Presentation skills are one of the most sought after when it comes to recruitment and building a well-rounded team. This is because of their immense value to business pitches, procurement bids and funding applications. The value of a great presentation cannot be overstated, and so following these simple steps will enable you to build a strong, well-rounded pitch.
ASK YOURSELF: WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR AUDIENCE TO REMEMBER?
Your presentation needs to stand out against the competition, so asking yourself what you want your audience to remember from your presentation is a good way to provide focus to your planning and preparation. This ensures that you consider in advance the key insights or messages that you absolutely must convey so that they don’t get lost among your other content.
Business Insider suggests that ‘you should be able to get your presentation's thesis down to 10 words or less.’ In the same way that an elevator pitch works to explain your idea or job role in a succinct manner, adopting this approach when preparing your presentation will ensure that you leave your audience with a clear knowledge of what you were trying to say.
REHEARSE, THEN REHEARSE SOME MORE
Rehearsing your presentation is a must and you have to allow time in your preparation for several run-throughs if you’re going to succeed. While it may be tempting to prepare up to the last minute or think that, since you have given presentations numerous times before, you don’t need to rehearse, this isn’t a good approach. Rehearsing is crucial if you want to deliver the perfect pitch, so no matter how experienced you are in the field allow time to practice.
This is a strategy used religiously by Steve Jobs and since adopted by Apple executives for every presentation or product launch. According to Inc.com, ‘Steve Jobs rehearsed the entire 90-minute iPhone presentation over and over for five straight days. Interestingly, there were glitches in every practice, but they were worked out by the time of the actual event.’ For Inc.com this is key, as it allows presenters to iron out any mistakes and boost your confidence that on the day you will already have removed any potential glitches behind closed doors.
USE YOUR SPACE EFFECTIVELY
While of course the content included in your slides, handouts and the words that you say are all crucial components of a presentation, they are not in themselves sufficient to make your presentation stand out. It is important to remember that the impact of a presentation on an audience is 7% what you say, 38% the tone in which you say it and 55% how you look when you say it – meaning that 93% of communication is not words.
Entrepreneur.com contributor Shawn Doyle goes one step further by saying that the space in which you conduct your presentation should also be thought through in order to maximise your non-verbal communication. Doyle argues that ‘in many instances, I have seen the space become a barrier to the presentation being effective. Either the room was too crowded, it was set up the wrong way or the speaker was tied to the podium because that was the only place a microphone was available.’
To avoid this, scoping out the venue in advance will allow you to make the most of the space you have available. If one of your presentation rehearsals could be undertaken at the venue, this would be even better, but if not at the very least Doyle explains you should ‘arrive early the day of your presentation so that you can solve any room or space problems that exist before your presentation starts.’
Through a combination of succinct messaging, rehearsal and perfecting your non-verbal communication and use of space, you can give a winning presentation. To find out more about how think can help, follow the links below.
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