If you are in business, there will almost certainly come a time when you have to speak in front of people. If you are a solopreneur or a small business owner, giving talks and running short seminars is an excellent way of getting known and gaining new business.
It’s worth facing the challenges and breaking through your limiting beliefs to reap the benefits, AND imagine how proud of yourself you will be when you have made your first presentation.
I joke about being a ‘frustrated actress’ and discovered, when I did my training as an NLP Trainer, that being in front of an audience was comfortable and exhilarating – I felt like I was born to be there! That’s not to say it was always like that. There was a time when the thought of speaking in front of a group of people made me so nervous, I avoided it at all costs. But I like a challenge and I pushed through all of that slowly until that day on NLP Trainer’s Training when I found I could fly!
Just because the frustrated actress found her wings doesn’t mean that giving a talk or presentation is a breeze. For each talk, workshop or training I run, I plan carefully beforehand so I can deliver the best possible content to give the audience what they want and be ready should anything not go according to plan on the day. I do get nervous, I do lose my place, I do have powerpoint failure, I do get asked questions I don’t know the answer to….
In this series of articles, I’ll share with you some of the tips which help me and others to create powerful and engaging presentations, so that you can shine in front of an audience and present with impact and confidence every time.
Preparation is key. If you are prepared, you will fell more confident and will engage your audience and handle any question thrown at you because you know your topic.
PREPARING YOUR PRESENTATION
~ Check how long you have for your presentation – do you have a specific slot or is there flexibility of a few minutes? If it’s your workshop, you know your boundaries but if you’re doing a talk for someone else at a conference, you’ll be allocated a specific time and need to stick to it.
~ Know who will be in your audience. Research them if you can.
~ Decide what outcome you want from your presentation and what outcome your audience wants. Use this to set the focus as you prepare the content of your presentation.
~ Come up with a way of engaging your audience right from the start. Maybe show a video, tell a story or make a joke.
~ Decide on the information you want to share with your audience. Give them some facts and make sure they are accurate.
~ If possible, have some audience participation – maybe get them to try out the technique you are teaching them or try the product you are telling them about or selling.
~ Think about the questions they may ask so you can be prepared with answers.
A good format to use when preparing and delivering your presentation is 4-Mat:
Why? – why do the audience want to know about this topic. And why might they not want to know.
What?– facts and figures. This will be the lion’s share of your presentation.
How? – give the audience a chance to try something out – an exercise to try out a technique or group discussion.
What next? – Q & A, what are the next steps your audience can take?
~ Do you have a call to action – an offer which you want to make to the group, or want them to sign up to your mailing list? Be clear about this beforehand, so it flows naturally and doesn’t feel like selling.
~ Write out a ‘Timeline’ of your presentation with topic and time you are going to be delivering that part of the talk. Decide what you can cut out if you get behind and what you can add in if you get ahead.
2. VISUAL AIDS AND KEEPING ON TRACK
~ Decide on what type of visual aids you are going to use. While you don’t want ‘death by powerpoint’, it is good to have something for your audience to look at. This could be powerpoint (or something similar like Prezi) or handouts or both.
~ Don’t rely on your powerpoint to keep you on track and keep each slide simple – people do not read paragraphs of words on a slide, they’re lucky if they can even see it all.
~ Make sure you have a back up plan if your powerpoint fails.
~ How will you keep on track? It’s not a good idea to have your full presentation in front of you to keep you on track. You might like to work from a mind map or cue cards. I often print out my powerpoint with 6 slides per page and write my notes and timeline around each slide. I use this along with the timeline I’ve prepared beforehand.
3. ON THE DAY
~ Check out the room where you’ll speak beforehand if you can, so you know the layout, size and facilities available. For example, can the boardroom table be moved, or will you have to find a way to work around it? Are you going to be able to move around or have to stay behind a lecturn. Will you have a microphone or be using your voice projection only?
~ Make sure everything works – microphone, powerpoint. Test it if you can.
~ Make sure you have a glass of water in case you get a dry mouth or start coughing. This should be room temperature as cold water can make you cough, exactly what you are trying to avoid!
If you feel inspired to present with impact, please contact us and arrange a chat about how we can help you with our Presentation Training and Coaching with a professional actor as well as a professional trainer, both of whom are trained coaches.
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