A couple of weeks ago we gave you some tips on crafting the perfect PowerPoint presentation, but the problem with that is, you’ve lost your handy crutch, you no longer have the precious bullet points you can mumble soporifically out loud to an inattentive audience. Well you don’t need them and here’s why…
It Ain’t What You Do…
It’s also the way in which you do it. I promise you, when you’re confident and passionate about what you are talking about – and let it show – then presenting becomes fun. How can it not be, it’s your chance to stand up in front of a room of people, all of whom have to listen to you, and show off to them how much you know.
We’re not accountants or lawyers, we work in an industry that relies on enthusiasm and being outgoing so show it in the way you speak and move. There’s no need to dance around like you’re doing the Harlem Shake but you don’t want to come across like Agent Smith from the Matrix either or stay rooted to the spot like a rabbit in the headlights. Speaking of which…
The urge to take flight when faced with an audience is a common one but it’s unlikely to win you any new business, or the thanks of your colleagues. What it does do is dump loads of adrenalin into your system which speeds up your heart rate and makes you, well, rabbit on without realising it.
Make a conscious effort to slow down your speech, more so than you think necessary. It might sound strange to your racing brain but will come across as well-modulated to you audience. And if you’re about to drop an ‘umm’ bomb because your words have outpaced your brain, just pause and take a short breath to remember what comes next. No one will even notice.
Be Prepared and Be Positive
The (very few) words and images on your slides are your cues but you need to learn your lines. If you’re not one of the lucky people who can ad-lib then feel free to write yourself a script but then learn it, don’t sit there and read from it.
Make sure you are talking to people as well. Try and look everyone in the eye at some point and smile at them to create a positive rapport between them and you.
Drop a joke in – even if it’s of the ‘Dad’ variety – or use an incongruous image or punning title. Nothing releases tension like a laugh.
Wherever possible explain your point by telling a story and ideally relating it to yourself personally with an anecdote.
The best advice comes from someone born millennia before projectors cast untold millions into PowerPoint hell. Aristotle’s advice on speeches was: Tell them what you are going to tell them (the introduction), Tell them (the speech) and finally Tell them what you just told them (the conclusion).
The Questions Are Key
We have all attended presentations when it was the Q&A at the end which actually sparked discussion, interaction and ultimately bonding, so reduce the time spent talking at people and instead allow more time to talk with them.
There really is no better example of how to pitch:
Posted by Henry Biggs