Giving a presentation may seem like a daunting task, especially during a time in which Zoom is the primary form of communication. However, presentations are an essential way to share information with businesses. Ensuring you have a clear and effective presentation prepared will be sure to reap great rewards.
Still skeptical about the importance of presentations? Well, what if I told you that famous entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates use presentations all the time? In fact, Steve Jobs’s legendary presentations have created never-ending lines in front of Apple stores worldwide. Likewise, mastering the art of presentations will bring success to your company.
We’re all familiar (or at least I know I am) with the sweaty palms and cracking voice that accompany public speaking. If your heart is pounding with anxiety right now, have no fear! 90% of the anxiety people feel prior towards presenting is attributed towards a lack of preparation. That’s why we’ve gathered four essential tips to help you convey the information you are presenting in an engaging way.
Tell your story
Storytelling is a powerful way to connect your audience with the information you are sharing. Rather than forcing down various statistics or academic points, stories help create an emotional connection. Stories are not limited to the romance or science fiction novels you used to read as a child. Presentations allow you to tell the story of your product.
As mentioned before, Steve Jobs is a legend in the “presentation-arena.” Through his presentations, Jobs tells the journey of electronic products leading to his famous product – the iPhone.
All stories have villains and heroes. Successful tales weave in captivating conflicts between these characters. Similarly, telling the story of a product involves a villain and hero. Problems, such as a lack of productivity or high costs, embody the villain. Similarly, the hero represents the benefits your product brings.
There is also the approach of a more personal story, in which you present your background. You could tell your audience why your business was founded, the journey you’ve taken to be where you are now, or why you believe in your product. The possibilities in storytelling are endless!
Remember to keep your story succinct but without losing its emotive qualities. The point of these stories is to draw your audience in so that they will start off the presentation readily engaged.
Plan your delivery
Planning how you will deliver your presentation is essential way to improve your presentation. There are three main ways to prepare your delivery: reading off a written transcript, referring to a set of bullet points, or memorizing your speech.
Reading off a written transcript may seem to be the most painless option, but it may prove to be the least effective. It will be obvious that you are reading straight from a script, which can weaken your connection with the audience.
Bullet points are effective if you know what to say for each one. It’s important to remember transition phrases from one bullet point to the next. This option may prove to be the most effective in the long-run.
Memorizing your speech will require you to rehearse it many times, which may not be an efficient use of your time. Additionally, memorizing every word may make it seem too rehearsed. However, practicing the speech more will allow you to add authenticity to your words once they become second-nature.
Develop your stage presence
Your stage presence determines how the audience perceives you, which affects the success of your message. If you have the speech rehearsed but you appear nervous or unconfident, then your presentation will not be compelling. Being aware of your body and facial expressions is one way to communicate effectively, which you can read about on our blog here.
For example, many presenters tend to shift their bodies from side to side, which may distract the audience. Practicing keeping your lower body motionless can dramatically improve your presentation’s effectiveness.
Since COVID-19 prevents large gatherings from happening, many presentations are now occurring online. However, stage presence is still an essential component of a successful presentation. On online platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom, more attention is placed on the speaker’s face. Therefore, making sure to pay attention towards the way you speak and look will have a great impact on your presentation.
Engage your audience with multimedia
Since it is hard to physically engage people on online platforms, there is a greater need for visual aids. The rule of thumb for presentation slides is to keep them minimalistic.
Reciting slides will feel repetitive and may prevent the audience from retaining the information. Instead, keep the text on slides to a minimum – after all, less is more!
You don’t always need slides for a successful presentation, but since a majority of presentations now will be held on Zoom, having a visual to back you up may be more effective. Use photographs and illustrations that will bring your story to life. Maybe add some funny memes or a comedic illustration that will engage your audience.
Or, even take advantage of the chat or poll functions on Zoom and have your audience answer some questions! Establishing some sort of rapport between you and the audience is a great way to shuffle them through an effective presentation.
If you decide to incorporate videos in your presentation, make sure they’re short! If a clip is longer than a minute, then your audience may zone out. Also, do not incorporate a video of yourself talking in an interview because your audience is already watching you.
Putting it all together
Once you accomplish these four tips, you will be sure have an engaging, compelling, and effective presentation for your audience. Make sure you tell your product or company’s story, plan your delivery in advance, pay attention to your facial and body expressions, and utilize multimedia.
Now your business can present their mission and goals in an engaging way. Push your fears of public speaking aside, and go conquer that next presentation!