Making a business presentation can be nerve-wracking. Fear of speaking in public, not knowing how to engage with your audience and an anxiety of being judged by your listeners can impact on your ability to present.
The key is to ensure you deliver a clear, concise and confident presentation.
step 1 – preparation is key This is your chance to be seen and heard by your peers and managers, so take the time to think through your presentation and what it is you want to achieve.
Visualise yourself as you want to be perceived and determine what you have to do to create that impression.
You cannot ignore the importance of personal presentation and appearance if you want to create an impact on entering the room.
Dressing formally and taking care with how you present yourself will mean that you feel more confident when you’re communicating with your listeners.
step 2 – remember your audience And consider them carefully.
Asses what will be their main needs and concerns and address those points.
Are they primarily big picture thinkers or do they want lots of detail? By knowing what kind of information your audience responds to, you can structure your presentation in a way that resonates for your listener.
step 3 – remember first impressions are vital When you enter the room, hold your head up, keeping your chin parallel to the ground. Let your eyes engage and sparkle with the audience. Let yourself smile and relax your shoulders. Breathe from your abdomen and ground yourself so that you’re ready to give your presentation.
Stand tall, a person who stands with their feet placed firmly beneath them has authority and respect.
An upright body with weight evenly distributed between the feet will show you have confidence.
People are more likely to listen when your body’s in this position, looking ready and raring to go. You appear comfortable in your space and committed, and your body reflects your energy.
But beware of becoming rigid and stiff.
step 4 – break things down Break your presentation into four parts: introduction, main body, summary and action steps. With your introduction, capture the listener’s attention right from the start.
Tell your audience the benefits of your presentation, establish your credibility, and lay out the direction your talk will take.
By following that formula, your audience will already feel confident that you know what you’re doing and will pay attention to what you say.
Use gestures to help your audience remember the points you are making. Gesturing can add emphasis to your voice, clarify your meaning and give impact.
In addition to reinforcing your message, hand signals reflect your desire for your message to be taken seriously.
The higher up the corporate ladder, the fewer gestures a person uses, but the gestures they do use will have meaning and be carefully placed to get relevant points across.
step 5 – end on a high When you reach the end of your presentation, summarise the main points you want your audience to remember and finish with a call to action – what do you want your listeners to do as a result? What will you do? By ending the presentation in a proactive way, your audience will leave feeling inspired and ready to put plans into action.
by Elizabeth Kuhnke