1. Start by identifying the purpose of the presentation for your audience
The key thing to ask yourself is ‘what’s in it for the audience?
2. Use key messages and a simple structure to convey your points
The best presenters communicate clearly and concisely with speeches that are easy to follow
3. Make your material relevant and interesting to your audience
Keeping an audience’s attention is quite straightforward if your material is adapted to their specific needs and interests. Audiences like to know you’ve done a bit of homework for them
4. Rehearse your presentation at least twice before you make it
It’s even better if you can record your rehearsals. This speeds up familiarity with your material and dramatically improves fluency
5. Make sure your presentation has a strong impact at the beginning
Your audience will be most attentive at the beginning of a presentation – engage them then and you’re likely to keep them
6. Show the audience that you care about your message and them
Showing passion for your subject and a genuine interest in your audience always goes down well
7. Use light touches of humour when you can to build rapport
It doesn’t need to be a stand up routine. Occasional humorous comments help make a connection with people
8. Only use Powerpoint when you absolutely have to!
Powerpoint will generally send audiences to sleep unless really well used. Far better to ditch the slides and speak directly to your audience
9. Wear something that makes you feel good and is appropriate
A smart, well-groomed appearance will boost your confidence and impress your audience
10. Get training and spruce up your skills
All good speakers have had training. Buy a self-help guide or sign up for a presentation skills course.
© Jacqui Harper