Killer Presentations

by Andrea Ruiz

While most of us don’t give TED talks, we still have the need to apply great presentation skills every day in business. In fact, delivering great presentations is becoming more challenging with increasingly global and cross-functional audiences. But, it’s not impossible. In fact, it can be fun. After presenting in many countries to people from many countries around the world, I learned there are 3 primary guidelines to ensure an excellent presentation.

1. Simplicity and great substance go hand in hand. A powerful talk doesn’t cover everything. Instead, it finds the gems and builds out. What are your most important learnings? Why are they important? What can be done? To be concise, you’ll have to go deep, really understand your content and apply it using examples or stories. If an idea is truly good, you will be able to illustrate it quickly. Above all, remember that your talk has a goal, and whatever it is (sell, promote, inform, empower, etc) make sure you include a clear and simple call to action at the end.

2. Aesthetics are essential. According to 3M, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. That means human beings are visual. Crazy how a little title page could set the tone of your presentation. Clean graphics are a language in themselves, and that’s a plus when you need to communicate across languages or cultural barriers. Graduating from PowerPoint doesn’t have to involve hiring a pricey designer. At Zumaeta Group, we love tools like Canva — a simple graphic design software — which gives you an edge when it comes to visual content.

3. Lastly — and some find this questionable — don’t rehearse too much. There’s nothing worse than acting and sounding like a robot. Know your stuff of course, but be ready to interact with your audience. The KPI for your presentation is how well the audience responds, not only at the end, but throughout the entire talk. And one of the best tactics you can use to engage them is to view your story from their point of view. Who knows, they may even start asking questions, commenting without raising their hands or even (gasp) laughing. That’s when you know it was a killer presentation!

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My name is Andrea Ruiz, and I help companies get, keep and grow customers at Zumaeta Group. We treat our clients like family, and are serious about delivering tangible results with a personal touch.