Life is a stage and small business owners especially understand that they are always in the spotlight. From motivating employees to pitching new clients, you’re always presenting. But, many of us don’t feel as comfortable as we’d like.
So let’s look at three ways to take your presentation skills to the next level. Who knows? Maybe you’ll feel good enough to hit a TEDx stage.
Create Bite-Sized Messages
Great presentations have one to three key messages that the presenter wants the audience to walk away knowing or understanding. Write down your key messages before you start on your speech or open PowerPoint. Then work these messages into bite-sized, tweetable catch phrases, or make each a section of your presentation. This will help make sure your presentation is consistent, clear, concise and therefore memorable.
Your presentation should then repeat these bite-sized messages both on slides and in your speech. In fact, consider adding a slide with nothing but your message morsel, and include your event hashtag and Twitter handle to encourage your audience to share your message. You may be surprised how often they’ll do Tweet the message verbatim.
Unless you’re being filmed, walk around during your presentation. Make eye contact with your audience. Smile. If you’re a nervous presenter, this can be a great strategy because you stop “presenting” and start “communicating”.
From the audience’s perspective, being more approachable makes them relaxed. They feel less like they’re being lectured to and more like it’s an interactive conversation. At the very least, it makes you seem more trustworthy, which is one of the most important goals of any effective presentation.
Make it Interesting
How many times have you been stuck in a boring presentation? Even worse when you’re the one presenting! Liven it up by asking your audience questions and expecting an answer. If you’re not sure you’ll get the participation you’re looking for, give away prizes for each response. Participation not only makes your presentation more conversational, as mentioned above, but it also takes some of the pressure off you to entertain and enlighten. Even in webinars, finding ways to solicit participation during your presentation with live Q&A or polls will make it more interesting.
A really powerful way to making your presentation more interesting is to pepper in stories that exemplify your key messages above. Stories are powerful, elicit emotion and are more memorable than facts. Combine these tactics and have your audience tell you a story about a particular point.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then, tell them what you told them. It’s an effective presentation strategy that has worked for hundreds of years. Repeat the key messages, important facts, key learnings for each story. Taking time to repeat what’s important will help your audience feel connected to your presentation. There’s power in repetition. Harness it to become a better presenter.
How do you become a better presenter? Tell us in the comments below.