In many businesses, presentations are a way of life. You might have three or four big presentations every single week. The question is, are you making the most out of these opportunities, or are you sort of running through the motions? Sadly, most are doing the latter. But with a few key techniques and strategies, you can take your presentation skills from average to noteworthy.
5 Powerful Presentation Tactics
Presentation skills aren’t innate – they’re cultivated over time. If you’re looking for a way to take your presentation skills to the next level, the following tactics will help:
1. Know Your Audience
It’s impossible to deliver a persuasive presentation without knowing your audience. In particular, you should familiarize yourself with:
- Roles. Whom are you speaking to? There’s a difference between a gatekeeper and a decision-maker. You’ll speak differently to a room full of superiors than you would to a room of subordinates. Understanding roles is arguably the most important element of knowing your audience.
- Pain points. What problems exist for your audience? How are they trying to overcome them? How can your presentation bridge the gap, so to speak?
- Pressure points. If pain points are major problem areas, pressure points are the issues that make your audience uneasy. They’re uncomfortable talking points that require proactive solutions.
- Communication preferences. It’s helpful to understand the communication preferences of your audience. Some people want cold hard facts, while other people like funny anecdotes. Some people prefer thorough presentations, while others would prefer to hear the highlights and main takeaways.
You won’t always be able to uncover this information, but it’s helpful when you can. If nothing else, it allows you to tailor your delivery to the individuals on the receiving end.
2. Tell a Story
The most compelling business presentations are the ones that tell a story. Storytelling is akin to filling in a pencil drawing with color. It brings life to the framework and makes it easier for people to relate with the subject at hand.
With storytelling, you want to make sure you don’t get too lost in the details. Be sure to balance your anecdotes with substantive material. If there’s too little of the latter, your presentation will fall flat and people will be left searching for correlation.
3. Use Unpredictable Visuals
One of the worst things you can do as a presenter is develop a PowerPoint presentation that includes every single talking point on a slide. A busy, complex visual display will overload people with information and encourage them to stop listening. Instead, you want to produce simple, yet unpredictable visuals that complement your presentation without overpowering what you’re saying. Try using a single image for each slide, or even a one-word display that communicates your main point.
4. Hand Out Booklets
In this age of digital oversaturation, there’s something to be said for physical interaction. You can make a statement by handing out booklets that coincide with your presentation. Something simple is all you need. With an online printing service, you can get booklets very inexpensively and with a short turnaround time.
5. Keep it to 3 Points
For all of the amazing things the human brain is capable of doing, it’s severely limited in its ability to remember lots of information in a single sitting. Researchers agree that three takeaways is the most you should leave an audience with on any one topic.
“The sad reality is that we live in a world with short attention span,” public speaking expert Scott Schwertly writes. “Presenters either win hearts by being succinct or they neglect this responsibility and get forgotten forever. Therefore, the stage or front of the room is not the appropriate place to exhibit your depth of knowledge via 17 different takeaways. No one is going to remember them, or you.”
When planning your presentation, it’s best to have a short intro, followed by three simple points, followed by a concise conclusion that ties everything together.
Seize the Opportunity
Whether you’re an intern at a small business or the CEO of a large organization, every presentation is an opportunity. It could be a chance to earn a promotion, or to motivate people to move toward a larger goal. Whatever the case may be, you need to be prepared to seize the opportunity and make the most of the time you have. By improving your approach to delivering business presentations, you’ll notice a significant improvement in how you plan and execute. Naturally, this will lead to superior outcomes that spark positive results.
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