Presentations - How to Get Your Point Across

In our previous post, we focused on how to design the right content for a presentation. Here, we will focus more on how to effectively deliver that presentation for maximum impact.

Practice

So now let’s assume you have crafted the perfect presentation, how do you deliver it? It is quickly apparent when someone is giving a presentation and they have not prepared. They don’t simply articulate the key points, the slide transitions are rough, and most importantly they have not thought through the basic questions that might be asked. This is especially important for those who get extra nervous presenting in front of groups. As with anything, the more you practice, the more comfortable you (and your brain) get going through the presentation. This allows you to nail your key points without much thinking (it is “muscle memory” to use a sports term). Another trick is to do a quick run with any key stakeholders beforehand. This allows you to get alignment and identify any pitfalls before the actual meeting. With preparation, you can instead focus your attention more on reading your audience and adjusting your pitch to make sure you get your points across.

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Read your audience

You can have the perfect preparation, but this is still a live event and you should be prepared to read the audience and adjust accordingly. The audience could be tuning out or disengaged. They could all be staring with quizzical looks on their face for a point that needs more explaining. Someone could be getting very angry. With enough preparation, you can focus more time on reading the verbal and non-verbal cues from your audience instead of just reciting the presentation. In most cases, a quiet audience is usually not a good thing. Engage the group and ensure you are getting the dialogue and outcome you desire.

Speak with passion

When you are speaking, you want to convey confidence and passion. Speaking too meekly, too mumbled, or with monotony can all be detrimental to your message. If you want people to believe in what you are saying, they have to first feel that you believe it. You want to create as much positive energy around your message as possible. Vary the tone of your voice, vary your position, and show that you are not a robot and truly care about what you are saying.

There are many different forms of presentations, but strong preparation, reading the audience, and delivering with passion will help you improve your presentation skills.