- Practice makes perfect so rehearsing on your own, in front of a mirror, or even to willing friends / family will help eventually give you a relaxed and professional delivery.
- Depending on the importance meeting you should spend anything up to 15 minutes preparation per minute of actual presentation, possibly longer.
- Learn your presentation so that you can concentrate on your audience rather than reading your notes.
- You should feel confident and satisfied about what you have prepared. If you are thinking “well, that’ll do” it probably won’t.
There are three basic steps to the structure of a presentation:
• Tell them what you are going to tell them (outline the presentation).
• Tell them (deliver the presentation).
• Tell them what you told them (summarise the key points delivered).
The best way to start is write a brief, rough outline of the presentation always keeping in mind what the client wants to know. You can then start to add ‘meat’ to this section by section.
Make sure that you are clear why you are making each point – do they follow a structured path leading to your objective? Try to target each point to the client and the presentation’s overall purpose making them not only relevant and succinct, but also demonstrating your knowledge of the client’s business.
Visual aids are good since they:
• help the audience focus on what you are saying.
• make the presentation more interesting.
• help to explain the points you make more clearly.
Make sure that your visual aids add to your presentation and that you can use them properly – e.g. know how PowerPoint works before the presentation.
- Ask yourself if the point you are making is relevant to both the audience and the presentation itself.
- Ideally use only three or four bullet points per slide.
- Keep the points short using key words – you can then expand on each one in turn.
- Do not simply read out what’s on the visual!
If you have handouts then leave them until the end – they will only distract people during the presentation. Also try to field questions at the end of the presentation unless they are vitally important to the client’s understanding otherwise it may break your and their train of thought.
You may have an excellent presentation lined up but if you don’t deliver it in the right manner you may as well not be there.
- Relax and be natural – but not casual.
- Be aware of your body language – be open.
- Be enthusiastic – it can be infectious!
- Smile in a genuine and friendly manner.
- Be positive!
- Use eye contact as much as possible.
- Remember their name, use it and get it right!
- Be courteous and cheerful even if they are not.
- Put yourself in the client’s shoes at all times.
- Speak up and speak clearly to your audience – set your volume to the person furthest away from you.
- Don’t go too fast since you will always tend to speak faster than normal!
- Don’t forget to thank them for their time.