6 Presentation Tips You Need
We use presentations to convince people of our ideas, express our ideas or support our research. Presentations are a powerful tool for comms planners to wield, and it is thus essential to develop a persuasive presentation style and deliver presentations with confidence.
Here, I’ll talk about the presentation skills you need to master the meeting:
- Prepare for Success
- Your Tone Matters
- Convey Confidence (Even When You Don’t Feel It)
- Maintain Your Audience’s Attention
- Tailor Your Presentation
- End on a Strong Note
Prepare for Success
There’s a difference between seasoned advertising vets and new starts. Before a presentation, new starts will be working frantically; making sure they’ve aligned every box. The vets aren’t focused on the details of the presentation. Rather, they’re reviewing the slides and mentally preparing the story that they’ll tell.
So learn from the greats- when preparing to present with authority, it is vital to rehearse what you’re going to say. Even in the most last minute of situations, you should still review your presentation and work through you story in your head.
Then, get to the room early to test the technology setup. Prevent the all-too-common tech hiccups and get started on the right foot by setting up the room 5–10 minutes early.
Your Tone Matters
Audience members react to the presenter’s tone. If you speak with conviction, they are likely to trust you. If you are monotone, stumble over words, or speak dismissively, your risk losing your audience’s attention. If you can convey that you care about and believe in what you’re saying, then the audience will too.
Convey Confidence (Even When You Don’t Feel It)
Many people feel anxious speaking in front of a group. It will disappear as you practice and give more presentations. But, to get over any jitters, there are methods you can use. One of them is to employ “Power Poses” as detailed by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk. Smiling and acting relaxed makes you look confident, even if you aren’t. And speaking about frankly about what you know and don’t will not only make you feel confident, but will translate in the room.
Most of all, remember that the audience is on your side and wants you to succeed. Typically, you have the same goals of the meeting so know that people in the room will be rooting for you.
Maintain Your Audience’s Attention
Here’s an easy way to bring people’s attention toward your presentation: talk about them. Using words like “you,” talking about shared pasts (“we did this together in the last meeting” or “we all wanted to go to Disney as children”), name-dropping individuals in the room or asking questions are great techniques for involving your audience. This also works to re-engage people if you catch them looking at their phones a bit too often!
If your presentation is meant to be a long one, it is good to plan for interactive bits. The most common method is pausing at the end of the section to see if there are any clarifying questions. For certain meetings, it can be very helpful to go around and ask people what they hope to get out of the meeting. Other methods include asking people to summarize what they had just seen in the previous section, pausing for 5 minutes of brainstorming, or simply asking rhetorical questions that make people think.
Tailor Your Presentation
Make sure you tailor your work to the style of your audience. If you’re presenting to clients with a short attention span, bring your most important points to the start and keep it simple. If you’re presenting to clients who ask lots of questions about the details, make sure you’re including examples in your work and talking through all points on your slide. Or if you’re presenting internally to your colleagues at the end of a long day, consider making your presentation fun with more causal language or lighthearted images.
There may be times when you’re presenting to clients that you might not have met. In that case, meet with the account team to see if they can give you a read on the client. Alternatively, you can assume the tone of how a brand talks about themselves on their websites or in their work would describe the kind of values the business has and use that to think about your audience.
End on A Strong Note
There are two general rules that help when organizing your presentation. One is that a good way to structure your presentation is to tell the audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Another is to understand that an audience is likely to only remember three or so main points from your presentation afterwards. A strong conclusion will help cement your main points in your audience’s mind.
To close on a strong note, prepare ahead of time with a recap of the main points, showing how the approach can be applied in different scenarios, or perhaps posing a provocation (ex: asking how people will use what they learned in the upcoming week). Again, involving your audience and making people think about how they will use this information is a great way to have them internalize what they hear.
Use all of these tips, and prepare yourself for this.