Picture the scene… you’ve spent days, maybe even weeks, preparing a presentation to be pitch perfect. You know you’ve got a killer slide deck and you’re ready to ‘wow’ your audience. But then disaster strikes and all your best-laid plans slip by the wayside.
It happens more often than you’d think: your tech doesn’t work properly, the audience is different to who you were expecting, or you’re simply beset by a bad case of nerves. It’s easy for presentations to go wrong but, equally, it’s just as easy to level-up your presentation game and ensure you crush it every time you step up to the plate.
Here are our top tips for delivering knockout presentations every single time:
1. Delivery is everything
Great presentations should educate, engage, inspire, and, when appropriate, entertain. It’s hard to do any of these well if your delivery isn’t on point. From striking the right tone and making eye contact with the audience through to not stumbling over your words and rushing through everything, presentations delivered well have the biggest impact. This video from TED is a great starting point if you want to find out more about nailing the delivery, but you’ll be putting yourself in the best possible position to deliver a great presentation if you…
Great delivery will often come down to how confident you are. And one of the best ways to go into a presentation brimming over with confidence is to prepare and practice. Know your presentation inside out. Practice it in the shower, in the car, while you’re cooking dinner… whenever you get a spare moment. Visualization also plays a key role in your preparation. Sit down and visualize a “perfect” presentation, or listen to a playlist with music that makes you feel confident, powerful or whatever feeling you want to feel during the presentation. The better you prepare, and the more you practice, the stronger your presentation will be.
3. Be memorable
To quote Maya Angelou: “People won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel.” Of course your content needs to be relevant to your audience (more on that later) but the chances are, months after your presentation they’ll have forgotten the specifics you went into, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. Leave a lasting impression by surpassing expectations and by giving your audience something they didn’t have before (whether that’s knowledge or a feeling you want to leave them with.) There are many ways to be memorable but start with the easiest and deliver your presentation with energy and enthusiasm – something anyone can do.
4. Know your audience
If you’re presenting to the board of directors maybe it’s not the right time to roll out slide after slide of memes. Equally, if your audience is packed full of Millennials, don’t bore them to death with dull slides of bullet points (in fact, it’s probably best you ditch the bullet point slides altogether). If you want to engage your audience the content you deliver has to be relevant to them and then you need to pitch your delivery accordingly. Start with doing your research. Know who your audience is going to be and tailor your content and delivery to their needs.
5. Have a clear narrative and tell a great story
Presentations are mini-stories and, as such, they need a clear structure and narrative arc. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, presentation guru, Nancy Duarte, says: “The most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved.”
Picture yourself as the guide in the story (the Yoda to the audience’s Luke Skywalker). Your job is to show the audience you understand what their challenges or problems are and then share with them your insight and wisdom as to how they can overcome them. The best presentations resonate and stay with us because they tell a story.
6. Be smart with your tech
Whether it’s video, audio, lighting, or even the software and hardware you’re using, make sure you’re smart with your tech. You want the tech you’re using to supplement your presentation and make it better, not to detract from it in any way. For example, why use a clunky clicker to change slides when you can do it with the subtle push of a button you have hidden in your hand? Something as small and seemingly simple as this can help you focus your energy more on the delivery of your content. Also, if you are using different forms of media in your presentation test everything first to make sure it’s working!
Perhaps the most important thing is to remember to enjoy yourself. Slap a big smile on your face and dazzle your audience. After all, they’ve made a choice somewhere along the line to listen to what you have to say so repay their faith by delivering something memorable.
Flic has become an integral part of delivering great presentations thanks to its popularity as a ‘Keynote clicker.’ We’re delighted to announce it’s just got even better with the latest update to our Mac App which you can download here.