Whether you’re overseeing a board meeting or pitching a new client, one of the most important skills for any small business owner are presentation skills. It’s normal to feel nervous speaking in front of crowds, but implementing these five tactical tips will help you overcome your anxiety and make your next presentation more memorable to your audience.
- Tell A Story
This is easily the most important tip for great presentations. Fact, figures, features and benefits are great, but no one will remember them. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said… but they will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s why fables, parables, and business books all have their message hidden within a story.
Using a simple Situation, Problem, Action, Result framework can help you outline your story. For example, to sell a light, you might tell a story about a client looking to reduce costs with LED (situation) but didn’t have the money to buy new fixtures (problem). So you retrofit their existing lights so they could use LED bulbs (action) and the client saved 35% off their electricity bill (result). It’s a powerful framework sure to make any presentation resonate.
- The 10, 20, 30 Rule
In his book, Enchantment, Guy Kawasaki recommends the 10, 20, 30 rule for presentations: 10 slides in 20 minutes, using nothing smaller than 30 point font. This helps pace the presentation and ensures a Powerpoint supports your message without overwhelming your audience.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em. Tell ‘em. Then, tell ‘em what you told ‘em.” Repetition helps a message stick so be clear what the message of your presentation is and then repeat it over and over again.
- Memorize It
A lesson from TED Talks is to memorize your presentation. Reading off teleprompters or notecards is inauthentic and your message is soon lost. If you don’t have the time to memorize your presentation, use simple bullet points on notecards or triggers on your PowerPoint so you can give your presentation, not read it.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Steve Jobs was notorious for practicing his presentations, ensuring he used the right words, pauses and movements that would help him communicate his message to an engaged audience. Consider videotaping yourself giving your presentation or asking a candid co-worker to be your audience as you practice. It will help ease your anxiety and make sure you’re ready for the big day.
For more useful tips, register for our free Speak With Confidence and Grow Your Small Business webinar on November 25 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern and learn more useful tactics on presenting like a pro.