The aim when presenting is to create and deliver a truly compelling demonstration while developing your existing skills. It is vital to use visual aids to support the key messages and to hold the attention of your audience while projecting a professional image. With a well thought out structure you can create a truly memorable and compelling presentation.
We spoke to Graham Madden, one of our Senior Training Consultants here at Pareto. Graham delivers our core module on High Impact Presentations to both entry level and experienced delegates helping them to present confident and well-polished sales pitches to their clients. Graham shared some of his top tips with us…
1. You have to work out what the client needs to know rather than what you want to tell them
For example what are the three things they want to cover? You need to understand your audience and be sure to tailor your presentation to them.
2. Prepare out loud
When you are rehearsing your presentation always make sure you are reading out loud, never practice in your head. It’s a good idea to video yourself when you are presenting to get a better idea of what you actually look and sound like. Is this what you thought you were seeing? Is this how you want your audience to perceive you?
3. Always look the part
You want to look your best when you are doing any form of presentation. Presentation is key, as they say. You need to look professional if you want to come across as a professional. No one will take your advice seriously in a business context if you turn up looking scruffy and wearing inappropriate clothes.
4. Have three distinct themes when delivering your presentation
It’s very important to limit your topics to the maximum of three per presentation, any more than three will be harder for the audience to remember or engage with. Always remember three is the magic number, concise and precise.
5. Keep your slides simple
A picture paints a thousand words, now more than ever audiences are completely engaged in visuals. Create something exciting and visually pleasing but also simple to avoid detracting from your content. Use a picture instead of endless text and always make sure when using text, make four points maximum per slide and four words per point.
6. Always have hand-outs available
Attention to detail can go into the hand-outs, information that would sound dull and dreary when spoken, but really integral to the presentation. If the audience didn’t understand something you said, it can be clarified in detail on paper. Remember to put your name and contact details on the hand-outs.
7. Create a great opening line
By doing this, you are giving the audience a reason to listen and capturing their attention. When you open with a powerful statement, you are more likely to keep the audience’s attention for the remainder of the presentation. Remind them why they are listening, why are they here? What will they take home from this?
8. Remember less is more
Will the audience ever wish the presentation had been longer? The chances are probably not. If they do that’s an added bonus because you were so concise. It is better to be short and sweet and to the point, than to waffle for ages while the audience have lost interest. Why use a thousand words when ten will suffice?
9. Have a call to action at the end
What do you want the audience to do next? If you have thought ahead and have an idea in your head, tailor what you say to the outcome. If in doubt, do nothing. It's better ending it on a positive, than clutching at straws if you don’t even know what the straws are.
10. Use evidence
Everyone has their right to opinion and people are allowed to disagree with yours but people can’t argue with facts. Demonstrate that your idea or product has worked for other people.
If you use these top tips as your structured guide, you are sure to deliver a truly memorable and compelling presentation.