We all want to create better business presentations but it can be daunting to deviate from how you’ve been doing it for so long.
Taking those steps to changing the way you create your presentation doesn’t need to be intimidating or hard work, I’m going to outline 3 simple steps that will change your presentations for the better and make you a better presenter in the process.
The first step – what’s your story?
To create any great presentation you must first understand and outline your story. By having your presentation follow a story format, you will have a clear start, middle and end to focus your content.
Creating a start, middle and end gives your presentation structure and helps you organize your content, rather than adding everything, it will assist you to determine what content is relevant and how it all fits together.
Your presentation is not for you, although it’s yours and you’re going to design it and deliver it, ultimately it’s not for you, it’s for your audience. As soon as you start designing your presentation for you you’re on course to fail. You may be interested to know the detailed breakdown of the year’s figures, but are your audience? Or do they just want to know that this year profits were up and by how much? By making the audience your focus, you change the direction of your presentation, it becomes targeted, your presentation won’t become a series of prompts for you, it will instead become an informative and engaging speech.
The second step – The slides
Once you have your story and messages in place, rather than heading straight for the laptop and being restricted by the software you are going to use. I would suggest sketching your presentation slides out on paper. By sketching you have more freedom and will think differently. You’re not focused on what you can achieve within the software but instead illustrate how you want the slide to look if you could have it exactly how you wanted it.
There are many rules to creating great slides, but the one I think stands out the most when wanting to achieve better presentations is asking yourself “can it be read and understood in 5 seconds?” Every time you put up a new slide no one is listening to you, FACT! The longer it takes your audience to digest the content on the slide the longer they are not listening to you. Don’t put anything on your slides that you are not going to cover in your speech, think of your slides as a co-host, you wouldn’t talk over your co-host, but badly thought out and designed slides talk over you.
There are, of course, a lot of best practices to creating great presentation slides, many of which can be found on our blog, including using the right imagery to convey your messages and top consultant tips for a better presentation.
The third step – Practice
If you design your presentation using the first two steps, your slides are now not crammed with information to act as prompts and you will definitely need to practice. The audience’s attention can be easily lost so you need to make sure you deliver your presentation with clarity and enthusiasm.
One of the key things presenters often forget when delivering a presentation, is that listening to someone reading their slides to an audience doesn’t instil any confidence in what the speaker saying. Delivering your presentation without any prompting shows the audience you know the content, you’re passionate about and believe in it, it’s important to you and therefore to them. If you haven’t bothered to really get to know it why should they?
By practising, you should be able to deliver your presentation without any slides at all, your slides are there to re-enforce your messages clearly explaining complex data and graphics if necessary. By getting to this stage you will be able to produce much better business presentations and will clearly notice a difference in the audience engagement.
There is a lot more to creating an outstanding presentation but these three steps will steer you in the right direction, if you need more help with your presentation, please call us on 01420 520 843 we’ll be delighted to help.