Whether you are presenting to the board, to the sales team, to your boss, or to a client, you are counting on your presentation to deliver a powerful message. Many times, you can have truly great content and information, but fail to convey the subject matter the way you had hoped. So how do you make sure that your next presentation is a hit?
The secret to a successful presentation is in the preparation.
Knowing the information in depth, forming questions to pose, memorizing important numbers and figures… those aspects are a given. What people don’t always prepare, however, is having an understanding of the audience, developing a 3-point focus, and practicing in front of a group.
To leave an impact on your audience and successfully deliver your message, delve deeper into preparing your next presentation with these three tips:
Align with the Audience
Instead of just considering who is going to be in the room, actually put yourself in that environment. Understand your audience’s attention span and interests, and how your presentation will be affected. Ask yourself some questions in an exercise to learn more about them.
• Where is your audience coming from, and heading to next?
• Are you presenting in the middle of a string of presenters, and if so, where are you in that lineup?
• What has been a good experience up until now?
• What time of day is the presentation? (9:00 on a Monday will bode differently than 5:00 on a Friday)
• What are the expectations of your presentation? Evaluate whether you are presenting a new concept, or something the audience already has some background information on. As part of this, note what was on the invite to the presentation, and how your presentation compares with this expectation.
• What do you want your audience to take away from your presentation?
Focus on Three Main Points
The fact is, your audience cannot retain multiple bullet points. What are the three you want them to remember? It’s okay to use sub-points to enrich your message, but be sure to clearly connect them to one of your three focus points. Once you have the concise concepts determined, hit those points several times during your presentation to reiterate.
Rehearse, Relax and Repeat
Don’t let your presentation flop because of a fear of public speaking or a lack of studying your subject matter. No one feels comfortable speaking when underprepared. Combat your nerves by practicing in front of a group. This will help you to hear your points out loud, and how your audience will react to them, as well as articulate how you will address certain points and transitions.
When you have mastered all of that, there is one extra thing you can do to ensure your success – get familiar with any unknown members of the audience ahead of time. Visit their LinkedIn profiles, research their industry or company, get together for a lunch hour, or if you can, attend a happy hour. The more information you have about who you are speaking to, the better your presentation will go.