In the workplace, we make presentations all the time, be it to internal or external stakeholders. One of the reasons many people fear making presentations to the boss or clients is they are afraid of being the focal point of everyone’s attention and don’t want to risk making a fool of themselves.
Put your best foot forward every time! There are several things you can do to “fool-proof” your speaking event or business presentation so that you deliver your message well every single time.
- Take the time to prepare well for your presentation. Preparation enhances your confidence and it’s also an opportunity to refine any weak areas in your presentation.
- Begin and end your presentation on time. Arriving late for your presentation is simply unprofessional, not to mention it won’t win you any points with your audience. When you go over the allotted time, it shows your audience that you don’t value their time.
- Know your audience. The best ways to relate to your audience is if you know who they are. Conduct an audience analysis. Are they male or female? What income bracket are they in? Why would they want to attend your presentation? What do they already know? What are their hot buttons? Most importantly, you should be asking yourself, “Is what I’m presenting in their best interests?”
- Dress appropriately for your audience. Not all speaking engagements require a business suit. There are many places where business casual has become the norm. Before your audience even hears your message, they are already sizing you up and your attire will impact whether or not they will listen to what you have to say!
- Have a backup plan for visual aids used in your presentation. You’ve decided to use visual aids because they will be helpful getting your message across. What happens when laptops fail or the room cannot accommodate presentation equipment? Think through your backup plan on how to handle this situation.
- Tone down information overload. Yes, you can overload your audience with too much information and if you’re not careful, you’ll lose them. They’ll mentally check out. As a speaker, you’ll want to present enough information that hooks them into getting more information from you!
- Don’t use inappropriate humor. Humor can be a tricky thing working for you or against you. You will really have to know your audience in order to use jokes or humor appropriately.
- Vary your speech tones. The monotonous speaker will lose their audience within the first 15 minutes. It’s okay to be animated during your presentation and in fact, doing so will transmit flair and passion that keeps people engaged in your message.
- Relate your topic back to your audience. Basically, stop talking about yourself! Your audience might want to hear a testimony or two, but mostly, they’ll want to hear about them and how your presentation can help them!
- Solidify your message. Support your ideas with data and evidence and build a solid case for your viewpoints. You can use statistics, testimonies, demonstrations, pictures and more!
Your presentation can be foolproof if you take the time to minimize mistakes. By going through these key points, you can assure yourself that you are well prepared for any challenge that might come your way and you will experience the success you’ve always dreamed of!