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PRESENTATION SKILLS: HOW TO CREATE POWERFUL + DYNAMIC PRESENTATIONS

By Keith Abraham
PRESENTATION SKILLS: HOW TO CREATE POWERFUL + DYNAMIC PRESENTATIONS

My top ten tips to improving your presentation skills.

I attend many conferences around the world each year. Over 2,000 conferences in over 20 years. I have seen my fair share of boring and dull presentations. Now, I can appreciate for many people, being asked to do a presentation is not their core role, however, it is how your team, your peers, your customers and your bosses will rate you.

I work with a handful of CEOs each year to assist them in turning their dull content into a dynamic presentation that achieves four objectives: engages, enthuses, energises and entertains their audience.

I do this by working on three key components:

  1. Contentwhat you want to say
  2. Contexthow you’re going to say it
  3. Confidenceto deliver a message in an inspiring, informative and insightful way

Over the last 20 years as a professional presenter, I have seen and experienced so many different situations. I have also been mentored and coached by some of the best presenter coaches in the world so I can master my craft and deliver world class keynotes and workshops.

Here are ten tips to improve your presentation skills and make all the difference to your next presentation.

1. USE ONE WORD OR ONE LINE SLIDES

It’s ok if you are speaking for 20 minutes and you have 20 slides. More slides, less words will keep people engaged and their mind tuned into what will happen next. Use a large font size in a contrasting colour so it stands out from the background. Use builds if you have multiple points, but at all cost avoid having bullet points.

2. USE LARGE IMAGES OR PICTURES

Get away from boring backgrounds and free templates. Use a photos or graphics from an online stock library such as iStock or Shutterstock, they are royalty free and high resolution. Couple this with a bold quote or a a few key words, it will look great and automatically you will be considered different from the last person who presented.

3. IDENTIFY YOUR 3 KEY POINTS

Your audience will not remember more than three key points. So build a presentation around the three key points you want people to walk away with. I like to wordsmith these points into three same letter words. Example: Change; Capitalise; Content; or Passion; Plan; Progress; or Innovating; Improving; Implementing. Why do this? So your audience members can share with their colleagues what you spoke about, ‘Keith spoke about how we need to have Passion, a Plan and make Progress.’

4. HAVE A STRONG OPENING

In other words, know exactly what you are going to say in the first 60 seconds. You can start with a quote, an unknown fact, a story or a relatable situation that has just happened at the conference or in the news. However you start, know exactly what you are going to say, rehearse it until you know it word for word. Then when you stand up to present you can focus on how you will say it, not what you will say. Do this and you will come across confident and experienced to your audience.

5. TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO TELL THEM

Every time you stand up in front of an audience they have three WHAT questions going through their mind. What is this all about? What are they going to do to me? What is in it for me? Share your three key messages and what you want people to do during your presentation, e.g. interact with you, write notes, generate ideas or ask questions. Let them know what they will be able to do, change or achieve after your presentation.

6. DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE 3 WAYS

For each message you deliver, you need to support it with either a story, statistic, example, model, solution, a group activity or an analogue. The question is how do you make your message memorable; repeatable and transferable? Not everyone is going to get it, because you said it. You have to say it differently, in different ways from different angles. This takes time because you will have to do some research or use a story from a book or online.

7. NEVER FINISH ON QUESTIONS

I see this all the time and it never goes well.

Presenters who finish on questions get three results. Result 1, they don’t get any questions and their presentation falls flat. Result 2, they plant questions in the audience, but everyone knows the question is a plant and you lose credibility as the audience wonders what else you may have staged. Result 3, you do get questions, but the person who asks the question is making a statement or giving an opinion which takes the group’s thinking away from your message. Remember, the last words linger!

8. CLOSE WITH A CALL TO ACTION

If you want to have questions in your presentation, ask for questions before you give your summary and close. That way if there are no questions, or if someone gives their not so ideal opinion, you can recover from it. You want to recap on the three points you spoke about and then close your presentation. The best way to close your presentation is with a story, a quote or a call to action. You have to be specific and direct with your audience on what you want them to do next and why you want them to do it now. You can make these points through a couple of closing slides. Practise your close like your opening so you are confident and competent.

THE BEST WAY TO CLOSE YOUR PRESENTATION IS WITH A STORY, A QUOTE OR A CALL TO ACTION.

9. KNOW THE LAY OF THE LAND

I always check out the venue before I speak. To view how and where people will be seated. Look at where the projector is positioned, check if everyone is going to be able to see you regardless of where you stand. By getting to the room early you can test your presentation, your slide sequence and the remote mouse. You can also rehearse not only your opening, but where you are going to stand when you deliver your opening. Know where to position yourself when you want people to focus on the slides, and where to stand to answer questions from—if they come from the left side, stand on the right side and if they come from the right side stand on the left side.

10. PRO TIPS

Use music in the background when you ask the audience to participate in an activity. Purchase your own remote mouse and make it a Logitech Professional Presenter R700 because it has a timer and it will vibrate in your hand when you have five minutes and one minute remaining—so you can avoid looking at your watch during the presentation. Try not to have anyone with his or her back to you when you speak. Make sure you have plenty of light on your face, if you are standing in the shadows or have low light on your face, find a spot that has the best light to position yourself. If people cannot see your face, they will not hear your message.

I know these simple tips will make all the difference when you stand up to present at your next event!

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