Presentations start long before you stand up to speak. Mental preparation is at least as important as physical rehearsal. The key to success is positive visualisation – picture yourself delivering a powerful and effective presentation. Master communicators also have a set of beliefs to help them, such as ‘you don’t have to be perfect you just have to be you’ and ‘there’s no such thing as failure, just the chance to learn’.
The most important part of your presentation is the end. That’s what people remember so don’t run out of steam before you get there. When you’re preparing, allow enough time to plan a big finish – and deliver it like you mean it.
The second most important part is the beginning. Don’t start by going through housekeeping. Ideally, get someone else to introduce you and make sure that you start by getting your audience’s attention.
4. Once upon a time
People like a good story. They want to know what happens next and, if it’s good, will pass it on. This makes personal stories a brilliant device. Plus you don’t have to remember what you’re going to say because it actually happened to you. It’s also a useful way of thinking about your presentation as a whole – what’s your story and what’s its point?
5. The kit kat
Make your audience wait. It’s your show so take your time and remember to take a break. Silence can be more dramatic than turning the volume up, so use it.
6. The drill
Remember to use pace – speed up and slow down. It’s important to create change for your audience and varying the tempo is a good way of achieving this.
7. The hammer
Don’t mutter a great point. Emphasise your words, but make sure that they’re the right words. Changing the emphasis can change the meaning so think not only about what you’re saying but also how you say it.
8. Touchy feely Only
7% of communication is what you actually say, 38% is tone of voice and 55% is physiology (original study Birtwhistle and Mahrabian).This is why using your voice and the right body language is so important. Props are powerful visual tools as they’re tangible and hit people between the eyes.
9. The right technology
Making a presentation isn’t about rushing to PowerPoint to write thirty slides of text-heavy bullet points. Technology can play a role however, especially if you use it for pictures rather than words. There are some sexy interactive tools out there which allow you to deliver leading edge presentations but still retain the personal touch. Plus if you want to get really inter active get your audience to tweet you during your presentation with their own contributions.
10. Look who’s talking
Presenting is about getting your personality across whether you’re in a room with one person, 100 people, or for that matter, several hundred people. Be confident about who you are and let it shine.