As someone who is nowhere near being a pro, I understand the anxiety and challenges that come with giving presentations. However, through my own experiences and diligent practice, I have discovered some tactics that have helped me prepare and deliver engaging presentations.
I recently had an amazing experience at our Sales Enablement Summit - the first time "in person" since 2019! Before the session, I was overwhelmed with nerves, sweating, and feeling sick. However, as soon as I stepped on stage and started talking, all those anxieties disappeared. I was able to fully focus on my content and deliver it with confidence. It was a reminder that even though I may not consider myself a pro, with the right strategies and mindset, anyone can overcome their presentation jitters and deliver a successful talk.
Now, let's dive into the techniques that can help you prepare for your presentation, select the appropriate attire, maintain a clear throat, schedule a dry run, and build an engaging and interesting presentation that will captivate your audience.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare:
- Start by defining your objectives and understanding your target audience.
- Research extensively on the topic to ensure you have a deep understanding of the subject matter.
- Add some research statistics or research findings to support your points and provide credibility to your presentation.
- Organise your content into a logical structure, focusing on key points and supporting details.
- Prepare visual aids, such as slides or props, to enhance your presentation.
- Practice your delivery to ensure a smooth flow and confident delivery.
Dress for Success:
Mind Your Diet:
Before giving a presentation, be mindful of what you eat and drink. Did you know that dairy products, particularly milk, can cause phlegm buildup in your throat, leading to throat clearing and potential discomfort during your presentation? To avoid this, refrain from consuming any dairy products for a few hours before the presentation. Instead, opt for water or herbal tea to keep yourself hydrated. Mineral water or green tea is always a good choice! Another good tip is to avoid beans, peas, cabbage or other items that can cause bloating and discomfort in your belly. I don’t have to mention onions and garlic I hope 😉
Dry Run for Success:
A dry run is a rehearsal of your presentation without a live audience. It allows you to practice your timing, transitions, and overall delivery. When to dry runs? What works for me: A week before, a day before and the morning of my presentation - in front of a mirror, in those clothes, I'll be presenting in, hair & make - up ready so I’ll see the full picture.
I would suggest rehearsing (prla ce presentation in front of a friend, colleague or mentor to see how you come across, and what you trying to say makes sense). Practice in a similar environment, using the same equipment and setup if possible. This will help you familiarise yourself with the surroundings and minimise any surprises during the actual event. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and gestures to ensure they align with your message.
Engaging and Interesting Presentations:
To captivate your audience, focus on these key elements:Start with a Hook: Begin your presentation with a captivating hook that grabs the audience's attention. This could be an interesting statistic, a thought-provoking question, or a compelling story related to your topic. Something relevant for your audience.
Storytelling: Humans are naturally drawn to stories. Incorporate relevant anecdotes, personal experiences, or case studies that relate to your presentation topic. This will help your audience connect emotionally and engage with your content.
Visuals and Multimedia: Utilise visual aids, such as slides, videos, or infographics, to complement your speech. Visuals help reinforce your message and keep your audience engaged. However, use them sparingly and ensure they enhance rather than distract from your presentation.
Interactivity: Encourage audience participation and engagement by asking questions, conducting polls, or facilitating brief discussions. This involvement helps maintain interest and keeps your audience actively engaged throughout your presentation.
Clear and Concise Delivery: Be mindful of your pace, enunciation, and clarity of speech. Vary your tone and volume to emphasise key points and maintain the audience's interest. Use simple language and avoid jargon to ensure your message is easily understood by all.
Pro tip: If you can, choose the Lavalier mic!Choosing a microphone that is attached to your clothing or body, rather than a handheld microphone! Why?
Seamless Control: By opting for a microphone that is attached to your clothing or body, you can have better control over your presentation. With both hands-free, you can comfortably hold a presentation clicker or remote control to navigate through slides, emphasising key points without interruption. This allows for smoother and more professional delivery, ensuring that your message remains the primary focusExpressive Gestures: Speaking with your hands can be a powerful way to enhance your message and engage your audience. When you don't have to hold a microphone, you have the freedom to use natural gestures, pointing, or illustrating concepts, which can make your presentation more dynamic and visually appealing. Your non-verbal cues and movements can complement your words, helping to reinforce your message and connect with your listeners on a deeper level.
Eliminate Visible Shaking: It's not uncommon to feel nervous during a presentation, and this nervousness can sometimes manifest as shaking hands. With a microphone attached to your clothing or body, any minor hand tremors or shaking will not be visible to the audience. This ensures that your presentation remains polished and professional, without distractions caused by visible signs of nervousness or by dropping the mic during your speech 😂
Connect with people:
Connecting with people on LinkedIn has become an essential aspect of professional networking. To make it easier for your audience to connect with you after your presentation, you can utilise LinkedIn's QR code feature or create a Linktree. Let's explore both options:
1. LinkedIn QR Code: LinkedIn offers a convenient QR code feature that allows you to connect with others quickly. No more: “Sorry, how do you spell your name” embarrassment. 😉 To use this feature, follow these steps:
a. Open the LinkedIn mobile app and navigate to the "My Network" tab.
b. Tap on the QR code icon at the top right corner of the screen.
c. From here, you can either scan someone else's QR code or display your QR code for others to scan.
d. To display your QR code, tap on "My Code" and show it to your audience on the last slide of your presentation. e. Interested individuals can then use the LinkedIn app's scanning feature to scan your QR code and easily connect with you.
2. Linktree: Another effective method to consolidate your online presence and make it easily accessible to your audience is by creating a Linktree. Linktree is a platform that allows you to compile all your relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile, personal website, blog, social media accounts, and more, into one central hub. Here's how you can use Linktree:
a. Sign up for a Linktree account on their website (linktr.ee).
b. Once registered, you can add links to your various online profiles, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, your company website, or any other relevant web pages.
c. Customise your Linktree to match your branding or personal style by adding a profile picture, background image, and personalised description.
d. Once your Linktree is set up, you can generate a unique QR code that directs people to your Linktree page. e. Include this QR code on the last slide of your presentation, allowing interested individuals to scan it and explore all your online profiles and resources in one place.
By incorporating either the LinkedIn QR code or your personalised Linktree QR code on the final slide of your presentation, you provide a convenient way for your audience to connect with you and access all your relevant links. It simplifies the process and ensures that potential connections can easily reach out and engage with your professional online presence. Remember, leveraging technology and embracing digital networking tools can significantly enhance your networking efforts and facilitate meaningful connections long after your presentation has concluded.
By following these steps, you can present like a pro and leave a lasting impact on your audience. Thorough preparation, dressing appropriately, mindful eating, and engaging presentation techniques are the pillars of a successful presentation. The key is to approach each presentation with confidence, authenticity, and a genuine desire to connect with your audience. With practice and continuous improvement, you can master the art of presenting and leave a lasting impression on your listeners. So, embrace the opportunity to share your knowledge, tell compelling stories, and inspire your audience with your presentations. Go forth, present like a pro, and watch as your impact grows!