Have you ever been at a conference where the presenter put the audience to sleep? Or worse, where the audience left the presentation feeling that the content was lost due to poor delivery? Below are ten techniques that you can use to ensure dynamic presentations that will captivate your audiences.
1. Determine your audience
Before preparing your presentation, research your audience. A checklist of questions to answer, before preparing your presentation, is available from Sheila Birnbach at www.birnbachsuccesssolutions.com
2. Organize the content
One of the most common mistakes made by presenters is putting too much content into the allotted time frame. The presentation should have a clear introduction, a body and a clear conclusion. The three parts follow the “tell ‘em” principle – tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.
Limit your main points to no more than four and build in evidence to support your theses. The conclusion should include a summary. It can also include a call to action or some other form of concluding grabber that will create a memorable last impression.
3. Coordinate the three elements of the presentation
The three elements of a presentation are: the verbal (what you say), the vocal (how you say it) and the visual (what you do while you say it). When the three elements are in conflict with one another, the presenter sends what is commonly referred to as “a mixed message”. Remember that when there is a mixed message, the visual part of the presentation will speak louder than the other two elements.
4. Use gestures to match the message
A common challenge for presenters is what to do with their hands. Many presenters who stand behind a lectern can be seen gripping the sides of the lectern, thus signaling their nervousness to the audience.
Ensure that all hand gestures match your verbal and vocal message.
5. Use neutral position
In the absence of hand gestures that enhance your presentation, hands should be kept at one’s sides and the presenter’s weight should be evenly balanced on both feet. This position is called “neutral” and while it doesn’t enhance the presentation, it also doesn’t conflict with the verbal and vocal messages and it avoids gestures that distract the audience.
6. Follow the rule of 7’s
When preparing power point slides, remember to follow the rule of 7’s – no more than 7 lines on a slide and no more than 7 words on a slide.
Power point slides should be kept as simple as possible. An overabundance of text overwhelms the audience and distracts them from the message.
7. Introduce your visual
Before presenting any visual, ensure that the audience knows what is coming. Introduce your visual by telling your audience how the visual relates to the topic, and what it is about the visual that you want them to give their focus to.
8. Remember what has the “news” value
A visual aid that is introduced during a presentation always captures the attention of the audience. Thus, the visual claims the “news” value – not the presenter.
Be sure to remove the visual as soon as it’s “news” value is over.
9. If you compete with your visual, you will lose!
If a presenter talks while the audience is studying the visual, the audience will miss much of the presenter’s message. Be sure to allow the audience the time to examine the visual without talking over it.
10. Process your adrenalin and have fun!
Stressful situations always create a rush of adrenalin through the system. When this happens, find ways to process this adrenalin. One useful way to do this is to walk or move about before the presentation. Physical movement will help alleviate some of the adrenalin rush.