If you take the time to examine some of the leading experts in business, one of the first things you will notice is that they have mastered the art of giving a public speech. Whether it be in front of shareholders, clients, industry peers at a business conference, or to your colleagues at work, if you are seriously committed to building your business or career, you will need to master your presentation skills so that you can speak at a conference or a business meeting.
If you want to inspire and captivate your audience on a specific topic, then it may be worthwhile to refine your own presentation techniques. One thing is certain: The success of a public presentation depends in large part on how you present your content, especially when it comes to negotiating a business deal.
Your rhetorical talent and your ability to entertain and engage audiences are key factors that play a role no matter what topic you choose. However, careful preparation is essential if you want to make the most of the time you have available for your presentations and showcase your strengths. Not only does proper preparation help you craft your speech to ensure it maximizes every second of the time allotted, but it also helps you overcome any nerves you may have.
- Know Your Audience & Topic
Before you commit to writing out your presentation, you should ask yourself about the audience you are speaking to. For example, it makes a big difference if you are speaking in front of 20 people versus 200. In the first case, you can more easily respond to the audience and also involve each of the listeners more in a thorough discussion.
Whereas with a larger audience, this can quickly take far too long; you should therefore interact instead in the form of short polls, small puzzles or other participatory activities more suitable for an audience of this size. Understanding the audience will also play a vital role in the topic you select. Depending on their knowledge, you will need to identify something they will deem of interest. Whether you want to talk about cutting business expenses or getting more customers, you need to have a solid understanding of who you are speaking to.
Regardless of the size of the audience, it is also extremely important to know what the audience’s prior knowledge is. People have very short attention spans which means you need to be offering them something compelling and beneficial right away or they will lose interest. If you can’t gain their interest in the first two minutes, you will lose them and they will either walk out or start looking at their phone. If you study some of the most effective keynote speakers, you will see that their first two minutes create intrigue right away.
In principle, it is recommended to make the presentation as simple and understandable as possible. But you have to anticipate whether your audience has some basic knowledge or not, and this should be reflected in your oral presentation. A specialized audience is sure to be bored if you explain the basic terms of an industry or sector to them, but this may be exactly what is needed for an audience new to the field who is not specialized.
- Presentation Tools
For a presentation, we can now rely on a wide choice of technical aids and visualization tools. The most frequently used include:
- Laptop, slide show (PowerPoint) and video projector
- Overhead projector
- Whiteboard ( whiteboard )
- Flipchart ( flipchart )
- Bulletin board ( bulletin board )
All of these tools provide the ability to support and energize your presentation and thus make the content easier to understand. However, the prerequisite is to judiciously integrate these tools into your presentation. The basic condition is that the appropriate equipment is obviously available on site. Be sure to check beforehand with the organizer or the people in charge in the company whether the planned supports are available and are functioning correctly. If, on the other hand, you use your own material, you must then test it on site at the latest on the day of the presentation in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises during your speech.
Tools should perform their functions by serving only as supporting elements (which should be used inconspicuously). Presentation via a slide show (in the form of printed or digital slides), which has become the norm today, should only allow you to view the content and not replace the conference itself: the principle is that your presentation can also function without assistance. or additional tool. If there is a technical issue, you should be able to deliver your content without a slideshow or video , so you don’t have to cancel the presentation or interrupt it prematurely.
- Develop Your Content
As soon as you understand your audience and the types of tools you will have at your disposal, you can start by creating the content and slides for your oral presentation. The first step in this process is to understand the main theme of your topic and the key questions you will be answering. These preliminary considerations help you structure the talk will give you every chance of a successful presentation.
The introduction is especially important for your speech as it will quickly gain the audiences interest. The possibilities of creating a captivating and stimulating introduction are however very varied. You can get the audiences attention with these simple techniques:
- Formulating a provocative or divisive thesis
- Telling a joke or a personal anecdote to introduce and lead to the subject
- Presenting an introductory video clip
- Linking your topic with current events
- Asking your audience a question
If you watch some of the more popular business speakers, you will see that most of them use these techniques.
As soon as you have decided on your topic of theme, you can then start to create an appropriate and structured presentation. Make sure (as already mentioned) that the visual aid complements your presentation and not the other way around. Also, try to keep the number of presentation slides and the number of text elements as low as possible, otherwise your audience may be mostly busy with the slideshow and have difficulty keeping up with the oral presentation you made.
- Practice Your Presentation In Advance
The last step in preparing your presentation is to go through it in detail at least once. To do this, go through the presentation step by step and think about the wordings you can use to refer to or explain certain content. If these wordings occur to you later on with almost no reading due to sufficient preparation, then you will appear to have mastered the subject.
In general, it is helpful to take notes or create index cards, which can be used as a reminder on the day of the presentation, especially if you lose track. If you have the opportunity, you should also make your presentation in front of other people in advance. In this way, you can receive valuable comments and interesting feedback on your public speaking style, on the content and overall understandability of your presentation, allowing you to refine your presentation skills. Also rehearse your full presentation at least once to see if you are keeping to the allotted time given by the organizer or employer.
Lastly, there will be some nerves and anxiety you may need to work on. One of the key factors of giving a presentation is being calm so that your voice does not come off sounding off or strenuous. It is important to find techniques that can keep you relaxed and in a positive state of mind. Whether it is meditation, affirmations, or going for a run the morning of your talk, you need to spend some time to find what works for you so that you can overcome any jitters that may impact your ability to give a great presentation.