Having prepared your presentation, how can you deliver in a way that will make the maximum impact?
No doubt you can recall presentations from others that had you constantly checking your watch, wondering when this was all going to end, and concentrating more on what you had to do afterwards than in listening to what was being said.
And no doubt you can recall presentations from others that had you riveted to every word, enthused and inspired by the message and determined to take action as a result of what was being said.
What were the main differences?
Naturally, you needed to have an interest in the subject. Also, you needed to see the value in what was being presented. But the main difference, I’ll bet, was the quality of delivery, the passion that the speaker used in delivering the message and the way they kept your interest all the way through.
And that’s what you need to do to make a massive impact, to create an impression and blow them away with your presentation!
So what can you do? Firstly, plan an impactful opening! Make it visual, interesting, attracting attention and building desire to hear more. Use metaphors when you can to make the information come alive. Don’t just reel off a list of statistics or facts…you’ll lose them before you start.
Remember how impactful your body language is when you present. Your audience will notice your nerves if they are showing and this will detract from the message. Think about your posture and style of delivery, so they are listening to your words rather than worrying about your shaking!
Be passionate about the subject. This means creating meaning in everything you say, creating an interest with attention-grabbing stories, influential ideas and absorbing information. Make the subject really come alive in the listeners’ minds by painting pictures with words. That way, you are developing reasons why this message is important.
By all means use humour, but ensure it is appropriate. Jokes can easily fall flat or be badly timed, and people will remember a poor delivery more than they remember the attempted humour. Try to find everyday situations that are funny, rather than attempting to be a comedian when it doesn’t suit you.
Understand that you always will speak differently during a presentation than when you have a conversation. This is natural, but make it as free-flowing as possible, without rushing, mumbling or missing off the ends of words.
Eye contact is a must when presenting. If you are constantly looking down at your notes, you lose the contact and rapport with your audience that will convince them this is really worth listening to. Use cue-cards if possible and keep the eye contact as open as you can with everyone there.
Above all, make your presentation end on a high. There are two laws to remember here…the recency effect and the closing effect. Of the two effects, the closing effect carries more weight for your message because the last thing the audience hears and experiences, is the first thing they’ll remember! It should be… Outstanding!
What should your closing include? A quick resume of what you’ve covered, and the actions that need to be taken as a result of what you’ve presented. Make it memorable and outstanding, and your audience will remember it for the right reasons.
All this won’t guarantee your presentation will be the best ever…but it will give you the best chance to be your best ever! And that will surely blow them away!
Originally published: 11 August, 2010
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