Be a Good Presenter (Pocket Guide to Success)

Introduction

There are many types of presentations ranging from educational to selling. However there is common theme to most presentations that is you want to get people to buy into your ideas, concepts and products. 

In order to do this you have to be inspirational and persuasive. Sell yourself and your ideas.

To summarise a persuasive presentation is the ability to communicate your ideas in a way that they are understood and acted upon. 

To be persuasive you need to connect with your audience. People buy on emotion and justify with fact.

The purpose of the presentation is to stimulate the audience’s emotions so that they are motivated to act. Your ability to present an inspirational and persuasive presentation is dependant upon the content and structure. 

If the presentation is over heavy with boring content or structured in an illogical manner that makes it difficult to deliver and understand, you will stand little chance of achieving your objective of being inspirational and persuasive.

Therefore when having to deliver a presentation you need to consider the two key components of:

1. Production – Content & structure 

2. Delivery techniques – Being inspirational and persuasive, easy to follow and understand

This Be a Good Presenter Pocket Guide will provide you with the techniques to producing and presenting presentations that are both inspirational and persuasive thereby connecting with your audience and delivering results.

Producing a Persuasive Presentations

1.      When producing your presentation start by asking yourself the following questions.

1. What is my point of view?
  • Why am I making this presentation?
  • What is the purpose/objective?
  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How do I feel about my subject?
  • What is my position on my subject?
  • What is the current state of affairs regarding my subject?

2. Who is my audience?

  • What is their level of sophistication/understanding of the subject matter?
  • What is their interest in the subject?
  • What needs do they have that my presentation will address?
  • What their attitude is towards my subject?

3. What should the audience do as a result of listening to my presentation?

  • Action steps

4. How will the audience benefit from listening to my presentation?

  • Address the W.I.I.F.M factor (What’s in it  for me)

The answers to these questions will help you to formulate the content and structure of your presentation in order to achieve your objectives.
 

2.      Tailor the presentation to your audience; this will increase the chances of achieving your objectives.

3.      Remember the presentation is intended to be the highlights of your subject matter not all the low level detail; this can be included in the appendix.

4.      Less is more; the less you have to say to get your points across the greater the clarity and understanding of your presentation.

5.      Use short sentences to communicate points. This makes the presentation less wordy and easier to understand.

6.      Use positive language; e.g. I am confident, I strongly believe, not passive language; e.g. I am trying, I think, possibly

7.      Use emotive words to describe your points, this will enable your audience visuals what you are saying which and create impact. People think in pictures to be persuasive you need to get people to be able to visualize what you are saying and get a sense of feeling. Use examples, metaphors and analogies to get your points across.

“The most difficult things for a man to do are to climb a wall leaning towards you, kiss a girl leaning away from you, and to make an after-dinner speech.”

You get the picture and a point well made.

Quotation by Winston Churchill

8.      Structure the presentation logically to ensure that it is easy to follow and understand.

9.      Remember to get the right balance of fact and opinion. What the audience is mostly interested in is your interpretation of the facts and your opinion as to what is going to happen as a consequence.

10.  Link your points so that your audience can follow your train of thought and understands the relevance of what you are saying in relation to the overall presentation.

It is a fact that most people only listen to the beginning and end of a presentation

11.  Therefore make sure you open and close with impact.

Ensure that you cover all of the key points in the introduction and the conclusion leaving the audience motivated and keen to take action.

A simple structure to illustrate this is;

1. Tell them what you are going to tell them

2. Tell them

3. Tell them what you have told them

Production of Slides

  • Slides should be designed to support you during your presentation not to replace you.
  • Use slides to communicate points that you can not do verbally using graphs and charts.
  • Use slides to help maintain the structure of the presentation.
  • Distil information/text down to trigger words/sentences
  • Restrict slides to five to six lines with one point per line
  • Do not overly complicate slides by having text and graphs referring to different points
  • Above all do not just read what is on the slide the audience is capable of doing that themselves

Using the Slides

  • When revealing new slide pause to allow audience time to absorb what they are seeing
  • Use text as trigger points that you can elaborate on and bring alive
  • Explain graph/charts; relate to the point you are making and how it supports your argument 

Typical Structure of a Presentation

 

When producing your presentation, where possible stick to the rule of three. Most people can only remember three points, so if you can use three supporting arguments to convince the audience of your point of view they are more likely to remembered and have the desired impact.

Delivery Techniques

1.      Mental Preparation

When presenting a persuasive presentation you need to be mentally prepared, this means being focused on your subject and putting all other distracting thoughts out of your mind.

If you are not focused you will lose your train of thought, digress and lose your structure.

2.      Be Natural & Confident

Come across as being natural and confident when presenting. To do this you must be well prepared, this comes from rehearsing your material until you do not have to rely on notes.

