10 Steps to More Powerful Presentations
How many dull business presentations have you sat through that were filled with sleep-inducing statistics? Those talks flopped because their presenters failed to use the following 10 tips for developing attention-getting talks that compel action.
- Begin with an unexpected insight, a provocative question, or a unique perspective that dovetails with the key message you wish to impart.
- Stories are intrinsically engaging. So keep listeners engaged by telling stories—ones that relate to your goals and to their needs and concerns. Don’t present a monotonous litany numbers and expect listeners to stay awake and involved.
- Put your passion into your presentation. You’re giving this talk to inform, persuade or motivate listeners to accept a point of view or take an action you believe in. Make the audience aware of your conviction.
- Never read from slides or notes (though it’s fine to have notes for occasional reference). Smile. Make eye contact with listeners. (In other words, talk to individuals, not a huge interchangeable group of people.)
- Practice your talk with a friend or coworker. The more familiar you are with your presentation, the easier it will be to deliver it, and the less nervous you’ll feel. Don’t rush; speak slowly.
- Know your central message and be able to express it clearly and concisely. Be able to back up statements and address concerns with facts and research.
- Slides should supplement your talk, not be your talk. On a slide, use no more than six lines of type, simple graphics and a font size that can be read from the back of the room.
- Hold questions until the end so you won’t be distracted, and be prepared to respond to both questions and objections.
- Don’t schedule your talk when people are already distracted. Avoid late afternoons, lunchtimes, and the days leading up to a national holiday.
- End by summarizing your most important points and telling the audience what action you’d like them to take. Offer a handout after your talk to further reinforce your points.