Presentations can be daunting and the cause of stress for many professionals. No matter how many times you’ve done it, presenting in front of others can be a challenge. The dynamics are always different, whether it is the audience, the location or the topic. The key to any successful presentation is preparation and confidence. If you prepare enough, you will appear confident - even when you aren’t really feeling it.
Here are 5 ways you can make sure that your presentation runs smoothly:
1. Don’t try to be a comedian
Many people make the assumption that being funny will help them get their point across. While understated humor may help you make a lasting impression, it is important to remember exactly why you are there. It is not to entertain the audience, nor is it to make them laugh. There is a reason for you standing at the front, so make sure you remember that!
2. Make a point in the first 15 seconds
Instead of starting with a dry joke and then launching into the history/background, how about going straight to the point and identify exactly what you will be presenting. People are aware of your purpose in the room, so make sure you act confident and don’t let the audience guide the presentation - you are the one in charge.
3. Give a wakeup call to the audience
If you start off boring, it is more than likely than the majority of the audience will be in passive mode after 15 seconds. What you need to do is to give them a wakeup call in the shape of an interesting fact or an extraordinary figure. For example: “150 times - that is the average number of times an individual checks their phone” - it is a fact that applies to everyone and should spark the audience’s interest - that is if this statement is relevant to the topic you are presenting.
4. Identify the agenda
Give a quick overview of how you will be proceeding with the presentation. There is nothing worse than attending a presentation where the presenter goes on and on, without any indication of stopping. So make sure you break up the time with refreshments, question/answer and other speakers.
5. Involve the audience
Another thing you can do to maintain a good rhythm in your presentation is to involve the audience. Ask questions and take questions from the attendees. This helps people get involved and be more actively involved in your presentation.