Presentations are something we're all familiar with - whether you're giving a presentation, or you're watching one. However, giving presentations can be nerve-racking. Whether you're teaching a class, speaking at a conference or pitching a new client.
Here are 10 tips to help you give an outstanding presentation - whether to a boardroom of five or an audience of 500 people.
The 10-20-30 Rule
This rule, introduced by Guy Kawasaki, states that a PowerPoint slide should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and have no text less than 30 point font. It doesn't matter whether your idea will revolutionize the world, you need to spell out the key ideas of your presentation a few minutes, a couple slides and a several words a slide.
Know your audience
No one is interested in a presentation with no clear points and the speaker is rambling. Your audience is very important, you should research them; know what they're interested in and give them a well defined presentation. Outline the structure of your presentation in a way that people can follow easily.
People love stories and stories do more for emotional connection than any other speech technique. Share relatable stories that will excite and motivate your audience. This works especially when you are giving a long presentation. Use anecdotes to help you explain your points. This will make your presentation very memorable.
You don't have to perform tricks but you should make your presentation as lively as possible. No one wants to hear a long boring speech where you drone on and on and on... Your audience won't learn anything if they are aren't interested in what you're saying because they won't be paying attention. Enthrall your audience and let them be captivated by your speech.
Don't be too still
When giving a presentation, you shouldn't be too still and stand in one point. Move around, but not too much that it distracts from your presentation. Show gestures, but don't plan them. Planned gestures will tell because they don’t match your other involuntary body cues.
Watch what you say
When you get stumped and you forget something, don't say 'um', 'ah', 'you know' or any other useless word. It's irritating to the audience when you constantly say these thing. Instead, take a deep breathe and pause to collect your thoughts. Or, you could always restate what you've already said up to that point.
Use visuals wisely
Yes, a picture speaks a thousand words and a video can be a powerful presentation tool, they only work when used correctly. The audience is there to listen to you speak, so speak to them. Don't let them think they could have just received the presentation via email. Keep your visuals simple and don't put too many words on them. Never read from your slides.
It's not always possible to engage all of the audience in discussion, especially if it's a large audience. But with smaller audiences, it is critical to interact. Plan audience interaction into your presentation. Ask them questions and let them ask you questions. Prepare yourself for all types of questions before your presentation.
Leave something behind
So you've given your really amazing presentation, the audience loves you and you've wowed everybody. What next? People are busy and no matter how impressive you were, they will turn their attentions to other things. Give them something to remember you by. It could be a flyer or a book. Just give them something that relates to your presentation. This gives your audience something to refer to after they leave
Always prepare very well for any presentation. Practice with a friend, practice alone, just practice whenever you can. But, you should not cram or memorize your presentation word for word. This is why people usually get stumped and your presentation won't sound natural. Instead, know the key points and let the presentation flow naturally.
These tips are of no use if you don't practice. Winging it out will only get you so far. So practice, practice, practice and you will become competent and confident when giving presentations in no time.