Presenting: How to Make Sure You Win Them Over

The ability to give a strong and convincing presentation is a skill that few are fortunate enough to master. This is something that all business people will come across quite frequently in their working career, so it’s best not to try and avoid the inevitable and get on top of it as soon as possible.

You will come across different places that you have to make presentations – from a big board room hour long presentation – to a 5 minute ‘elevator pitch’.

It is important from the beginning to see this as a chance to show your interest on a subject and to pass this enthusiasm and knowledge onto your audience. Here are some tips on how to brush up your skills

1. Practice, practice, practice!

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? This old adage will come back to you again and again. If you want to be the best you have to work at it, things do not come easy in life; if they did then everyone would be doing them!

With regards to making a presentation – make sure you know your topic thoroughly to be able to answer any questions your audience may have.

Give your presentation a logical structure to make your presentation easier to follow, and therefore easier to recall.

Run through your presentation several times (preferably to a third party) and check you have covered everything you need to within an appropriate time limit.

Also, check that the presentation room has all the equipment required beforehand. Being prepared will calm your nerves and give you more confidence on the day of the presentation.

2. Three Big Points

A technique that I have to make sure that a presentation will be a success is to outline the three main points that you want to convey. Three is a good number because any more would be tough for people to remember and you want them to be able to take as much as possible from the meeting.

Write these down before the meeting write them everywhere, personal organisers, Filofax, on your walls, on your hand anything! Know these points and if nothing else on the day, deliver these points.

3. On the big day

Everyone gets nervous before giving presentations. Just be careful not to let nerves get the best of you! The nerves are what give us the adrenaline to perform – if we were not nervous we would not perform to the best of our ability.

There is a lot of work that goes into the science of body language and speaking technique, I think the key is to engage with your audience, I guess what that means is to be open to them, try to engage them , speak in a language that you think they will understand. Make sure that your body language is open and positive, as research shows that up to 90% of meaning is derived from body language, whilst only 10% is actually derived from verbal communication.

Lastly, remember to smile, make eye contact and (at least appear to!) enjoy yourself to keep the audience engaged. It is always a good idea to leave something physical behind for them to remember you by. You can leave a soft copy of the presentation on a memory stick or it may be more appropriate to prepare in advance and have printed copies of the information kept in envelopes, be sure to use c4 envelopes as they will look more professional than another variety. Doing this can help to make you and your business memorable, and that is the key after all!

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