Presentation Tips to Engage, Connect and Transform Your Audience
Great presentation skills can be learned and taught. Here are seven tips for presenting a message that will resonate with your audience and keep them fully engaged.
Every presentation provides a unique opportunity to draw the audience into an experience that will leave them transformed. The most successful presentations ensure that listeners do not leave the same way they came. Tools such as PowerPoint may be used to aid the transmission of a message, but the biggest assets at any presenter’s disposal are delivery and style. Here are seven tips for making your presentation come alive:
Define the Message
What is your presentation about? If you can’t summarize your message in a succinct phrase or two, chances are your audience won’t be able to either. Take a few moments to crystallize and fine-tune the point(s) you want to get across.
Prepare / Practice
The adage ‘practice makes perfect’ isn’t just pithy, it’s true. Disorganization and a lack of preparedness are certain to make an impression on your listeners, just not the impression you want to make. Spend time setting up your presentation tool, with a specific effort to employ visual aids such as pictures, charts or animations that will grab your audience’s attention and help to underscore the highlights of your message. Partner these with a mix of designs in the presentation tool format in order to vary the flow of the text and prevent the content from coming across as stale or unappealing.
Once set up is complete, practice your presentation by performing a few dry runs in advance. This will help to determine the ideal cadence of your delivery by identifying points or areas which can be touched upon lightly versus those which call for additional time or emphasis, as well as opportunities to invite questions or other feedback from the audience.
Establish a Connection
When it’s time to deliver the presentation, hit the ground running by asking a question or making a statement designed to elicit a collective response that will establish a connection between yourself and the audience and within the audience as a whole.
Tell a Story
Keep the momentum going by delivering your presentation as if you are telling a story. Using the tool and aids you’ve prepared, craft a narrative that will take your audience by the hands and lead them on the journey you have laid out for them.
Maintain Eye Contact, Smile and Nod
The best stories are told with the eyes. Avoid staring at a spot on the wall or in the space between your listener’s eyes. Truly engage with your audience by making eye contact, smiling and nodding to acknowledge one on one connections even in a room full of people.
Leverage Body Language
Along with your eyes, use your hands and even your voice to enhance the connection with your listeners. Raise or lower your voice at appropriate moments and be mindful of the negating effect of crossed arms and hands held in pockets or clasped at the back.
Make the Session Interactive
Maintain the audience’s engagement by asking questions, inviting feedback and requesting examples that will help bolster your presentation.