3 Tips for Delivering a Great Presentation

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Happy Monday, y’all! With it being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, I’ve been reflecting on what an amazing speaker MLK Jr. was and how he moved so many people with his words. It also made me think about presentations that I’ve seen (both the good and the bad) and got me thinking about what it takes to deliver a great presentation that leaves your audience engaged and feeling like their time was well-spent.
 
Whether you present multiple times a week or just every now and again, presenting to an audience is an important skill that many of us are asked to do in our lives. I don’t know about you, but sometimes being asked to present in front of an audience can be a little intimidating, so today I’m going to share 3 tips for how I like to prepare for delivering a presentation.
 
I’ve gotten most of these tips from the professional development I had when I was teaching, as well as what I’ve learned from the business plan coaching I’ve given to students who participate in business plan competitions (they’re hosted by the non-profit that I currently work at).

3 Tips for Delivering a Great Presentation

Focus on your audience’s needs

Who are you presenting to – your colleagues? a potential new client? the board of directors? What do they want to get out of this presentation? Keep this in mind as you are creating your presentation and talking points. Proactively think about questions that your audience is going to have BEFORE the actual presentation happens, and think through responses to those questions, too. This way, you’ll be prepared and quick on your feet when those questions arise.

Hook your audience at the beginning

No matter what the subject is, it’s important to grab your audience’s attention from the very beginning of the presentation. Possible ways to “hook” your audience include starting the presentation with a short story, a startling fact, having a vivid image on the screen (or painting a vivid image in their minds if you’re not using a screen) – there are MANY ways to hook an audience! You can explore some TedTalk examples here. Basically, you want to grab your audience’s attention from the get-go so they don’t check-out or feel like their time is being wasted.

Use effective presentation techniques

We all know that it’s important to stand up straight, make eye contact with audience members, and not to talk a mile a minute. However, there are many other ways to engage your audience through effective presentation techniques. For example, before your presentation practice delivering the content and deciding on certain times in the presentation when you will emphasize something using a louder or quieter voice volume. Also decide when to change the tone of your voice (especially if you’re telling a story – bring the story to life!). In addition, using calculated pauses can really bring a point across by letting it sink into the audience’s mind for a few extra seconds (this also allow’s you to catch a breath!) or regaining the audience’s attention before an important point is going to be made.

Bottom line, great presentations don’t just happen – they are planned and practiced BEFORE they actually happen. I hope you found these 3 delivery tips helpful and can use them for an upcoming presentation.

What’s your favorite tip for preparing to deliver a presentation?

 

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