Giving a Killer Presentation: How to Impress Your Audience and Achieve Your Goals
In my humble opinion, there are 4 key areas that one should pay attention to give a killer presentation. By using the phrase “a killer presentation”, I mean that you do more than just present your facts. I mean connecting with and impressing the audience in front of you – knowing that you gave your best whatever the audience’s reaction.
Here are the four practical areas that you need to pay attention to:
- Your Introduction
- The Flow
Research your topic. Don’t try to write your presentation straight away. Research is crucial. It is so important to your confidence to stand up to give your presentation knowing that you understand your topic and have thought it through.
Doing your research will also open up new avenues of thought and you may end up doing it differently (and better) than how you imagined.
This detailed research will also help you to be more clear and certain of what you are wanting to say and can open up interaction with the audience in certain places if you wanted. If you know your subject well, you will be ready to invite and engage with questions, which often makes a presentation more stimulating.
If your detailed research changes your initial opinion, this can create space for really interesting presentations. For example, you can make your presentation “a personal journey” where you explain ‘how’ and ‘why’ the research changed your initial opinion, why it left you undecided, or why it simply reinforced your belief with full confidence.
True honesty and being personal to your audience will always draw your people into your world of viewpoints.
An audience will decide on someone in a short space of time, consciously or subconsciously. They will quickly decide whether they will be open to listening to all that you have to say.
So it is important to start strong. You will be feeling nervous. But that is a good thing. If you can channel your nerves effectively, you can use the adrenalin to create powerful enthusiasm. You can open by saying your name and don’t feel awkward to repeat your name if someone has already introduced you. Try to start with something engaging – often a story can be a fun way to engage your audience and draw them into what you want to say.
Speak clearly, stop in between every few words so that you are not rushing and breathe in and out in a regular way whilst you relax your shoulders.
You must speak with a sense of confidence and whilst giving eye contact (or the appearance that you are giving eye contact) you must look at all the different angles for everyone in the room and not show a “favourite” side.
Take your time and enjoy it!
Now you are past the initial nerves and into the meat of your presentation. How do you see yourself? How do you see the people in the room? How do you see the world?
Something I like to do is to picture and imagine all of these faces:
– Someone smiling because this will relax you, and you will smile a bit without realising it, which will again help your audience to listen to what you are saying as they are not being drawn to your nervousness.
– Imagine someone whose face looks like they are not happy with you, and still smile back. Remember that the aim of any presentation is not to expect that everyone will see your views in the same way and you do not need to seek agreement at all times. If the audience has listened, that is all you can ask for.
I mentioned telling a story before. Similarly, I think the best presentations give practical, real-world, examples. These can be from your life or from someone that you heard of or something saw. This way you are adding that sense of reality to your audience. They can understand what you are saying because you are painting a picture for them with your words and giving them something they can understand and relate to.
Don’t be afraid to help paint the picture with your body language – don’t be too stiff. I am not saying that you need to walk around but if you are standing still, you do not want your eyes or your hands to come across as stiff and nervous.
Finally, repetition can be boring but it can also be effective if used well. Don’t be afraid to pause and repeat for emphasis and effect.
Simple but crucial – give yourself a compliment for giving your presentation.
Sometimes you will get a standing ovation, sometimes silence. But, whether you feel that you have impressed people or not, the key is that you put yourself out there and expressed yourself – and that is something always to be proud of. So give yourself a pat on the back!
Then take a few minutes to think about anything you could have done better. Write it down and go back to it later. We can always learn and improve.
Ultimately, giving a killer presentation is going to be down to you and your style. Being yourself – being authentic – is a really important part of communicating effectively. But hopefully, you will find some of these tips helpful!
Be loud, be proud, and be YOU!