Even if you have the most groundbreaking idea in the world, if you can’t present it convincingly, it won’t matter. The business presentation in the business world is a major part of getting things done. You can have all the right information and skills that it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, but if you don’t present your ideas well, you will find yourself struggling.
Giving a presentation is an essential skill for any business owner. Whether you’re pitching to potential investors or addressing your team, a strong presentation can make all the difference. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “I’m not a public speaker. I could never do that.” But trust me, with these tips, you’ll be able to knock your presentation out of the park and make a great impression on your clients or boss. So grab a pen and paper and get ready to take some notes!
Be well prepared
Although this should be common sense, you would be surprised to find how many presentations are done by winging it. It might seem like a simple and quick way out, but you’ll be amazed at the outcome if you actually take the time (and effort) to prepare before your pitch.
Not only should you research the topic, but make sure you know your audience too. Read up on what they want and how they think. You can even ask a couple of your team members to see what their concerns are about the topic. Once you’ve gathered all this information, it’s time to create a plan of action.
Also, don’t be afraid to go over the material before the presentation starts. Take some time before you speak to review everything in detail and then ask yourself: what points should I stress? What information needs more explanation? Are there any important things that I’ve missed? The more effort you place into preparation, the better your talk will be.
There is nothing more boring than a disorganized presentation. Before you even start your talk, have everything planned out. I know this may sound impossible for some of the more complicated topics, but every little bit helps. It’s like writing an essay – you need to get all your thoughts down on paper before you start putting them into order and making sense out of it all.
If some parts of your topic are too complex, consider breaking it down into smaller bits and tackle one part at a time. This makes content a lot easier to digest. It means that there won’t be any gaps in what you’re saying or information missing from the equation, which could confuse some people.
In addition, make sure that each slide presents clear and concise information. Don’t overload them with too much text or images – this will just bore your audience and distract from what you’re trying to say.
Be mindful of your body language
When you are speaking, don’t look at your notes or the screen with the presentation on it. If you do this, then it is quite likely that you’ll end up reading out loud what’s written down and, in turn, bore your audience even more. Instead, look straight ahead when talking to avoid this.
Don’t pace around too much when you’re talking either – it will make you seem nervous and fidgety, which can be distracting for both you and your audience. This is especially important if you’re using a microphone because it can interfere with what you’re saying and how loud or quiet your voice comes out. If you need to, don’t be afraid to stop and take a breath before continuing so that you don’t run out of breath mid-sentence and sound like you’ve just run a marathon.
If any points are worth emphasizing, use some sort of hand gesture to help illustrate what you are saying. For example, if someone asks a question towards the start of your talk and they receive an answer, then, later on, high-five yourself to link those two points together. This will help your audience see the connection and give them a break from listening to you speak.
If you find yourself feeling nervous about presenting in front of people, certain things may help keep the butterflies away:
1) Remember that everyone feels nervous when they give presentations – the only difference between the pros and the amateurs is that the professionals know how to handle it
2) Visualize success by picturing yourself doing an excellent presentation. Think about how you’d be entertaining, informative, and confident. Seeing yourself pulling it all together will not only give you self-confidence but also help to calm those nerves
3) Take a deep breath before you start your presentation, as this calms the mind and releases tension from the body
4) If you feel like your voice is shaking when speaking, speak at a slower pace. This will make you look confident and in control of what you’re saying
5) If all else fails, drink some water and compose yourself. Even if you don’t feel like it, at least pretend to look calm and in control.
Make it interesting
Use visuals, anecdotes, and humor where appropriate. One of the bold mistakes people make with presentations is being too professional and formal. Just because you’re pitching a business idea doesn’t mean that it has to be dry and boring. Visual aids such as videos, pictures, charts, and graphs. It can help explain what you’re saying but don’t just show visuals for visual’s sake – tie them in with your content.
Try to create and edit videos of the topics that you are presenting on. This will make it more interesting and engaging. People learn better when visually seeing what you’re talking about instead of just listening to your explanation.
Don’t be afraid to use a few jokes or anecdotes to enliven what you’re saying. For example, suppose you’re talking about the problems that plague your industry. In that case, one humorous anecdote could break up all that negativity. It can also provide an overall better impression of yourself and your company.
Another benefit of injecting some personality into your talk is that it will help keep people’s attention. It will also allow you to connect with them on a more personal level. After all, who can resist someone who makes light (or serious) fun out of something they are talking about?
There are countless examples of failed presentations where speakers are dry, monotone, and very boring. It’s all too easy to lose your audience when you’re up there talking about a topic that they aren’t interested in. The more interesting you make your presentation, the more likely it is that everyone will be engaged and fascinated by what you have to say
But if visual aids aren’t really doing anything for you, take them out of the picture. Sometimes less is more – so if your presentation doesn’t need it, don’t have it. The same goes for humor.
Stay positive and upbeat throughout the presentation
It’s easy to get nervous when you’re speaking in front of people, and therefore your mind may end up thinking the worst. So, if you already think that your presentation is going to be a disaster, then there’s no chance that it will be successful.
Also, try not to apologize for anything that isn’t really your fault – it can seem like you’re trying to blame someone else or even asking for sympathy. This will only make things worse. Blame has no place in business presentations, so don’t say sorry – instead, correct the problem and move on.
If you feel like things are out of control, take a moment to refocus by reading through the key points again calmly.
Be prepared for questions from the audience
It will be easier for you to prepare a meaningful response if you know what questions your audience may have and the possible answers to those questions.
If someone asks a question that you can’t answer but would like more information on, don’t ignore it – instead, say that you’d love more detail on that point too. This way, there is no awkward silence. It doesn’t matter whether the question is about the product or service itself or something entirely different. Always try to make it as relevant as possible so that your audience feels more engaged.
Practice, practice, practice
It’s one thing to know your presentation inside and out, but it’s another thing to actually get up in front of people and present it. This may seem like a daunting task while you’re practicing alone, but don’t worry – after a few times presenting your material to friends and family (or even pets if no one else is around), it will become easier and feel like second nature to you.
If possible, ask someone else to pretend that they’re the audience so that you can get used to giving your presentation with them listening intently. Knowing how an audience will react when watching your performance prepares you for the real thing.
Summing It Up
If you happen to be given the opportunity to present in front of an audience, don’t let it intimidate you. Instead, remember that everyone has gone through the same nerves before and just try to enjoy yourself.
Hopefully, these techniques have helped you learn how to be a more confident speaker so that your audience can benefit from your presentation too. Be sure to practice what you’ve learned here so that it becomes second nature when speaking in front of large groups of people. And finally, good luck!