Presentation Skills for Entrepreneurs is now available at The Great Big Small Business Show.
This is one of my favorite topics, I have been giving presentations for just about 25 years and I have learned many lessons along the way. Today I want to share with you what I think are the Top 3 keys to Delivering an Effective Presentation.
Key Number 1: Focus on your audience.
The purpose of any presentation, (including this podcast) is to serve an audience. Do some research; learn all you can in as much detail as possible about the presentation attendees.
Do your best to learn and understand their expectations BEFORE hand so in your content and delivery you can come as close to possible to meeting those expectations. In some situations it may be appropriate to ask the audience what their expectations are, take the time to list them on a flip chart so you can keep them in mind as you move into your presentation. At the end, check with attendees to see what you might have missed or could add to meet expectations.
Remember; focus on the needs of your audience.
Key Number 2: Know Your Venue
Learn all you can about the location of the presentation, visit it before hand if possible. How big is the room, how many people will it hold, are there chairs, tables and where will you be presenting from in the room.
Are there light controls, is it a warm or cold room, where is the door? If you are using a projector, does it have one for you; does it have a screen or place to project an image? Will you have a podium, a microphone, room to move around?
Key Number 3: Know Your Content, Practice
I am assuming you know your subject matter but a couple of thoughts on presentation. Organize around an outline and remember the old, tell what you are going to tell em, tell em and then tell em what you told em.
A couple of thoughts if you are using Powerpoint. Do not paste a word document into a slide and then read it to the audience from the slide. In fact you should be able to do the presentation without ever looking at the screen. This takes practice, present to a friend, your family, a recorder, anything just practice. Nothing is worse in a presentation than repetitive fillers from the presenter, what I mean is um, ok, huh, alright and more. There should be no fillers, they signal lack of preparation and disrespect for your audience. Ok, I have one additional,*
Bonus Thought: Calming Your Nerves
It is natural to be nervous, not scared but excited. Here is how I overcame my nervousness over 20 years ago. I took a Dale Carnegie Sales Course my employer at the time paid for. I think this one was about 8 weeks long. In the 3rd week we were asked to do an impromptu presentation on something personal about our lives.
I chose to talk about my Dad dying when I was a teenager. I had never done so with a group before and not too many individuals either. To be honest I did cry at the end of my 5 minutes. What’s the point you say?
What I learned was, if I can get up in front of a total group of strangers and tell something intensely personal and even cry, why would I ever be afraid of presenting a business topic to anyone. There is no comparison. Every presentation after that I have enjoyed doing, I still have to prepare as I briefly outlined above but I am never afraid.