The process of helping an inexperienced presenter plan, practice and deliver a presentation that an audience will actually enjoy listening to takes about six to nine months of prepping. The process involves creating a script, revising it tirelessly, using creative multimedia solutions, and fine-tuning everything until you can’t see straight. It’s important to become well versed on the art of public speaking as well. Though it seems the tactics are continuously evolving in this digital world, the fundamentals of public speaking still work well to deliver an impact on an audience.
So without further ado, here’s how to give a winning business presentation.
The Frame of Your Story
It’ difficult to give a good talk if you do not have something you are excited to talk about. The most vital part of your presentation is the conceptualization and framing of what you want to say. It is a well-known fact that humans love listening to stories, and metaphors have a strong effect on engagement. So when you think about how to go about creating a compelling presentation, think about taking your audience on a journey. Successful talks have a profound effect. So much that some people never look at their world the same afterward.
When you frame your talk as a journey, one of the biggest decisions is figuring out where the story starts and ends. Start with what your audience already knows and cares about on your subject. If you assume your audience is more knowledgeable or interested than they really are, you’ll lose them quickly. Or worse, if you use jargon or get too technical from the beginning.
Some of the world’s most engaging speakers start off with a quick introduction to the topic, explain why they care deeply about it and attempt to convince the audience members that they should too. Trying to cram everything you know in a single talk doesn’t accomplish anything, instead disintegrating your presentation into a reel of non-connected blocks. Limit the scope of your presentation to what you can explain and bring it to life with examples.
There is so much technology out there that it almost feels mandatory to use it. One of the most important things to remember about using PowerPoint is to keep it simple. Never use slides as a substitute for notes (bullet points should be on your note cards and not on the slide) and don’t repeat words out loud that are on the slide.
A piece of information is only interesting to people once, and upon hearing or seeing repetitive words throughout your presentation, they’ll quickly focus their mental power on something else. In order to avoid the “Oh no, he’s about to read to us, too!” problem, consider using a plugin that can get your point across for you, like the LiveSlides embed YouTube video in PowerPoint tool, for example. Use a video that explains a concept you want your audience to understand. When used properly, a YouTube video can dramatically boost the visual punch of your talk, enhancing its meaning.
Designers, architects and artists have the best opportunity to use videos in their PowerPoint presentations. The slides within the presentation help organize and pace your talk so you don’t revert back to overly intellectual language or jargon. After all, art can be hard to explain, so it’s better to experience it visually. Some presenters give talks accompanied by a video, speaking along to it to sustain momentum.
Another approach used by creatives that you might consider is building silence into your talks – just letting the video speak for itself. The idea behind this thinking is not to “give a talk” but to let your audience have a powerful experience around your work.
When used well, video is an excellent communication tool. However, there are common mistakes that you should avoid:
- A clip should be short to ensure that you do not lose attention spans
- Do not use corporate videos that come off like infomercials or overly self-promotional; people will automatically tune these out
- Videos with soundtracks can be distracting
- Do not show a clip of yourself being interviewed; you’ll come across to your audience as being egotistical
The most important thing to remember is there’s more than one way to give a successful business talk. The most memorable talks are those that offer the audience something fresh, something no one has seen before. If you make that talk your own and present what is distinctive about you and your idea with the best tools on the market, you can’t be beat. The next time you give business presentation, use your strengths and give a talk that is authentic to you. The audience will take notice.