Making a presentation cuts down the time it takes for you to hold a meeting, which is a huge boon, seeing as how average office workers waste 31 hours each month on various meetings. Other than this, it makes your agenda much cleared and helps you keep your team on the right track. It also shows them the bigger picture which may motivate them by giving them a sense of purpose. In some scenarios, a business presentation is something that you’ll hold in front of potential partners and investors, which is why it needs to have a persuasive function, as well. All in all, here are several suggestions that will make your next business presentation truly great.
1. Try to properly time it
Even though it may seem spontaneous to the outside world and even though you don’t have to script every last word of it, the truth is that you need to know how much your presentation lasts. You can start using a stopwatch while rehearsing or, even better, you could film the entire thing and then re-watch it, later on. Once you play the recording, you’ll even get a chance to see if any of the arguments are watered down or if there are some themes that need further explanation and clarification. Cutting your presentation short should never be your main objective but, in general, you need to ensure that you finish all your arguments before you lose the attention of your audience.
2. Introduce your goal early on
It will be hard for your audience to start relating to things that you’re saying before you actually present them with a goal. By this point, they’ll be extra focused on what the presentation is all about, which will make it extra hard for them to start with the immersion. Start with a couple of statistics or mention research that indicates a problem or an opportunity and then immediately jump to a goal statement by expressing exactly what you intend to achieve. Then, try to introduce the methodology (step by step) through which you intend to achieve this by being extra careful.
3. Have everything prepared beforehand
Digressions may be a great idea when they’re deliberate. They can break the monotony of the presentation and help your audience get a short rest before returning to the subject matter. With that in mind, make sure that you have everything prepared beforehand. If you aim to use a visual presentation, make sure you have it on you. Searching for the USB drive once the presentation has already started is an unnecessary, even harmful, digression. Aside from this, if you aim to use any additional equipment like a laser pointer or a whiteboard marker in a bold color, make sure to get it beforehand and have it on you.
4. Ask thought-provoking questions
Several times over, we’ve mentioned the phenomenon of immersion as something that you can’t afford to ignore. Well, one of the easiest ways to do this is to ask a thought-provoking question and let your team get lost in their own thoughts. Before they know it, they’ll be listening to your every word, looking for something that could help get them one step closer to the answer. A traditional format like “When I started looking at his issue, I asked myself…?”, nonetheless, it’s up to you to format the question in any way that you see fit. Then, you can cut it all with a statement or, better yet, a quote.
5. Present this information graphically
When talking about it, 23 percent sounds a tad abstract, however, when presented on a pie chart, your audience will get to see exactly how big of a portion it takes. This is why you need to present the information graphically. Use graphs and diagrams, as well, and try to compare these finds with previous ones. People care about the progression a lot so the further back you go, the better. Still, you don’t have to compare each previous year. It’s more than enough for you to mark important milestones.
6. Prepare for the Q&A
At the end of the presentation, make sure to leave some room for difficult questions. Try to predict or anticipate some of the toughest questions that you may be asked and see if you can find an answer that will please your audience. Another thing you could try doing is have some questions of your own. Think about it, sometimes the audience will be too timid to ask questions, even though they do have them. Why not help them out by asking these questions yourself? You need to use anything that could make the points that you’re making clear and compelling.
If you decide to see this Q&A session as a standard part of your presentation, you should probably add another closing argument, after it. Here, you’ll sum up not just all that you’ve talked about but also address some of the questions that were asked in the process. Due to the fact that this is not as random as the Q&A, you can prepare an additional slide for it. This will help keep you on point, as well as do the same for all the participants. Needless to say, this is, by far, the best way to end your presentation.
8. Share the file with them
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to make this file (PowerPoint file) downloadable, so that your audience can download it, same as those who were unable to attend. Sure, this won’t be the same thing, due to the fact that your narration and non-verbal communication greatly contribute to the effectiveness of the presentation. In this way, nonetheless, you get to maximize your attendance, even if it’s not in its most ideal form. Remember, a conversion is a conversion and even if you manage to reach out to a single person this way, you have a positive ROI.
Each of the above-listed ideas contributes to the effectiveness of your presentation as a whole, however, its persuasiveness is affected by more than this. You need to find the right voice and assume a stance that plays well with your target demographic. The problem with this lies in the fact that it’s too context-dependent for you to have it all planned out in advance. Still, with these hints and pointers on your side, you’ll have a much easier job ahead of you.
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