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Simple Keys to Making a Great Presentation (Part 1)

SOFT SKILLS MATTER)

Just the thought of public speaking makes most people quake in their boots. In fact, it has been said that most people are actually deathly afraid of public speaking. However, if you have a business, one of the best ways to promote your products or services is by describing them in a well-constructed, interesting and engaging presentation.

In this article, I am going to offer you tips on a number of different aspects of public speaking, which will help you to create and deliver great presentations.

The first section is on how you present, the next section offers some useful tools to consider in the development of your presentation, and finally, the last section provides some structures for building your session. I hope that all of these suggestions will help you to become a sought after speaker as well as one who enjoys speaking to an audience.

Section I

So, here are 8 simple keys that can ensure a successful presentation and if you employ them you will not only be a “star” but might also begin to enjoy making presentations.

  1. Know what you want to say: focus on the main concepts you wish to impart and develop them clearly.
  2. Believe in what you are saying: if you do not believe in what you are saying to your audience, you will not be convincing and cause your audience to become disengaged from you.
  3. Be convincing: choose language, stories, and examples that will resonate with your audience.
  4. Be compelling: to do this, vary your pace, the format of your presentation, and your voice volume so that you can retain the attention of your listeners. It is also helpful to move around a bit, rather than standing behind a podium….it makes you more interesting.
  5. Provide valuable, usable, & up to date information: if you are sharing beneficial concepts and ideas, your audience will be appreciative of your expertise and depth of knowledge.
  6. Be yourself: a natural, comfortable speaking style will make your audience relaxed, and create an atmosphere more conducive to retentive learning.
  7. Keep your eyes on your audience: make direct eye contact with as many participants as you can, so that the individuals will feel you are speaking directly to them….you will be more likely to retain their attention using this technique.
  8. Practice, Practice, Practice!! The best presenters practice the most…the more familiar you are with your material, the more confident you will feel when presenting, and the more convincing and engaging you will be as a speaker.[/message][su_spacer]

Public speaking can actually be fun, but without proper preparation it is very difficult to be effective.

Hone your personal style, wear a smile, and just “fake it ‘til you make it!”

Section II

Now let’s look at how to engage and maintain the interest of your audience while presenting to them. Here are 9 more keys to consider:

  1. Start with a Bang
In other words, open with a powerful question, interesting fact, or a story which captures your audience’s attention immediately. If you don’t grab your audience’s attention within the first 30 seconds, they will tune out of your presentation, and you will be “chasing” them for your entire presentation. In addition, I usually caution people NOT to memorize your talk, as you will be nervous when you begin, it is normal and natural, however, if you are relying on your memory, that is when you will lose your trend of thought and continue to fumble from there….this will not engage your audience, in fact it will make them as uncomfortable as you are appearing them.
  1. Don’t Lip Sync Your Presentation
Don’t lip sync your presentation, better to know your material inside out, upside down and in your sleep. This goes back to the first point in section I, “know what you want to say”. Don’t read word-for-word from your PowerPoint slides because your audience can read the slide faster than you can speak it and so will finish before you and disengage.  Besides, if you’re saying exactly what is on your PowerPoint, then one of you is not needed. The slides serve two purposes, one, they reinforce the key points you are making to your audience. Two, they remind you of the key points you wish to develop for your audience. Your entire script should NOT be on your slides.
  1. Provide a Clear Next Step
Clearly articulate what you want your audience to think, do, or feel differently as a result of listening to your presentation. Offer your audience a clear next step or challenge they should take after listening to your talk.
  1. Sell the Benefits
Delineate the benefits that the audience members will receive as a result of employing your recommended course of action. Always emphasize the benefits with examples that resonate with them so that they will understand why they should do as you suggest. Adults learn when they see a need, so provide one for them that makes sense.
  1. Make Yourself Seem Human
You don’t want to come off as a “perfect” person, so don’t flaunt your achievements or brilliant business acumen. Instead, share your failures, flaws, and struggles to show how you overcame them, learned from them and went on to finally achieve success. By sharing your relevant failures and flaws as well as the process you used to achieve success, you will gain your audience’s support because you were honest and authentic, and they will be able to relate to you.
  1. Anchor Your Points
Tie your points to an anchor. An anchor is anything that helps your message stick. There are 4 types of anchors:
  • Anecdotes
  • Acronyms
  • Activities
  • Analogies
Every time you make a point, provide a relevant example via a story, an acronym, or an interactive exercise that allows them to try it out in a meaningful way or an analogy that is relevant to their industry or situation.
  1. Use Visuals to Get Your Concepts Across
Not only is it important to use language that your audience understands, but to enhance and reinforce your message, relevant images will be more likely to be remembered than just words.
  1. Don’t Squeeze Your Information In
Don’t cram too much information in a short period of time. Instead, focus on elaborating your points and making each one memorable. In general, “less is more” so decide ahead of time which key issues you wish your audience to walk away with and be sure to present them in a meaningful format and repeat them at least 3 times during the presentation.
  1. Involve Your Audience in Your Speech
Few people can listen attentively to anyone for a long period of time, even if they are very entertaining. In addition, you can only retain about 20% of what you hear, and actually forget about half of that in about 2 weeks. However, you will remember up to 90% of what you say and do. So, instead, involve your audience in your presentation by employing activities and questions.

If you can introduce those 9 tips into the development of your presentation and then carry them out while presenting, you are more likely to maintain engagement and create an environment more conducive to retentive learning.

Coming in Part 2: Simple Structures for your Presentation

Sandy Chernoffhttp://softskillsforsuccess.com/
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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