​5 ways to improve your presentations

How not to bore and confuse people or cause death by PowerPoint.

Avoid wordy slides too!

Avoid wordy slides too!

To help your business reach the heights it deserves, it’s important to get your presentation technique spot on. Impressive stats and facts won’t sell themselves, so you need to invest the time in making them stand out.

Whether you’re hosting internal presentations, quarterly reviews, client meetings, interviews or pitches, preparation is the key to success.

Here are five tips that will help you create a presentation that is memorable and engaging. Let’s get started.

1.Identify Your Strengths

Firstly, identify what your strengths are and then incorporate them into your presentation technique. This way you will feel comfortable delivering your talk and your message will reach your audience. However, it’s perfectly natural to stumble and get ahead of yourself when you’re speaking publicly, so if that happens you will have your strengths to fall back on.

It’s also equally important to have the best equipment at your disposal to showcase your expertise. Don’t let old or laggy tech make your hard work go to waste.

Another tip is to think about your presentation from your audience’s point of view. Will your talk connect with them? If applicable, an incredibly powerful method to utilise during talks is audience participation. This could be in the form of a quiz with prizes to battle for or asking people for their thoughts on a subject. It only takes one person getting involved to spur others on.

2.Outline Your Goals

It’s important not to get ahead of yourself when planning your presentation. For a truly great talk you need to invest time in creating a structure and outlining what you want to achieve by the end of the session. Decide what you want your audience to learn from the presentation. Clarifying your goals adds structure to the session and helps you use the time wisely.

An agenda is really effective for keeping your session on track. It’s also good for your audience to see what they are going to get out of the training. Remember: each member of your audience will have a different level of expertise, and you need to make sure that your presentation will engage with everyone. This means avoiding the risk of excluding anyone by creating an environment where people will feel comfortable to chip in.

3.Use Concise Language

Once you have compiled the data that you want to include in your presentation, the next step is to segment it into short bursts of information to engage your audience. Lengthy and extremely wordy slides are just going to turn people off.

A great way to keep your audience is to use concise language to explain complex information. For example, you could dedicate each slide to a concept. That way you’re discussing only one topic at a time and giving it the attention it requires. This method will make more of an impact with your audience than if whole reams of data are bundled together. At the end of the day it’s all about quality over quantity.

4.Back Up Your Data

So you’ve got your presentation prepared, the slides are ready to go and your speech is perfected. You haven’t missed anything, have you? Hold fire. The data that you’ve put together needs to be supported by industry stats and facts. Not only will this help to bolster your presentation but it will also make it more memorable.

Rather than having five slides discussing last quarter’s profits, you can always condense the information down into handy, digestible chunks. So instead of your numerous slides you could have one that lists all the top-level stats in percentages or monetary amounts. This will engage your audience more than the written word and will grab their attention.

For example:

Sentence – Last quarter was our most successful one to date, with revenue increasing by 40%...

Statistic (in visual form) – Revenue increased by 40% last quarter. That’s our best to date.

5.Inject Some Personality

How many presentations have you been to that you could honestly say were memorable? Not that many, we’re guessing. It’s so easy to get blindsided and just focus on the end goal. Impressive statistics are all well and good, but without engaging content to support them, they’re going to fall on deaf ears.

So how can you mix it up? Simple: just be yourself. Imagine that you’re discussing your subject with a friend. Avoid being too corporate and rigid. The best thing that you can do is just be yourself. Injecting some personality into your presentations can make all the difference in the world.

Humour and gamification is an extremely effective icebreaker and a great way to boost engagement. Encourage your audience to come out of their comfort zones and you will soon see others follow suit.

We hope these five top tips will help your in-house presentations reach their full potential and make your sessions a roaring success.

Neil Levin is General Manager at Hire Intelligence

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Neil Levin

PC World
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