So you’ve got to do a presentation...here’s a guideline and some handy tips that will help you.
The five P’s – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Before you do anything understand what your objective is. Also make sure you know exactly what the client wants you to present and try to get an idea of format and length. For example, are they are going to pretend to be a customer and expect a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation from you on their existing range of products and why they should buy them?
- Practice makes perfect so rehearsing on your own, in front of a mirror or even to willing friends / family will help give you a relaxed and professional delivery
- Depending on the importance of the meeting you should spend anything up to 15 minutes preparation per minute of actual presentation, possibly longer
- Learn your presentation so that you can concentrate on your audience rather than reading your notes
- You should feel confident and satisfied about what you have prepared. If you are thinking “well, that’ll do” then it probably won’t…
There are three basic steps to the structure of a presentation:
- Tell them what you are going to tell them (outline the presentation)
- Tell them (deliver the presentation)
- Tell them what you told them (summarise the key points delivered)
The best way to start is write a brief, rough outline of the presentation always keeping in mind what the client wants to know. You can then start to add more detail to this section by section.
Make sure that you are clear why you are making each point – do they follow a structured path leading to your objective? Try to target each point to the client and the presentation’s overall purpose making them not only relevant and succinct, but also demonstrating your knowledge of the client’s business.
These are good since they:
- Help the audience focus on what you are saying
- Make the presentation more interesting
- Help to explain the points you make more clearly
Make sure that your visual aids add to your presentation and that you can use them properly – e.g. know how PowerPoint works before the presentation.
- Ask yourself if the point you are making is relevant to both the audience and the presentation itself
- Ideally use only three or four bullet points per slide
- Keep the points short using key words – you can then expand on each one in turn
- Do not simply read out what’s on the visual!
If you have handouts then leave them until the end – they will only distract people during the presentation. Also try to leave questions until the end of the presentation, unless they are vitally important to the client’s understanding, otherwise it may break your and their trains of thought.
You may have an excellent presentation lined up, but if you don’t deliver it in the right manner then you may as well not be there.
- Relax and be natural – but not casual
- Be aware of your body language – be open
- Be enthusiastic – it can be infectious!
- Smile in a genuine and friendly manner
- Be positive!
- Use eye contact as much as possible
- Stand up straight and don’t lean on anything
- Don’t have hands in pockets or play with pens etc.
- Remember their name, use it and get it right!
- Be courteous and cheerful even if they are not
- Put yourself in the client’s shoes at all times
- Speak up and speak clearly to your audience – set your volume to the person furthest away from you.
- Pace your speech since you will always tend to speak faster than normal
- Don’t forget to ask if they have any questions and also to thank them for their time