There are so many evangelists and “gurus” preaching the benefits of great presentation skills. Well sorry, we’re not one of them. Take a trip to YouTube for some great material. One of our favorites is Jason Teteak. Take a look at his videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEDcc0aCjaA ) or his website – www.ruletheroom.com.
Hats off to Jason, but there are also many others who can give you the skills and confidence to give a great presentation.
However, the reality is that 99% of us live in the real world. We all have a day job, and work hard coping with many stresses and strains – and then suddenly have to be demi-god presenters! If you are like us and don’t want to be a demon presenter, just pretty awesome, then read on…
Confidence is everything. No, we don’t mean you need to have an ego the size of a planet. However, if you don’t prepare, you don’t practice, you don’t check your slides time and time again, you don’t ensure you’ve tried to think of every likely question that may come up, and so on, you will not be confident that you will be able to give a good showing of yourself.
Some folks think you just need the “gift-of-the-gab” or that giving a stand-up comic routine will do the trick. None of that works. That’s the fastest way to make your audience turn off. Yes, humor, correctly placed can be a great way to enable your audience to relax. However, your audience is attending your presentation because they want to hear why “you” and not the competition. Whether it’s an internal pitch for funding for your project, or a presentation to a major client to close a multi-million dollar deal, the rules are the same. Prepare well and practice, time and time again.
Did you know, that one of our greatest techie gurus, Steve Jobs, would practice his presentation with the Apple team for days prior to a product launch? He knew exactly what and how he would present, he anticipated responses from his audience, and ALWAYS had a surprise up his sleeve towards the end of his presentation to keep the suspense and expectation high. He held his audience in the palm of his hands.
Now we can’t all be Steve Jobs, but we can all make him proud by following some simple but cardinal rules:
- Prepare your content well. Keep it succinct. “Fluff” or gimmicks will only confuse.
- Your opening remarks or slide must clearly tell the audience who you are, what you do, what the objective of the meeting is and what is the expected outcome. Example… “Hi, my name is James Silver. I’m the Product Specialist for World Cloud Services Ltd, and I help our clients build highly successful commercial websites. I am here today to explain how we do this, understand the challenges you face, and how we can help you.”
- Your last slide should be the same as your first slide and be a summary of the presentation. Tell people exactly what they will hear and at the end tell them what they have heard. Iteration is the key to implanting your message.
- At the end of each slide, image, document or video, talk to the audience. Yes, engage them! It could be as simple as getting confirmation that your point is relevant to them, or they have understood.
- Keep every slide to a maximum of 3 bullet points, and less than 50 words of text. What happens if you don’t? Your audience spends more time reading your slide than listening to you! Our preference is to have a heading and a relevant image. You then talk naturally WITHOUT looking at the screen. You want your audience to listen to and engage with you, not read your slide. This is exactly why you need to prepare well and practice – know exactly what you are going to say. However, the power of Tarraaa! will allow you to seamlessly move between presentation, image, document, video – anything you need to make a point or answer a question. So why not break up with PowerPoint into 2-5 slides for each presentation section. Much more manageable. Ever tried to remember where you are in a 60-slide presentation?
- Give highly relevant USPs (Unique Selling Points). Just enough to differentiate yourself clearly from the competition (don’t burn all your powder at once – keep some in reserve). Examples… “This project will deliver a five fold ROI for our company in less than 6 months, twice that of any other project under consideration”, “Our global production capacity enables us to deliver your orders to any of your locations, world-wide within 24 hours”.
- Save a surprise until last. It might be a taster of a new product to come, a discount available to your key clients this month, a highly relevant but surprising fact that supports your case. Anything that will have your audience wanting to know more.
- Finally, finish by summarizing all the key points of your presentation, and most importantly, obtain a clear decision as to the next steps. Are they ready to order, need more information, need another visit to meet other decision makers? Always leave with a clear understanding by all parties as to what happens next.
Oh, and by the way, make sure you’ve loaded all your files into your Tarraaa! folder the day before your big presentation, and practice, practice, practice!