Whether you are persuading colleagues, selling a client, or energizing a team, the power of your presentation makes the difference between success and failure. These techniques are useful for managers, executives, sales people, and anyone who might meet members of the media.
Anyone who is part of a workplace will find the opportunity to utilize these techniques whether they are presenting to colleagues, clients, or potential investors. There are four stages to perfecting your presentation:
Plan — Determine how your topic relates to the audience. Define the purpose of your talk as it relates to the outcome you seek. Plan the content of your presentation around your purpose, your audience’s interest, and the audience’s level of understanding of the topic. Use words and phrases common to your audience, and focus on your purpose.
Prepare — Establish a positive mindset by valuing your message and preparing the structure and timing of your presentation. The structure consists of three parts:
- The attention-getting opening. Use a question, make a startling statement, or relate a relevant incident to elicit the audience’s interest. The opening makes up 5 to 10 percent of your presentation.
- The key ideas. Your presentation should contain 4 to 6 different points that you must back up with evidence such as statistics, testimonials, demonstrations, and analogies. Make sure that the key ideas all support a coherent message. Your discussion of these points should make up 80 to 85 percent of your presentation.
- The memorable closing. You can close by summarizing or restating the message or by throwing down a challenge to your audience. A close that relates back to your opening can also be effective. Whatever you choose for your close, be sure you tell your audience what action you want them to perform. The close should make up 5 to10 percent of your presentation.
Practice — Review your content, rehearse, and get feedback on your presentation, and build enthusiasm and confidence to present. Rehearse the timing of your presentation to be sure that it falls within your time limits. Be sure to allow time for questions, if it’s appropriate. Consider videotaping yourself rehearsing, and then review the videotape for distracting mannerisms and other signs of nervousness. Remember that the best cure for nervousness is confidence and that confidence comes with practice.
Present — Make a positive first impression. If possible, establish eye contact with your audience. Be yourself and relax. Own your subject and build rapport with the audience to hold their attention and project the value of your message. When speaking, be natural. Speak in a heightened conversational tone. Slow down and emphasize important points, pausing before and after key points to set them apart.
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