Image by James Duncan Davidson.
The number one fear is public speaking. Unfortunately communication in front of our peers is an integral part of business. The place where you are likely to be delivering your most important message is the boardroom.
A presentation can be your opportunity to shine. You have the time and the audience to make your views and ideas heard.
But the boardroom is an intimidating place. Beside the clichéd advice of imagining everyone in the room naked, what can you do to ensure your presentation is a success?
Create a story
A presentation is not necessarily a one way conversation – asking yourself questions, and then answering them during the course of your speech, will help your audience to identify with your material.
Have a logical sequence in your presentation. Everyone can relate to a story with defined parts. You may be tempted to miss certain parts out, thinking that your audience has a firm understanding of various processes, but it’s best to communicate whole picture.
Which equipment to use?
A mistake that people often make when creating a presentation is coming to rely on the slideshow running behind them. Another classic mistake which I’m sure you never make any way is to have too much content on the screen at once. Four one-point slides are better than one four-point slide.
You should not be reading text straight from the projection. You can recite the same text if you have remembered it but do not just stand like a zombie and read it word for word. This will make you seem that you have not prepared yourself well enough and people will not believe you are genuinely interested in anything that you are presenting.
If you are presenting to a large audience and a microphone is available to use, then always take the option of using it. It takes a lot of energy for your voice to generate volume so that everyone in the room can hear. You will end up being too loud for the people at the front and too quiet for those hiding at the back. Make sure your Hi Fi speakers are positioned correctly, just as if you were setting up surround sound for your own lounge.
If you are presenting in a conference hall, speaker brackets can elevate speakers and your voice and therefore your message will be projected to everyone in the room. The pronunciation and tone of voice will count for a lot in your presentation so make sure people can hear you and understand what you are saying, both literally and figuratively!
Just because you have set-up the HD projector and have the Bluetooth remote working, it doesn’t guarantee that your presentation is going to be a success. Yes, all these things are helpful for both the professional aesthetic of your presentation and to break down complicated ideas and concepts, but they should not be a substitute for the actual content you’ll be delivering.
It is hard to cut out a great looking video or graphic from your video, but you want people to remember the core ideas and not just a funny but irrelevant video of a gorilla! Saying that, there is no reason that you shouldn’t get creative. If there is something that demonstrates your idea perfectly, then why not include it in your presentation?
Be strong with your message
There are a lot of different psychological techniques that people swear by in their presentations. The most important thing that I would stress is that your audience takes away a message. You may feel like you are repeating yourself throughout the presentation but the more you touch on a core idea, the more memorable it becomes.
Make a brief but strong opening case at the beginning of your and similarly at the end of your presentation. Keep your intended message core to every element of your presentation and you’ll be onto a winner!