Presenting material in front of colleagues or clients is an essential pillar of doing good business.
Presentations help to facilitate the exchange of ideas, allowing companies to work with their stakeholders in useful and practical ways.
But nailing a great presentation is difficult. All too often, the presentation style is too stodgy, or the language too technical. The message becomes diluted and distorted, and people leave the meeting without really knowing what they were supposed to get out of it.
Failing to present in a good way costs companies time and money, and could lead to mistakes. Here’s how to craft a professional presentation that people will love.
#1 Keep Text Simple
Often you’ll see presenters providing people with a wall of text on-screen.
But research shows that people are unable to take in large quantities of information, especially when a person is talking to them at the same time. If you do include text, make sure that it’s simple and easy to read.
Keep sentences short and use any comments you write down as headings for what you’re actually saying. Don’t go into detailed arguments in the text: this is what your verbal presentation is for.
#2 Hand Out Quality Materials
Although you should keep the length of bullet points in PowerPoint to a minimum, that doesn’t mean that you can’t provide written material for attendees to take away with them.
It’s usually a good idea to write down the salient points of your presentation – as well as any helpful charts and graphics – into a booklet, bound together with a quality binding machine.
A high-quality physical accompaniment to your presentation will ensure that people take away with them the material they need.
#3 Don’t Read The Presentation
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a bad idea to read from the presentation verbatim.
People find this distracting and are less likely to internalize what you say. It’s much better to use any on-screen text as a general guide to what you want to say, where you embellish the details.
Storytelling is an essential factor in any presentation.
#4 Watch What Your Audience Do
It’s often hard to gauge how your effective your presentation is at delivering key messages.
That’s why many seasoned presenters keep a close eye on their audience to make sure that they are getting their points across. Audiences who focus long and hard on specific slides may be struggling to take in information or may be experiencing “information overload.”
If you see this happening in your presentation, it might be worth modifying it so that next time, people don’t have to take in so much information all in one go.
#5 Keep Questions Until The End
Interruptions can disturb the train of thought of both the presenter and other people in the audience.
So although questions could be an indication of an engaged audience, you may want to keep them until the end.
Many members of the audience may also find that as you go through your presentation, you answer their questions.
What are you doing to craft a better presentation?