Giving a presentation can be stressful, but it can also be a great way to impress people whose opinions matter. Succeed with an important presentation, and new career opportunities can open up or an interesting project might get the go-ahead.
Even people who are not comfortable with speaking in front of audiences can heighten the odds of a successful presentation. Make use of the following four tips, and you should find that your audience is on your side at your next presentation.
1. Set the Scene for Success
No presentation takes place in a vacuum, but many presenters fail to take charge of the environment. From the look of the conference room, hall, or other venue to details like the arrangement of chairs, the stage upon which a presentation plays out will always have an impact.
There are many excellent ways to make it more likely that an audience will become engaged and favourably disposed to a presentation. Having a company like Stamford Catering Services provide some refreshments, for instance, will almost always promote feelings of receptiveness and appreciation.
Even when it will not be possible to arrange everything as might be wanted, paying attention to your surroundings will pay off any time you are to give a presentation. Setting the scene appropriately will always tilt the odds at least a bit in your favour.
2. Forge a Connection Early On
Presentations can easily feel impersonal, especially after the PowerPoint slides start to pile up. Successful presenters tend to get started by striving to connect with audience members in personal, direct ways that will help keep attendees from losing focus.
It is not necessary to ham it up or to have an unforgettable story to tell to establish this sort of bond. Many effective presentations begin with just a smile and a bit of background that adds a personal dimension to the story and argument to follow.
Ensuring that audience members feel personally engaged will create a stockpile of attention that can subsequently be drawn upon. That will make it less likely that the audience will lose focus as things become drier and more businesslike.
3. Keep Things Brief
It can be tempting to delve deeply into every little issue that might possibly be relevant to the subject of a presentation. The best, most effective presenters, though, devote as much effort to paring things down as they do to developing an argument and adding detail.
Remember that giving a presentation will always feel a lot more active and immersive than watching one. Audience members should never be faulted for losing interest when things become overly involved or drawn out.
No presentation should be thought of as the final, authoritative word on any matter. An effective presentation should illuminate a subject and make a case for a particular perspective while inviting further investigation at a more appropriate time.
4. Practice, Practice, and Practice Again
Some people spend dozens of hours putting together presentations with which they never actually become comfortable or even familiar. That can leave a presenter struggling to get through a carefully planned-out routine.
Practice makes perfect, especially when giving a presentation. You should practice your presentation until you feel like you know what is to come at every point throughout.
In addition to making embarrassing stumbles less likely, having that level of comfort will make you a more confident and persuasive presenter. As with the three preceding tips, that will make your audience a lot more likely to stay on your side right to the end.