There will be a lot of times in your career when you’ll have to stand up in front of a crowd and deliver a presentation or speech. Most people find this quite nerve-wracking, although it doesn’t have to be.
A presentation or speech typically has 2 objectives: Making a good impression and ensuring your audience leaves with definitive takeaways.
Here are some tips that can help you deliver on both.
Grabbing your audience’s attention from the get-go is crucial to how long they stay interested. Consider these strategies to make your presentation effective.
- Use a quote
Set the tone by using a relevant quote. Whether you come up with one or borrow it from history, the idea is to be memorable. Follow it up with a pause to heighten the effect.
- Use “what If” or ‘imagine’
Starting this way immediately draws your audience in because it gets them following your thought process. With an ‘imagine’ scenario, you’re encouraging a deep-dive into your presentation as they visualize the scenario with you.
- Use silence
A pause (5 to 10 seconds) while you look at the audience before you begin ensures that all the attention is directed right where it should be – on you.
- Use statistics
Using statistics not only makes your presentation more believable, it also has the potential to trigger an emotional response: shock or awe or even surprised laughter. This will resonate with the audience to get your message across right away.
Whether it’s to motivate, entertain, inform, or challenge your audience, you must adopt the right tone. Keep it upbeat and uplifting, because people will remember how you made them feel. Sharing a personal story or anecdote, as long as it’s relevant to your presentation, helps you connect better and reflects your trustworthiness.
Keep your words uncomplicated, like you’re having a conversation, not preaching or selling something. Remember to repeat yourself: Repetition is key to reinforcing ideas. So, make sure to repeat crucial points like the chorus of a song.
Audiences expect to know where you’re going with your presentation and why. Make sure to let them know what you’ll be covering right after your opening. A universally acceptable structure consists of an introduction, 2 or 3 main ideas, and the takeaways.
These are important questions to consider:
- Who, what and why should inform the content of your introduction.
- The main ideas should be presented clearly as points 1, 2, and 3 and concluded fully before you move from one to the next.
- Outline the takeaways clearly so the audience knows what you expect them to do or think about after your presentation.
After a fairly long presentation, chances are that your closing is what your audience will remember most. It’s essential that you use this to your advantage. Don’t get swept away and start rambling on or go off on a tangent. Remember that it’s their time, not yours.
Here’s what you can do for an effective ending:
- Recap the takeaways
- Share a success story
- Give your audience a clear CTA
- Close with a quote or saying
Whatever you decide on, your closing needs to get them thinking or go on to doing something, so make sure it’s memorable.