We are often asked for a formula for creating the very best of presentations for senior executives. The real answer is there is no perfect formula, but you can get a long way towards a compelling presentation by taking these four tips for Better Presentation Skills. Most presentations go wrong because the presentation hasn’t been prepared properly.
The excuse usually given for not preparing is lack of time. The real reason often is more to do with the fact that presenters don’t know how to prepare. Actually if you know what you are doing you don’t need a lot of time.
Using the Aziz Methodology™ and assuming you are across your subject we can quickly get you the stage where you can prepare a 10 minute presentations in just half an hour. That has to be a good return on your time, particularly when you consider the alternative. So here are 4 Tips For Better Presentation Skills to ensure you get your presentation off to a flying start.
Know your audience
They are the starting point. On them depends the success or failure of your presentation. If you look at why some presentations fail it is usually because the speaker has failed to understand the audience and therefore failed to relate to them. We have all been in presentations which have gone over our heads because we couldn’t see the relevance to our own experience of what the speaker was saying.
Ask yourself, “What does this audience want to hear?”. All audiences arrive with a mind set. Some times that mind set is unified and sometimes it’s very disparate (this can be trickier to address). However you have to address this mind set because you cannot communicate effectively with an audience you don’t understand.
Be clear and concise
You will often have an established view of the subject matter. You may even have called the meeting yourself or been a key sponsor of it. All too often speakers think they have carte blanche to plough straight in with their message and use their message as the starting point in the preparation (if there is any preparation!). Even if you do “own” the meeting by virtue of seniority you will still have to tailor your message.
Establish a common ground
Look for the common ground or overlap between what it is you think the audience wants to hear and what it is you want say. This ought to be the starting point of your presentation. If you are not sure how to start a presentation try posing a question. Ideally that question should be something that is uppermost in the mind of the audience.
This can be a real shortcut to engaging with the audience and getting their buy-in early on. Remember that just because they have turned up and are in the same room as you, it doesn’t mean to say they will listen to you. You have to give them a reason to listen. Remember too that all audiences when they arrive to listen to your words of wisdom all exist somewhere on a continuum between pain and pleasure. Your job as presenter, wherever possible, is to move them towards pleasure.
In business there is absolutely no point whatsoever in communicating with an audience unless you can persuade them to do something in your favour that they would not have done had you not spoken to them. In other words, it is not enough simply to “get your message across.”
You have to see some favourable action as a result. With most presentations you can hope for an escalating range of outcomes depending on how well you do and how receptive your audience is. You need to quantify these outcomes (they are often to do with money and resource allocation) so you know what success looks like.
Remember that often audiences don’t take action because they are unsure of what is expected of them. Remove the uncertainty. Tell them what you want them to do. We refer to this as the call-to-action. Without it, your presentation runs the risk of falling short of success.
Putting together compelling presentations is never easy. Applying the steps outlined above will go a long way to getting you started on the right track. Good luck!