Business people spend a great deal of energy and time preparing, delivering and listening to speeches and presentations. This is not always enjoyable: presenters struggle to get complex slides and notes together and audiences fight to stay awake. However, if you follow some simple rules, giving and receiving presentations can be a happier experience for everyone.
- Use an agenda — an agenda is the ‘roadmap’ of your presentation. Whether you present it verbally or on a slide, reminding the audience where they are in a speech or presentation will hold their attention
- Tell a story — (see Telling Stories) people like stories – even grown-up business people. Give your presentation a beginning, a middle and an end to boost its effectiveness
- Know your stuff — the hardest presentations to sit through are the ones where the presenter is unsure of their material. Being sure of your subject allows you to present in the conversational, storytelling style that audiences like
- Think minimal – some say that one single idea is the most you can expect your audience to retain from a presentation. Focus on your main message and avoid presenting too many theories and concepts.
- Avoid multimedia trickery – no matter how good your laptop is, if the venue has a tired old projector and tinny speakers, your multimedia presentation won’t impress. By all means use images and props to make your point, but keep them simple and use proven technology. Transparencies are still more reliable than PCs, so you might want to take a back-up!