3.      Posture

Posture creates an immediate impression about you with the audience; they interpret what they see and make decisions about you and how you feel about your subject.

It is important to create a very positive impression that communicates confidence, openness and that you are happy to be delivering the presentation.

A positive posture is created by standing with your feet shoulder width apart with your weight evenly distributed to both feet.

Your arms should be by your sides or gently clasped your hands at waist level.

You will find that when talking your arms will naturally move to reinforce your points.

4.      Eyes

The audience can tell a lot about the presenter by looking at their eyes; about the way you feel about their subject and how confident they are in their material.

Lack of eye contact can lead to a lack of trust and credibility.

It is therefore vital to make eye contact with your audience as much as possible; if you are not looking at the audience they will subconsciously think you are not talking to them and switch off.

Think of presentations as a number of one on ones, sweep your audience looking at each in turn before moving on to the next person.

5.      Pause

In a lot of instances it is not the speed of delivery that make presentations difficult to understand and follow but the lack of pauses.

People often use non-words such as ‘um’s’ and ‘ar’s’ to fill the gaps between points giving the impression that the presentation is just one long monologue.

You should use pauses to allow the audience to digest your points and create clarity.

Whilst the audience is absorbing your point it allows you to breathe and think of your next point

Do not use non-words to fill gaps but be comfortable with the silence, three to four seconds is an acceptable amount of time to pause.

Pause at the end of each thought or idea, or where you would like to create greater emphasis.

6.      Movement

An audience can be energised through positive movement. A lack of movement will send them to sleep, and too much movement such as pacing up and down can be off-putting and distracts the audience from listening to you.

Positive movement generates energy and connects you with the audience. It will convey the message you are confident and relaxed.

You should come across as natural and command the space you have to work in.

As part of your preparation & rehearsal think about appropriate times when you should move.

7.      Gestures

Gestures are used to reinforce the points you are making. Gestures generate energy, increase emphasis, build trust and increase the believability in the ideas you are communicating.

A lack of gestures leads to a dull and boring presentation. When presenting do not stand with your arms folded, in your pockets or behind your back.

Restricting your gestures prevents the release of energy and the ability to connect with your audience.

Consciously think about the words and points you are making and reinforce with the appropriate gesture, if the markets are going up reflect this in your gesture.

8.      Facial Expressions

People are observing you and making decisions about the type of person you are and if they can trust you.

Typically people firstly observe your facial expressions to determine the sort of person you are.

When nervous our facial expression can take on a ridged and stern look which may come across as being negative closed and unapproachable.

Our facial expressions can communicate many emotions from concern to happiness.

When presenting you need to control your facial expressions to ensure that you are communicating the right messages.

Think about what you are saying and reinforce with the right expression.

If you look and feel confident and relaxed it encourages our audience to feel the same way.

9.      Vocal Behaviour

The voice generates interest and retains the audience’s attention throughout the presentation if used well.

This means you need to have variation and animation when presenting.

A dull monotone voice will turn your audience off and they will not listen to you.

You need to have a strong voice where you are presenting so that you project your words to the audience to ensure clarity and authority.  

The main ingredient to a strong voice is air. It is important to breathe deeply in order to fill your lungs with air. This will enable you to project your words to the entire audience, not just the people in the front row. 

You also need to think about how you are saying the words to ensure that what you say and how you say it match up. If they don’t the audience will place greater emphasis on how things are being said as to what is being said.  

E.g. If you are concerned, sound concerned, if you think it represents a good opportunity sound enthusiastic.

Getting Ready to Present 

A concern that many people have of planning and preparing is that if they do too much which results in them coming across as wooden and unnatural.

When it comes to rehearsing for the presentation George Bernard Shaw summed it perfectly in his quotation; 

“I am the most spontaneous speaker in the world because every word, every gesture and every retort has been carefully rehearsed “

When it comes to presenting you want to prepare and reharse to the point where you are comfortable with you material and are clear on the key points you want to get across. 

Having done this you can then focus 100% on delivering without having to continue thinking about what you are saying. 

This will make you appear more spontaneous and natural, its when you are having to think too much about what you are saying that you will have a problem. 

Also remember you do not have to be word perfect your audience will not know if you have not said something the way you had originally planned. As long as you get your key points across and achieve your objectives; job done.

Equally you do not want to be a slick or perfect, people have a habit of looking for mistakes if someone appears to be too good.

Ideally you want to come across as competent, informative and interesting.

SUMMARY 

All of the above should work in harmony with each other. Once you have mastered these skills you will be able to deliver persuasive presentations that deliver results. 

I hope you have found this over view helpful. If you would like any further information on being a good presenter please do not hesitate to call me.

David Howard

Tel: +44 (0) 1494 815599

or hit the button and I will get back to you.

Best of luck with your sales.

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