The expectation of any audience is for you to look like a Pro when making a Presentation, each and every time.
The majority of presentations are for the purpose of generating Buy-in and this can only be achieved when there is a combination of skills working together, such as a good impression, a polished stance, a good vocal quality, relevant content, an easy to follow structure and a strategic plan.
To appear professional creates a good vibe between you and the audience. The audience will only buy-in when they feel that you are the expert, they can trust you and your offering meets their needs.
To create this, you should:
1. Know your audience and occasion:
Long before you set foot on the stage, lay the groundwork for your speech. Make sure that you know why the audience has taken time out of their busy schedule to come and listen to you. What are some of the things that they expect from you, such as dress, content, style of visuals, your professionalism and expertise. What gives you the right to stand before them?
Pick something you are comfortable with. If you have to speak on an unfamiliar subject, do your homework and research it thoroughly. Know 10 times more about your topic than what you will present.
If it is a business presentation, does your product meet their needs? If not, review their needs again and try to bridge some benefits of your product to match their needs.
3. Don’t memorise:
Being familiar with your speech is a necessity, but memorising or reading from written material or your visuals is not (See no 8 below). A talk that is memorised comes out fake and unbelievable. Have pointers on your visuals to assist in prompting you.
4. Personalise your speech:
Pepper your material with small personal anecdotes or other stories that the audience can personally relate to that will hold their attention. Make it real for them. Make it sound that this talk was prepared just for them. Make it special.
5. Practice ’til you’re perfect:
Practice until you are comfortable – never in front of a mirror, as this becomes a distraction. Record and time yourself: do whatever it takes to become comfortable with what you have to present. Rehearse until it becomes second nature to you. Never try to get it word perfect as this becomes unnatural.
6. Stick to time limits:
Nothing is worse than having to stop your speech short and leaving out important information. Make allowances for occurrences such as audience interaction or technical difficulties. A true professional will never, ever exceed their time. Slightly shorter is also adequate.
7. Relax before you get on stage:
It is easier said than done, but make an attempt to relax before your speech. Breathe deeply a few times prior to standing up. Visit the venue days before your presentation and if possible have one or two rehearsals simultaneously. Be at the venue at least one hour prior to your talk to get the feel of the audience and for you to acclimatise.
8. Rely on mnemonics:
Instead of keeping your whole speech at the podium with you, make a list of points that will remind you of each subject that you plan to cover. To create a Powerful Presentation, design your slides that act as a prompt card for you.
9. Make a strong start:
A good start can always lead to a good and profitable finish. Start off by projecting your opening and maintain it throughout. Ensure that your stance is confident and in control – but never arrogant. Try and conceal your nerves as this will give you credibility. Achieve this and you’ll find that it’s easy to hold on to your audience’s attention for the rest of the presentation.
10. Watch your body language:
It’s what you don’t say that tells the most about you. The way you stand and what you do with your hands can give away more than you care to reveal. Being professionally coached creates more insight and more confidence.