Here’s the thing:
The key to success in your presentation is not what you think it is.
It’s not designing impressive PowerPoint slides.
It’s not memorizing your script word perfect.
And it’s not organizing your cue cards.
The key factor to the success of your presentation is delivering in a manner that the audience wants to listen to you.
Your audience won’t choose to listen to you because you have nice slides. They won’t listen to you because you remember every word of your script. And they certainly won’t listen to you while you fumble through your cue cards.
The audience will listen to you if talk with them. The audience will listen to you if you speak to them in a knowledgeable, natural, and conversational manner.
The above 2 sentences summarize exactly how to give a good presentation. Let’s now examine how to do it in more detail.
1. Talk with your audience
The easiest way to turn your audience off is to lecture to them.
To avoid your presentation becoming a lecture, focus on interacting with your audience.
Tailor your presentation to your audience’s needs and ask them questions throughout.
Your interaction and focus on their needs will keep them engaged. At the end of your talk they are more likely to remember what you said and more likely take action.
2. Be knowledgeable
Nothing worse than a presenter delivering on a subject they don’t really understand.
“My boss asked me to do it,” is not a good excuse for not understanding your subject matter.
Audience’s quickly work out that you don’t have a lot of knowledge about the topic, so it’s really important to have a full understanding before you take the stage.
During the preparation phase of your presentation the bulk of your time is best spent acquiring a deep understanding of the subject matter (if you don’t have one already). That way, when the questions come, or you have to speak off the cuff, you gain the audience’s trust through your knowledge.
3. Be natural
Don’t waste your time writing out and memorizing a script.
You won’t sound natural on stage. In fact, your delivery will seem contrived and robotic.
The time you would ordinarily spend writing your script and memorizing it should be put into:
- understanding your subject (see the previous point) and;
- planning the key talking points to clearly get your message across.
4. Speak conversationally
Conversation engages. Formal speech does not.
It doesn’t matter if you are talking to your close friends or the CEO of your company; people are put to sleep by formal, wordy speeches.
Speaking in a conversational manner doesn’t mean speaking rudely, it just means speaking to be listened to. If you want an example of this conversational speech just check out any Steve Jobs presentation.
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below.