Whether you are a working professional or a full-time student, one thing is for sure. You are going to give plenty of presentations in your life. From a group of ten to an entire stadium, having good presentation skills will make your experience (and theirs) much more meaningful. Anyone can make a rockstar presentation and all you need is a little practice. Here are 6 suggestions that will guarantee your presentation is better than average.
Come on. When was the last time you planned for more than a few hours to do a presentation. For most people it’s not even that. Planning could be the most important aspect to giving a great presentation. Give yourself at least a week to plan out what you are going to say and how you are going to deliver it. Practice in front of everybody that will let you. Practice in front of the mirror. The 2 overall ingredients to any presentation is content and delivery. You could have the greatest product or idea in the world, but if you don’t have a good delivery your audience won’t realize it. On the other hand you could have a great delivery but you are giving your audience some of the worst content. Make sure you master both.
10 Slides, 20 Minutes, 30 pt Font
You don’t have to follow these numbers exactly, as long as you get the jist of what the numbers mean. 10 slides mean that your presentation shouldn’t be information dense. If you have to have 100 slides to give a presentation then you must be a PhD student giving your thesis or some other information dense higher power. For most presentations and people receiving them, when the information is chewable and easy to grasp that’s when it sticks. In terms of 20 minutes, there are times when you might be asked to give hour-long presentations, but more often than not, things don’t quite go right. Projectors seem to breakdown, laptops quit working, or some VIP doesn’t show up on time. Be prepared to give an hour presentation, but if need be have it ready so that you can give it in 20 minutes if the situation calls for it. As for the 30 pt font…please don’t smash all your information onto one slide. One slide should contain only one idea. Parse your slides up if necessary. The reason a good rule of thumb is 30 pt is because most of the time when people present, they use very small font and half of your audience can’t see the slide, let alone read it. Keep it big for everyone to see.
3 Main Topics
All great legends come in 3’s. The 3 stooges, the 3 amigos, the good, bad & ugly. The list goes on and on. Again going with the chewable information if you create a 3 part time line of your presentation it will be easier for people to follow and less likely that you will have to wake someone up in the middle of it. You could try having a beginning, middle, and end in your three-part act. Or you might just have 3 completely separate points that all come together in the end. Whatever you decide, people are only adept to remembering 3 to 4 things, so if you want to have your audience remember the things you spent countless hours preparing, keep it to 3 points.
Enthusiasm for the Topic
Have you ever done a summer sales job, or any sales job for that matter? Has it ever been something that you didn’t really care for? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t have any enthusiasm for your topic then how in the world are you planning on selling your ideas to your audience? Remember to also believe in the words you say on stage. Believe in your product. Believe in your idea. If you, as the presenter, aren’t interested in your own presentation then no one else will be interested either. When you are practicing your enthusiasm make sure to be more enthusiastic than you usually would be, because when you are in front of a crowd you will have a tendency to revert to your natural level.
Share the stage
Great presenters know that taking all the credit for a particular idea or product is bad news. Make sure that when you are presenting, you have some guest speakers to cover some time for you. As a general rule, you should only be presenting in 15-minute increments. Even if you are a really good presenter, people tune out at about 15 minutes whether they want to or not. When you present also have some demos of your service or product to break up your presentation into 15-minute increments. Sharing the stage will not only help your audience pay attention, it will also help you with networking. Invite your partners or investors to share the stage with you and that will tell them that you trust them. In turn, they will be more likely to trust you back.
“What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
The last and most important part of presenting anything is a thing I like to call WIIFM. With anything that you present you need to ask yourself, what is the audience going to get out of this. They are not at your presentation only because they want to support you. It could be a reason, but most of the time people want to get something out of what you say. They want to pull something out of your presentation to help their own company or life. The presenter that can tune into the most WIIFM’s in the audience is the presenter that has a very great presentation.
Presenting is all about trust. If you can show your audience that you trust them to do what you want them to do, and you convince them of your idea or service they will return the favor to you by trusting you. Building trust with your investors or partners during your presentation can also have good fortune on your future endeavors. By remembering that presenting is all about trust you will be better apt to create a stunning presentation for your anxious audience.
There are a lot more presentation skills that you could incorporate to make your presentations amazing. Use these skills and find some more. These are a couple of very good books that can help you get the most out of your presentations: The Art of Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki, and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo. Let us know what we missed. What do you think makes a great presentation?