Hook Your Audience from the Word Go
Unless you grab your audience’s attention from the word ‘go’, there’s no way they will receive the message you want to convey through your presentation. Everyone who is present may not really have a personal interest or desire to learn from the presentation. Some may be there because their attendance is expected; there will be others who might be there to check whether any new information is going to emerge from a topic or subject they already know a good deal about.
Know Your Audience
To be able to tailor your message to your audience, you must have in mind the audience profile prior to creating your presentation. This is where presentation skills training comes in handy. Such training will tell you how to check out your audience in advance. One of the major pitfalls of a presentation is when you are making a technical presentation to a tech savvy audience, and waste time in sharing information they knew when they were so high. It would be more to the point if you caught their attention with some nugget of information they didn’t have.
When you know your audience, you also know what not to say or discuss as it might cause attention to digress into irrelevant issues. Instead of taking a high ground, speak to them as though they are your friends come for a friendly discussion. Your presentation must answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” from the audience perspective. When you choose an interactive style, and involve the audience, they’re hooked and try to relate to the presentation.
Use These Tips to Make a Great Presentation
Preparation is key to improving presentation skills. You should first check out the venue. Nothing can ruin your presentation more effectively than logistic goof ups and technical failures. If you need to use the overhead projector, make sure in advance that it is functional. Check out the sound and lighting of the venue. Most important, have a written presentation which you read through carefully. This will ensure that references are not just accurate, but also that no inappropriate references are made.
Some presenters think that having a handout for the audience helps in grabbing their attention as they know what to look out for. Use language and body language effectively. Format your presentation to ensure it has the maximum impact. Don’t depend too much on photos, pie charts, and graphics. Paint word pictures, and let people visualize.