Presentations can be powerful when they are done well. Creating powerful presentations is not as difficult as you might think. This article gives you nine simple tips for making better presentations.
1. Tell a story
Perhaps the best way to make your presentations better is to tell a story. Stories are engaging because your audience wants to know how the story ends. Your story should have a beginning, middle, and ideally a surprise ending.
2. Keep it short
You have heard the phrase “Leave them wanting more.” Most presentations run much longer than the audience’s attention span. Improve your presentations by identifying your key messages – one to five messages. Focus on those key messages only. Cut all the other content from the presentation. Your audience will thank you, and they will get more from the presentation than they expected.
3. Use images
Visual images are more compelling and memorable than the written word. Use them. Your slides and other visuals should be image based. Putting the words you are going to say on your slides causes your audience to read ahead rather than listen. When the slides contain images it causes your audience to listen and relate what you say to what they see.
4. Less text per slide means more information
Your presentation should provide your audience with a lot of information. But you should not put all of the information on your slides. Slides and visuals that are packed with text overwhelm your audience. You are the source of the knowledge. Let your visuals, including your slides, add interest to your story.
5. Know your material
If you do not know your material, you should not be presenting. Learn the story before you take the stage. Presenters who do not know their presentation often ignore the rules above because they cannot present the material if it is not written on the slides.
6. Leave space for the message to sink in
Get comfortable with silence. The natural pauses in your presentation provide time for your audience to process what you have said. Go further, create intentional space in your presentation to give your audience a chance to think about what they are seeing and hearing.
7. Make eye contact
Part of the power of a presentation is you, the presenter. The real human connection makes your message more compelling. Actively create that human connection by making eye contact with at least five points in your room – the four corners and the middle. If you are not interested in making a personal connection with your audience, then perhaps a memo would have been more appropriate method of conveying the information.
8. Learn to Project
If you are someone who finds it difficult to fill a room with your voice, then practice. A presentation that no one can hear is a failure. Learn to project your voice to fill a room. If the room is too large, use a microphone.
9. Be early
Good presentations often start before you take the stage. Being early gives you time to: get comfortable with the space, correct any problems with equipment or staging, and adapt to the inevitable setup issues.
There are many ways to make your presentations better. The tips provided in this article are some of the most effective techniques for creating better presentations. Try them and see if you can unleash the power of your message.