“Just imagine the audience naked” only gets you so far when it comes to giving a presentation. Even if this age-old advice is meant to calm your nerves, it isn’t exactly going to help you excel. It may even trigger the giggles if you get up to the stage or podium and think about this. Rather than relying on impractical guidance, you need tangible tips to help you with the materials and your delivery.
But before you can think about improvement, you need to know your starting point. Go back to your last presentation. How did it go? Did you feel well prepared or were you anxious because you knew you didn’t know the subject matter well enough? What could go better next time? Asking yourself these few general questions will assist you with your upcoming speech.
Whether you dread giving presentations or live for them, there are ways to improve your materials and delivery method. So if amplifying your presentations is a goal for you in 2024, go no further. Below are a few pointers to help set yourself up for success.
Add Exciting Visuals
Raise your hand if you’ve seen a presentation with too many words on the slides. Audiences see all that text and quickly become bored or stop paying attention to you because they’re too busy reading. Adding exciting visuals can help break up your presentation and provide some variety, too. Visuals can be images you get from stock photography sites or ones you’ve taken yourself. Adding screenshots of key elements can also help paint the picture you’re trying to convey.
However, in many cases, a screenshot just won’t cut it. If you’re looking to show a client’s ads on a page, for instance, you may not be able to capture them all in one shot. This is where using a screen recorder can be handy. This tool allows you to highlight an entire piece of content in a clean, efficient way. But it can do so much more too, including demonstrating processes, accessing software, or showcasing product tutorials.
When adding visuals, whether still images or video recordings, make sure you’re using as high of a resolution as possible. A blurry image or video can leave a poor impression. It may show that you’re not attentive to detail or too lazy to find another image. Also, make sure the placement of the image or recording makes sense. Visuals should help move your presentation forward, not add further confusion.
Include a Compelling Story
Stories are memorable. They engage the audience from the start, bringing them into your sphere. Because they want to hear more, they are attuned to what you are saying and are less likely to multitask or become distracted. When it makes sense, telling a story during your presentation can be an intriguing way to really make an impact.
Some people may benefit from writing out an outline or storyboard before starting on the PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. Others need to start creating slides before the full story comes to mind. No matter which direction you choose, a story may unfold from these stages. Think about why this presentation matters and perhaps how it relates to your own life. Opening with a quick anecdote about your own life is a vulnerable way to connect with the audience.
When choosing an appropriate story, think about your audience. Presenting to a client is much different than presenting to your fellow colleagues. Also, keep the story short and to the point. You don’t want to go on and on if there is no reason to. Hooking the audience with a laughable tidbit or relevant stat can also be a good starting point. Practice your story a few times aloud before giving your presentation to ensure that your message is coming across clearly.
Engage Your Audience Through Your Delivery
Attention spans are short. Individuals today are used to scrolling past something when it doesn’t engage them within the first eight seconds. Giving an online or in-person presentation is no different. Capturing your audience’s attention within the first few seconds is critical to them retaining and remembering your presentation.
Your delivery is the key to engaging your audience. If you’re nervous, the audience will focus more on your behavior. If you stumble over your words, attendees will be thinking about what you’re trying to say. And if you appear tired, unmotivated, or dull, your audience is definitely going to tune out.
Even if your topic is somewhat boring — like how to access a new software tool — show interest. Think of why this matters to your audience and let them know upfront why they need to care and pay attention. Will this tip save them time and make them more efficient? Or will leveraging this tool enable them to increase their sales? Let them know! Be confident, look your attendees in the eye, and speak loud and clear to deliver your message.
Each presentation you give is a learning opportunity. And every time you have to give a presentation, you’ll become more confident in the material and your delivery. Because even if the topic changes, how you approach each presentation will improve. You’ll begin to recognize what works for your unique presentation style.
For an extra dose of inspiration, look on YouTube for some of your favorite notable authors, motivational speakers, or podcasters. Those who find themselves in the public eye are generally comfortable with public speaking. You may pick up some tips, like the ones mentioned above, and be able to incorporate them into your presentation materials and overall pitch.
Source: Cosmo Politian