Start big! The opening of your presentation is vital – this tends to be when you have the highest levels of audience attention, so you need to grab them at the start. Think about newspapers; they use big ‘loud’ headlines to draw you in to reading more. Consider using; humour, an emotional story, an unusual fact, or a question/problem for them to think about.
Slow down… Your delivery will lose impact if you rush and the audience will find it hard to follow. Think carefully about the right pace that will work with the audience.
Don’t underestimate the pause – using pauses allows you a moment to gather your thoughts and it can be used to add some drama to your presentation. They can be helpful in getting the audience’s attention and in giving them a moment to digest what you have just said.
Adjust your tone to highlight certain elements of your presentation – it REALLY helps ENSURE certain words HIT home, which is very useful in delivering messages that you want remembered.
Use repetition – if you have an important message to get across, don’t be afraid to mention it more than once. Using a quick recap towards the end will help this to be more natural.
Examples – supporting and illustrating what you are saying will bring it to life. Ideally make these ‘human’ stories that you have experienced and the audience can relate to – there’s a saying that; ‘facts get forgotten and stories get remembered’. Each of your messages should have examples to ‘prove’ them.
You know too much – it can be easy to go off track in a longer presentation and this is why it’s so important to have a strong structure that will help you to stick to your content. Remember to only give the audience the information they actually need rather than trying to squeeze everything in.
Be yourself – if you are comfortable using humour then it’s usually ok to add that into your presentation – but don’t try and force a style you are not used to using.
Bullets points – this simple technique helps you to remember your content and allows the audience to follow what you are saying more easily. It’s normally best to use 3 or 4 bullets at a time.
Eye contact – the best way to lose an audience is to look away from them; engage with them by making contact with each person in the room (or by looking at sections of the room if it’s a large audience).
Important and interesting? Think about what the audience will want to hear and think about your most important message – try and address these early on in the presentation.
Passion – Even dry subjects can be helped by a passionate presenter – inject some emotion into the topic to keep the audience interested.
Practice – whether it’s in a training session or just using your own camera, make sure you practice, practice, practice to become familiar with the content and work out any nerves.
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.com – October 2016