How to Present Effectively
Presentation skills are essential in today’s business world. If you work for someone else, at some point you will probably need to make a presentation. When you own your own business, you definitely have to make presentations. Knowing how to present effectively is a soft skill that can help you excel in almost any field.
Here’s how to take your presentation game to the next level:
A few weeks ago, I helped my son put together a presentation for school. I told him if he wanted to present effectively, he would need to be ready to practice. It takes practice to excel at anything, and presentation is no different. My son practiced in front of me several times — and he also practiced on his own. He even ran the presentation by two of his friends.
Get in the habit of practicing, and your presentations will be much more effective — especially since when you know the material, you are more likely to project confidence.
Choose a Message to Present to Your Audience
Next, you need to make sure you have a message you can present to your audience. What is the main takeaway? You don’t want to muddy the waters with a lot of different messages and information overload. Instead, think about three key points you want to make that emphasize your core message. Your presentation should focus on those items.
Start by Drawing the Audience In
If you want to present effectively, you need to start by drawing the audience in. There are different methods of doing this. Some ways to grab attention right from the start include:
- Tell an engaging story that is related to the point you want to illustrate.
- Share an interesting fact that supports your presentation.
- Ask a question to get audience engagement.
Don’t start with who you are. That backstory isn’t something many people want to hear. Instead, they want to be engaged from the beginning. Find a way to begin strong so the audience is ready to listen to your message.
Use Your Voice and Body Dynamically
Do you like it when someone stands at a podium and drones at you in the same tone of voice all the way through a presentation? Probably not. It’s boring.
To present effectively, you need to keep the audience engaged. You can do this by changing the speed at which you talk, incorporating meaningful pauses, and even varying the pitch of your voice. You want to make sure you don’t overdo it, and it sounds natural. But using your voice can be a good way to hold an audience’s attention.
Your body can also add to your presentation. Make gestures that are open and inviting. If possible, move around on the stage. It’s even better if you are equipped to actually go among the audience. Make eye contact with audience members and smile.
Bring it All Back
Finally, at the end, bring it all back to the subject at hand. Make sure that you have gone through a natural progression and now your audience is ready to receive your message as you finish strong.