Business Presentations – 7 Steps to Creating Powerful Presentations

I’ve just been on holiday. And like most people I bought some books at the Airport. The first book was by James Patterson, the second by Jeffrey Deaver and the third by a new author. What I loved about the first two books was that they had a really clear premise, someone got murdered and someone else had to find the killer, and second there was a clear structure to the book and the characters. There were easy to read.

But the third book was different. I just couldn’t figure out what the book was about. I had to keep reading the back page to try and pick up the thread of the story. Also there was no clear structure, the book kept changing locations and characters. After sixty five painful pages I just gave up and left the book in the villa for someone else to read, after-all I suppose there’s a chance it was just me (it wasn’t).

I just couldn’t help making the connection between books with no premise and no structure and change management presentations with the same problem.

I have sat through so many presentations, made by external and internal consultants, managers and leaders where there was a clear remit to present the findings of an analysis, explain why the problem occurred and then point to the direction of the solution, but they failed to engage the leader. This happened because there was no clear definition of the problem, premise, or coherent structured points for how to improve the business. In short the leader got lost, bored, and like me on holiday, lost interest in the story. What’s worse is that in most of the cases, the analysis and the solution were good. But the consultant lost out simply through lack of structure.

See here’s 7 points to help you plan your next presentation

o Write out the main problem you are trying to solve in the presentation

o Start planning by asking three questions you will answer in your presentation

o Write three answers under each of the questions

o Under each of the answers make a note of evidence that supports each point

o Make sure you have different types of evidence, mix statistics and stories

o After each of your three answers write a short summary

o Write out your conclusion in one sentence

Presentation Skills – You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Have An Impact!

Are you worried about giving the perfect speech? Does the thought of having a minor typo on your Power Point slides or saying, “Uhm” once or twice, terrify you?

Don’t worry. You do not have to be perfect from a “speech contest” point of view, in order to make a positive impact on most audiences. Instead, think about the best speakers you have seen. What impresses you about them?

Usually, the best speakers are passionate and care deeply about their message. They may not be technically perfect in their delivery. But, it does not matter. Their passion and connection to the audience makes the difference.

Focus on your message, not your mechanics:

I have studied presentation skills for the past 20 years. I have learned dozens of great techniques. But, I got trapped into trying to be “technically perfect.” I worried about using the perfect gesture or Power Point slide rather than focusing on my message. I became too mechanical. I looked wooden on stage.

I needed to focus on my “message”, not my “mechanics.” Once I started focusing on my audience members, I was more passionate and had greater impact.

Your message is what counts:

Your message is more important than being technically proficient from a “speech contest” viewpoint. What is your message? Why is it important for your audience to hear it? Why are you the best one to deliver this message? Once you answer these questions, your passion will shine through to your audience.

Make a connection with your audience:

One of the most important skills I teach in my “Delivering Persuasive Presentations” seminar is how to connect with an audience. Your passion shows in your eye contact, voice and body language.

Don’t read from a script. Instead, talk to your audience. Don’t hide behind a podium. Instead, step in front of the podium and connect with your listeners. The more passion you show, the more you will connect with your audience.

Go to as many training courses as possible. Learn new skills. Practice your techniques ahead of time so they become second nature to you. Then in front of a group, deliver your message with passion!

Remember, “You don’t have to be perfect to have an impact!”

© 2008 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada

4 Ways to Exhibit Confidence When Giving a Presentation

Imagine this is what will happen to you the next day. You are going to give a presentation to a group of people whom you have not met before. The presentation topic is something you are familiar with because this is not the first time you present this topic. As a result, you believe that you can do a good job to deliver this topic smoothly to your participants. On the day of your presentation, unexpected events happened. You have unconsciously used a wrong phrase to explain a concept and you participants spotted your mistake. You have just discovered a typographical error on one of your slides. You were challenged by one of your participants who disagreed with a point you made in your presentation. How would you react to these unexpected events?

Here is the truth. In all presentations, always expect the unexpected. If you were hesitant, your confidence level would go down immediately and this could affect the flow of your presentation. The question is what you could have done to maintain your confidence level notwithstanding these unexpected events. In this article, I am going to share with you 4 tips that could help you to exhibit your confidence when giving a presentation.

Dress appropriately

As a speaker and trainer, I do presentation on different topics, for example, tax training and personal development training. I have my own dress code for different types of training.

In my tax training, most participants will be working professionals. Hence, I will put on my business suit to make me look professional. This is always my way of building rapport with this group of participants and raising my credibility.

When it comes to my personal development training, I will dress differently. The reason is that my participants can come from all walks of life and it does not make sense to wear business suit. Instead, I tend to wear black shirt because studies have shown that black colour signals power and authority. Whenever I am in black, I feel strong and unstoppable, and this helps to boost my confidence level and prepare for the unexpected events during my presentation.

State clearly your purpose

Have you come across with speakers who are experts in their relevant fields but do not look confident when giving presentation? Based on my own research, I discovered a secret. That is, they do not have a clear purpose of giving the presentation. There is a saying that “the bigger the why, the easier the how”. What this means is that we must know why we are giving the presentation before doing it.

Here is what I do for my presentation. I will write down my purpose of giving that presentation. I will put myself into the shoes of the participants and ask this question – “Why should I listen to you?” Very often, what I have written down becomes part of the introduction of my presentation and this is another powerful technique of building rapport with my participants and maintaining my confidence level.

Learn to say “Yes”

I am not sure if you notice that we are surrounded by a lot of negative people and negative thoughts. I was told before that for each positive statement we made, there would be 14 negative statements before and after that. In my presentation, I do my best not to allow any negativity to be present because I know that it will affect my confidence level.

Here is what I do in my training. I encourage my participants to say “Yes” with me whenever opportunity arises. When saying “yes’, say with conviction and make sure that all the people in the training room can feel the positive energy. Positive energy in my view is clearly a booster of my confidence level.

Put on our listening ear

Here is my final tip – to put on our listening ear. As mentioned above, one of the unexpected events is that my participants do not agree with what I said in my presentation. Even though I feel strongly that I am right, I will remain silent and let my participants finish their point. I will listen carefully to what they say and handle the objection tactfully based on my business training. Sometimes it may be useful to handle such objection offline because the longer it drags on, the more negative energy will be built in the training room, resulting in a drop of my confidence level.

I hope you enjoy my sharing. Use these tips if they make sense to you and share with me your success stories in my website. I would love to hear from you.