Giving a presentation that resonates with your audience is about more than just assembling some PowerPoints slides and reading them one by one. In fact, I would say that, in many cases, rethinking your use of traditional visual aids is a smart move. We’ve become too reliant on software and lost sight of speaking to our audience’s wants and needs! You shouldn’t be relying on shiny charts and graphs to keep your audience engaged, but rather, aiming to minimize your use of PowerPoints slides and look people in the eye. So, without presentation aids as a crutch, how can you deliver a dynamic talk that really connects with people? Here are three pro tips to get you started:
I’ve noticed a lot of people begin their presentation by cracking open their PowerPoint or other presentation software. I believe this should be the very last step. Instead, find a planning strategy that helps you map out everything you want to say and then distill your larger plan into 10-15 slides. Create a speech plan on a whiteboard, write your main points on post-its and then arrange them until you find the right order or use a mind-mapping software. Whichever planning strategy is right for you, don’t forget to consider your audience as a part of your game plan. It’s helpful to consider your audience’s level of knowledge and which types of media will most grab their attention.
Some of the most boring presentations I’ve attended were obviously crafted based on what the speaker wanted to talk about and not what the audience most needed to hear. Think about your presentation from the audience’s side the entire way through. Your slides are less important than making sure you leave your audience with the information they need to move forward. The experience should be a conversation as well as a presentation. Make space for the audience to give you feedback or ask questions throughout, which keeps the focus on their needs instead of what is most enjoyable for you to focus on as the presenter.
I see a lot of presenters lose touch with the notion that a presentation is ultimately about communicating with and motivating the people in the room. If you’re just going to read a bunch of slides, you may as well send the slide deck in an email instead of scheduling a presentation. Rehearse your presentation to get rid of awkward transitions and figure out places where you can accept feedback or make sure the audience is still with you. Consider introducing interactive components to your presentation and make sure you give a strong intro to help your audience connect with you from the start.
Are you ready to turn your presentation skills up a notch? Learn how to manage your notes and plans with SharePoint training in Orlando, or get help with PowerPoint to make sure you’re using it in the most compelling way possible. Overall, remember that the best ways to give a great presentation have nothing to do with which software you use and everything to do with how well you are prepared to interact well with your audience and speak to their needs.