4 ways to improve your presentations
Do you love giving presentations? I thought not; most people don’t.
Here are four simple techniques that boost two key things – your confidence and your chances of success. They are:
- First impressions
They’re easy to remember – the initial letters spell FLIP.
How you start sets the tone for everything. Have a great first sentence and your next ones will probably go well. Have a shaky opener and it will impact on the rest.
So, practise your start. A lot. As a simple guide: spend 20% of your preparation time on the first 2% of your presentation.
And don’t just practise it in your head. Say it out loud. Go to the venue beforehand and say it there… anything that ensures you’re good on the day.
Another important element of your first impression is your title. It’s going to be hard to wow a room if your presentation’s called “Q2 update”. It’s much easier if it’s called “Three things our competitors can never do”.
Doing all this will take about 10-15 minutes. Not a lot when you think about the huge impact it will have on your audience.
Links between slides
Good links between slides give your presentation flow and pace. But most presenters don’t consider how to link slides together. Often, they use the next slide to prompt them. But if you can see the slide, so can your audience. So they know what you’re about to say.
It is well worth scripting how you’ll go from one slide to the next. Then say it before you click on the next slide.
Here’s an example: slide 8 discusses finances; slide 9 covers messages. So, after covering slide 8’s content but while that slide is still showing, you’d say: “So, as you can see, the finances are strong. Let’s now see how we’ll achieve these numbers, through better messaging.”
And then you’d click to bring up slide 9.
Again, it doesn’t take long to script your links. So it’s minimal work for a great return.
Audiences prefer to be involved in some way – it’s much better for them than just sitting, watching and listening for hours. So get them involved. Options include:
- Ask them to write something down;
- Give them a quick exercise to do with their neighbour;
- Do a quick quiz;
- Show them something funny, so they’re involved by laughing;
- Ask questions.
Audiences like presenters who show passion. And they switch off from those who don’t have it. So find your passion. And make sure it comes out in your presentation. You should feel passionate about at least one of these:
- Your content;
- The afters – why you/the audience/others will be better off afterwards;
- Your job;
- Your company
So try using FLIP next time you’re presenting. As long as each of the FLIPs are there, you’ve a great chance of impressing your audience.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Bounds,? communications expert.