Less Common Presentation Tips
As an entrepreneur or business owner, it is very likely that at some point you will be faced with giving a presentation to market your company’s products or services. Or you may need to make presentations regularly to your lenders or partners, or to your staff to train them. Regardless of the cause, bad presentations can be remarkably painful to both yourself and the audience.
Some less-conventional presentation advice:
Luckily, there’s plenty of research available to save you from boring your audience into a coma. One of the simplest yet often ignored rules: duration. Research has shown that an effective presentation should not exceed 20 minutes in duration. An experiment testing the difference in effectiveness of a 60 minutes presentation, versus a presentation that was cut into 20 minutes segments, with short breaks in between, showed that people enjoyed the 20 minute presentations more, learnt more information immediately after, and retained more information a month later.
Another tip is to seek out experienced presenters and mimic their technique. With the amount of material available online today, it’s easy to find a presenter, or even a group of presenters, that you find most effective, and watch their online material to pick up on their tricks (Google TED Talks for some of the world’s leading speakers). An expert presenter often looks flawless and spontaneous, making jokes up on the spot to keep the crowd engaged. Most of the time however, if you watch the same presenter on several different occasions, you’ll find that they have fined tuned a particular method that they found effective, and stick to that theme, integrating it into their presentation style. By watching them and picking the techniques you like, you can adopt your own presenting style.
Be organized. Remember that the flow of your presentation doesn’t necessarily need to make sense to you; but it absolutely must make sense to the general audience you are addressing. It is most likely that you will be presenting a subject you know and understand better than your audience. Take that into consideration so that the natural flow of your points make sense to people with less knowledge on the topic. Each idea should naturally lead to the next – a good way of testing this is to practice on someone who will be of a similar knowledge and understanding to your listeners.
When using PowerPoint in your presentation, here are some words of advice:
- Your slides should not be a distraction. Many novice presenters try to use outlandish visuals and sound effects to keep their audience engaged. This should not be the case. You should be the center of attention keeping them engaged, and the slides should merely be an aid driving your point across further. Keep it simple.
- What you say, and what the slides say, should not be identical. The slides should genuinely compliment and enhance what the speaker says. Traditional bullet points summing up what you will say will put everyone to sleep: the notorious “death by PowerPoint”.
- Enhance your presentation by adding in stories that will engage the audience and address their creative minds. Keeping the listeners interested by drawing their attention away from the slides, and toward an example that is told through a story will help them relate to the message you are trying to relay, which in turn will help them retain that information for much longer.