With increased export portfolios, relocations of large businesses to the South West region and entrepreneurs choosing the South West over other parts of the UK, business is thriving. In fact, it’s estimated that businesses in Devon and Cornwall alone, turnover in excess of £14 billion per annum.
It’s a fact that strong businesses need strong presenters to ensure growth and promotion. If you work for a South West business, then the ability to present successfully is a fantastic skill to have.
The guidelines below will go a long way to helping you develop the skills you need. We look at the key steps needed to create and deliver a presentation that successfully delivers your desired outcomes.
The most important part of delivering an effective presentation lies in your preparation. Ideally, you should spend more time planning your presentation than developing it and preparing slides. If this step is rushed, or given insufficient attention, then your presentation is likely to lack the impact needed. Don’t be tempted to jump straight in and start creating your PowerPoint slides, take the time to think about what it is that you’re hoping to achieve. Consider, for example:
- Why are you doing your presentation? Are you planning to educate people, spur them to make a decision, solicit opinions or to provide general information?
- What are the objectives of your presentation? What do you want to happen at the end of it?
- What information do people need to know to enable them to take the actions you need them to take?
- How should your information be structured to ensure maximum impact?
- Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and take the time to think about their existing understanding of your subject, the type of engagement you might need from them during your presentation, the types of information needed to spur the outcomes you require. Once you’ve done this, consider the nature and structure of the presentation needed to meet their needs.
- What interactive activities can you include in your presentation to engage your audience and spur interest?
- What questions are your audience likely to have at the end? How will you answer these questions?
Create your Content
- Start by stating your central theme, then creating your subtopics.
- Next scope your structure and order of content.
- Now start creating your presentation slides. At this stage, your slides can be bursting with information and text-heavy – the plan at this stage is merely to get your information down.
- Once you’ve completed this, you need to start slimming your slides down to ensure only essential text and prompts are included. A good presentation avoids text-heavy slides with excessive wording as they risk boring and distracting the audience. Instead, your slides should be punchy and visually appealing. Think about the design of your slides and aim to include graphics and other stimulating aids where possible.
- If you’re presenting to an unknown audience, then use the first part of your presentation to introduce yourself.
- You should then state your objectives to reaffirm to your audience the purpose of their attendance.
- Before going any further, include a slide or prompt to tell your audience how you’d like them to engage throughout. For example, is this a relaxed conversation where your audience can ask questions as and when they arise throughout the presentation, or, will you allow for questions at the end. Let your audience know if they will be required to participate in interactive activities.
- Now blend your presentation into your ‘final’ product.
- Recruit a volunteer to watch you deliver your presentation – their feedback should provide you with valuable tips and advice for potential changes.
- Time your presentation to establish how long your presentation will take and to assess whether content needs to be added/removed.
- Add 30% additional time onto this calculation as, typically, the presence of the audience invariably adds time to your presentation.
- Arrive early and make sure that your laptop and any other equipment/tools are working effectively. The success of a presentation can be instantly destroyed when an audience has to sit waiting for the presenter to sort out any issues.
- Greet your attendees as they arrive – this will be particularly helpful if you’re a nervous presenter. Other techniques to manage nerves include establishing eye contact with members of your audience and focus on one person at a time. It’s also important to be conscious of where your hands are – don’t engage in subconscious nervous actions. Try to channel any nervous energy into enthusiasm.
- When you start your presentation take the time to welcome everyone and smile. Smiling will help relax you, establish rapport with your audience and signal that you are ready to start.
- During the presentation, keep focused on your body language and the body language of your audience. If, for example, members of the audience at the back of the room appear to be sitting forward in their seats, then raise the volume of your voice. If people look bored, then think about the rapidity of your speech. Audience boredom often happens because the presenter is rushing or failing to animate or engage. If you feel you’re rushing, then stop. It’s a good time to take a sip of water and re-establish yourself if you feel this is happening.
- At the end of your presentation, summarise what’s been covered and open the floor to questions if needed.
- Think now about your outcomes. If the audience now needs to do something on the back of your presentation, then state this and ensure they know how to do what you need them to do.
If you need further presentation training support, then why not consider our Presentation Skills training course? Our qualified training team delivers fully customised training courses, onsite, to individuals or teams. All our trainers have an expert understanding of the courses they deliver.