For this article I am grateful to one of my pool of guest bloggers, Christopher Lomas of Clear Comms.
In my blog site I try to share useful hints, tips and tools to help people learn how to lead and manage change well and better.
For me a key component required to become a better leader of change is “Making Great Presentations.” Whether those presentations are made orally or in writing the author should be aiming to use assertiveness, coaching and other skills in an attempt to win over and influence a captive audience.
In Chris’ article he provides succinctly some very useful hints and tips to add to your toolkit.
Many thanks Chris.
So you’ve got to make a presentation? Don’t worry! Whoever you are, whatever your presentation’s about, we’ve got six essential tips for creating perfect presentations. Even if you just follow some of these tips, they’ll help you prepare better and ensure you feel a lot calmer on the big day!
1 Three questions
Before you do anything else, ask yourself these questions:
- Why am I giving this presentation?
- Who’s it for?
- What do they want?
Maybe you’re being assessed, or being considered for a job. Find out what the criteria for assessment are. And find out who you’ll be presenting to. If it’s your peers, you can probably miss out the obvious introductory stuff and get straight to the deeper insights.
If you’re giving a presentation that isn’t being assessed, set yourself some objectives anyway. They could be as simple as giving your audience five useful tips, demonstrating how to do something, answering some common questions, or even outlining your own unique ideas.
2 Story time
A good presentation is like a story. It should take the audience on a journey and help them visualise points along the way. You set the scene, before building interest and gathering momentum towards a big finish. Here are some ways you can do that…
- Start by asking your audience some questions… then reveal the answers as you go along. That gives you (and your audience) a clear structure to follow.
- You could tell your story backwards. Start with a big unexpected statement. Then use your talk to fill in the gaps and help your audience see how you’ve come to make that statement.
- Make it personal. If you can give some examples that people will relate to, it’ll make your presentation more relevant to your audience. And a lot more memorable.
3 Keep it simple
Don’t try and pack too much in. Short, powerful presentations live longer in the memory. And they’re easier to learn!
One way to make sure you don’t overload your presentation is to slow it down. Most people rush through their presentations too quickly. So practise speaking more slowly – taking big breaths and leaving some nice long pauses.
4 Write like you say it
You don’t need to speak in a different way, just because you’re making a presentation. You don’t need to get formal.
It’s okay to use abbreviations. And it’s fine to use every-day, colloquial language, so long as you know your audience will be okay with that.
Just make sure your talk is easy to say. And that means using the same sorts of words you always use.
Presentations aren’t about showing off. So your audience doesn’t care how many big words you use. What they want is something that’s easy to follow. With preferably some combination of interesting, amusing and surprising topics.
And then edit some more!
… Get rid of everything you don’t need: long-winded introductions, jokes that only half the audience will get, all the stuff that sounds nice, but doesn’t really add anything important.
Practise reading your presentation and see how it feels when you say it.
Any words keep tripping you up? Get rid of them.
6 The most important thing of all…
The better you know your subject, the better your presentation will be… If people ask you questions, you’ll be able to answer them easily. If you lose your place in your presentation, you’ll be able to make it up as you go along.
So take the time to research and read as much as you possibly can. It’ll be worth it.
One last thing
Take pride in your presentation. If you put the effort in, it’ll show. Your audience will appreciate learning something new. And you never know, you might even enjoy giving it.
Find out more about Clear Comms at http://www.clear-comms.com/
And please do let us have your comments on this and any article. If you’d like to see a more in depth article on any of the points raised please do let us know.