In the business world, some professionals thrive off of public speaking engagements and others are filled with anxiety every time they come up. But even in our digital modern world, live presentations are what help us understand an organization’s mission, connect with each other, and take action.
In this article, we’ll highlight the top presentation tips that all meeting leaders should know when presenting to a large group of people. These are key strategies to keep in mind when you’re in your home office or even gathering in temporary meeting rooms NYC for a special event.
Open with a Strong Beginning
What you start with in your presentation makes a big impression and sets the tone for everything else you have to say. Instead of starting with a lengthy introduction about who you are and your accomplishments, begin by entertaining your audience and slipping in relevant personal details later on.
One of the best ways to capture an audience’s attention is to tell a story. Stories appeal to us on a personal level and keep us engaged. Think about your favorite novels or movies for just a moment. Chances are that they have strong character development, a dynamic shift, a challenge to overcome, and a resolution at the end. These are key concepts to keep in mind as you begin to think of your presentation as a story in itself.
Keep Your Message Simple
No one likes to get lost or confused while listening to a presentation, so keep your core message simple, direct, and to the point. Focus on just a couple key points that you want your audience to remember as takeaways. This message should be able to be conveyed in a 30-second “elevator summary” to people you meet outside of the office as well.
Connect with Your Audience
Even after your opening lines, it’s important to connect with your audience during your presentation until your very last line. Talk about the things you are passionate about, and your audience will begin to understand and feel that passion too. Audiences respond well to presenters who are open, honest, and enthusiastic. Pay attention to your body language as well.
Limit PowerPoint Slides
Many novice presenters make the mistake of relying too heavily on PowerPoint slides to guide them through presentations. Keep your slideshow to a dozen slides or less and always use large, readable fonts. And remember that slideshows should never be a substitute for your verbal presentation. You must offer many more details and insights than what could be read independently on a screen.
Considerations for Video Conferences
There are obvious differences between making a presentation in-person and over a video conference. But as remote working opportunities increase and technology makes connecting from different parts of the world even easier, video conferencing is the way of the future.
If you are presenting over a video conference or to people on a video conference themselves, arrive early to take care of any technical issues that may stand in the way of getting started on time. Make sure to practice using the camera so that it is in focus, and wear a shirt that isn’t too distracting.
Since eye contact isn’t as much of a factor in video conference presentations, you’ll need to keep your audience engaged by altering the tone of your voice and keeping your speech as interesting as possible. You can do this by offering different types of evidence, such as an anecdote, testimonials, and data points. But if you plan to use a slideshow, still make sure that your slides aren’t more informative than what you’re saying.
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