If there is one thing that we are called upon to do at least once in our professional lives that is likely to get our pulses racing and palms sweating it’s giving a presentation.  I know that whenever I have been asked to make one the dread I have felt in the run up to the actual event has far outweighed the fear I have actually felt when giving the presentation.  Is this because I have rehearsed and rehearsed until I can ‘perform’ it in my sleep?  No it is because I use both images and text to engage the audience and give my message as much clarification as possible.

Somehow I feel that the presentation pro of Debut Marketing, Miss Julie, would have been far better equipped to write this week’s post but as she actually did a very successful presentation just a couple of days ago I think it is only fair that she enjoys a well deserved rest and that you are stuck with me…!

Anyway, moving on…the aim of your presentation, topic and audience should all help dictate  the type of pictures you use and how often they interject the spoken content.  The reason for your presentation may be to educate, present an idea, pitch or sell a product or service or simply to convey information.  But regardless of why you find yourself in front of an audience with all eyes on you for what will seem like an eternity, in order to be memorable, your presentation must be compelling and persuasive.

Much like any marketing activity, to keep you on the right path and avoid embarrassing backtracking, a presentation must follow a structure in order to be a success.  Keep in sight your end goal and follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of actually enjoying your brief stint as a public speaker.

Are you sitting comfortably? When thinking of your structure, hark back to your childhood and compile the content in the form of a story.  Be engaging and try to involve the audience by adding points that they will be able to relate to or even making them a character in your story, after all, how often have you seen an interactive presentation?

Go in with a bang!  How you do this is entirely up to you but I find a single word in font 500 that initially appears a random choice but that is actually a cleverly related buzz word or an unexpected image greeting them first thing is a sure fire way of gaining their attention, interest and intrigue.  You can also use your chosen opener as a trigger to remind you of specific points you need to make.

Double Up. Instead of the pre-empted, blah blah blah introductions that most of us only really do to as a safety blanket technique, keep it short and sweet and let the audience know how you are going to link your chosen ‘bang factor’ word or image to the decision you want them to make.

Think outside the box chart. If your presentation consists of facts, figures, percentages or other equally dull ways of quantifying something try spicing it up with images your audience can relate to a bit better.  E.g. The 75% ROI the company made last year is the equivalent to three quarters of a football pitch…almost a full team formation but not quite, the goalie is missing who is acting as the last 25% in this analogy. (Did that make sense? Maybe I should have picked something footwear related?)

Customise your chat. Be it age, profession, interest or culture, chances are that every audience you present to will be different and more susceptible to variations in pace, lingo and presentation length. Keep your vocabulary, tone, content and images relative to your audience in order to keep their attention.

Picture Perfect. Even if you are a seasoned and captivating speaker, no audience will want to sit through a presentation made up entirely of words.  Break up great sections of speech by interspersing aspirational images of situations the audience members could quite happily see themselves in to bolster your ‘pitch’ and help plant the seed of desire.

Hopefully these pointers have dispelled any feelings of dread you might encounter if faced with doing a presentation.  They are daunting and believe me, most people feel exactly the same when preparing for a public speaking event but just remember to practise in order to be able to speak to the audience and not your notes and try and only use your slides as triggers and to reiterate important pieces of information.

I now deem you ready to go forth and wow any audience  – good luck!   Next week we will be back in the comfort zone and as it is the last blog before I do Race For Life I will talk about how charities approach marketing.  Bye for now.

Easy Presentation Pointers

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