Delivering a presentation gives you the ideal opportunity to convey your message to audiences of any size. A presentation allows you to connect with your audience using text and images whilst you speak, therefore using both sight and sound to stimulate the human senses. When multiple senses are used, the experience becomes more memorable and therefore your listener is more likely to recall the information that they were given in the future. It is easy to deliver an ineffective presentation, so here are our top five tips to make sure of a successful delivery time after time.
- Using the correct equipment and lighting- A common setback in delivering a presentation is often not the content, but using the incorrect equipment or staging. Poor lighting, blurred text or imaging and inaudible sound can impede your listeners ability to concentrate, and distract from the message that you are delivering. Making use of high quality laptops, projectors and screens as well as illuminating your stage correctly, all contribute to a smooth and enjoyable delivery. If you are unable to access these, affordable hire equipment is available.
- Face your audience at all times gaining eye contact where possible- So that you know what your audience is viewing at any given time in the presentation, either have a computer screen on a desk in front of you showing the presentation or print off the slides and use the paper copies as a speaking aid. Making eye contact with a many of your listeners as possible adds a level of intimacy and comfort to your presentation.
- Know your audience- Prepare presentations that address the target audience. Be sure you know who your audience is—what are their backgrounds and knowledge level of the material you are presenting and what they are hoping to get out of the presentation? Deliver what the audience wants to hear.
- Practice and time your presentation- When you give the presentation, stick to what you practice. It is common to deviate, and even worse to start presenting material that you know less about than the audience does. The more you practice, the less likely you will be to go off on tangents. Visual cues help here. The delivery to your audience should not be the first time you have read the content aloud. It’s very difficult to ‘cut’ a presentation at the event itself, so it’s a great mistake to run out of time. Most presenters prepare too much material; but nobody ever complains that a presentation was too short (it always allows more time for questions).
- Have a clear key message- ensure that everything in your presentation is both consistent with, and supportive of, that key message. A good rule of thumb would seem to be that if you ask a member of the audience a week later about your presentation, they should be able to remember three points. If these are the key points you were trying to get across, you have done a good job. If they can remember any three points, but not the key points, then your emphasis was wrong.