings.
2. Be a storyteller
What is the purpose of your presentation? Sometimes presentations are given simply to share knowledge and experiences. However, it’s more likely you want your audience to take action. But they won’t do what you want them to do just because you tell them to do so. Nor are spreadsheets of data enough to compel an audience. Connect with your audience emotionally to inspire them and change their behaviour. Telling captivating stories moves an audience more than any other speech technique. Take note that the more personal and authentic your stories are, the more powerful the reaction you’ll receive.
3. Involve the audience
No matter how compelling your presentation is, there will always be an audience member or two who will be bored. Attract their attention! Try to encourage audience participation in every presentation you give. Asking them questions is a tried and true trick. Consider asking for a few volunteers for a demonstration or to emphasize your point. Have group activities to break up the monotony.
4. Own the space
It’s important to know what kind of space you’ll be presenting in beforehand. If you’re going to present on a large stage, you need to move around with a sense of direction and purpose as you speak. Try moving deliberately to a specific spot in the room, making a point or two to the people seated there, and then heading toward a new spot to emphasize another point.
5. Q&A session etiquette
Towards the end of your presentation, there’s usually a Q&A session. If someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, tell the truth. It’s okay, you’re not Google. Sometimes there’s an audience member who wants to dominate the Q&A session. Ask them to continue their questions and observations at the end so other people will get a chance to ask their own questions. Be polite, but be firm.
Now that you know how to deliver a winning presentation, it’s time to brainstorm and write down your materials! Remember: you want to convince your audience of your arguments. Make sure your arguments make sense, back them up with data, and touch your audience emotionally. Good luck!