Sometime in your career, you’ve been asked to give a presentation. Maybe it went well. Or maybe it didn’t. The answer lies with your audience. Did they listen attentively and ask questions, or did they look at their watches and dart out the door once you were done?
There is a science to giving a good presentation and professionals know they just can’t wing it. A good presentation is carefully researched, written and practiced ahead of time, keeping the audience’s interests in mind. Here are six steps that can help you develop a better presentation.
How to Give a Better Presentation
- Find out who your audience is. Then single out a couple of members or leaders and send a questionnaire or hold an interview in advance to find out what issues they are facing, or what it is they really want to learn or know. Incorporate this information into your presentation.
- If you must use slides, use them as visual backup to what you are saying. Do not outline your presentation on the slides and read it to your audience.
- In your opening, you must make an emotional connection with your audience. Use a story, ask a question, or astonish them with a shocking statistic to catch their attention and pique their curiosity.
- Tell the audience what they are going to hear and the benefits they will get from listening. At the end of your presentation, review what you went over and reinforce the benefit.
- In the body of your presentation, stick to no more than three important points. Make eye contact with members of the audience.
- In your closing, circle back to your opening statement and close with a call to action–what do you want people to do? Tell them. And always end with a positive statement or forecast.
If you are not a good speaker, write out your presentation. Or better yet, hire a professional copywriting firm like All the Buzz to help you.