9 Simple Tips For Better Presentations

Do you want to make your next presentation more effective? Use these nine simple yet powerful presentation tips and techniques to enjoy better results when you speak before an audience.

Effective public speaking is not talent. It is a set of skills and techniques that are learned, practiced and delivered well. Learn the techniques and start practicing for your next successful presentation now. Don’t wait until you are asked to speak. Be ready.

Practice saying nothing. Not gibberish – nothing, as in silence. It is so powerful. Pause before you start, pause after you said something important and pause when you are done. Just say less and get more comfortable with the silences.

Your audience will mirror you. If you frown – so will they. If you want them to smile – you must smile. Laugh and they will laugh with you. There are no ugly audiences – only ugly speakers.

Show Your Hands
Keep your hands where we can see them. We will trust you more. Hiding your hands behind your back will make us wonder, “What is he hiding back there?” Putting them in your pockets might feel good – but you lose power and can appear too casual. Let your hands hang at your side. As you speak and become involved in your speech you will naturally move them. You will look more natural. You will appear more trustworthy.

Look at Your Audience
Look at the audience – not the screen, the back wall, or your notes. Talk to them – look at them – one at a time. Move your eyes from one to another as though you are having many one-on-one conversations.

Nod Your Head
When you ask the audience to respond to your question show that you respect their response. Pause and look around the audience; nod your head in approval or show your delight with a smile. Remember you asked them a question. Show that you really wanted an answer.

Sometimes your audience will laugh when you do not expect it. Pause and let them enjoy it. Smile and show you also have a sense of humor – even if you are not sure why they are laughing.

Appoint an Assistant
When you speak before a group, always have a helper who can fix the lights, help with handouts, and usher latecomers to their seats. When looking for volunteers don’t waste time waiting for someone to put up their hand. Appoint your volunteers. Always thank them.

Prepare for your Worst Question
Always be prepared to handle your worst question. You know what it is – the one you dread the most. It might be that you are too expensive, too cheap, too old, too new, too far, too near… Imagine how powerful you will appear when it is posed and you can smile and give the answer you rehearsed.

Edit your Words
Don’t offend your audience by using insulting phrases like “obviously” or “everyone knows”. If it is not oblivious to them or if they don’t believe that everyone knows then you have either insulted them or alienated them.

You can use these nine simple presentation tips and techniques to deliver more effective presentations today. It will take some practice but you can do it. Make your next presentation a success by paying more attention to the details.

Effective Presentation Skills: Flip Chart Tricks and Tips

Sometimes, they seem like relics of an earlier age, but flip charts still have their uses. Especially if we recognize that we can do more than simply write on them.

If you’re preparing a presentation, spend a little time preparing your flip chart sheets ahead of time. Don’t use the one on site; take your own instead. Here’s why:

First, you can write out the points for your presentation in pencil, in small letters, on the pages of the flip chart. This means you don’t need to take separate notes with you. And, it will look like you’re working without notes.

At the top of each page, write notes to yourself in pencil, just big enough for you to see them from a couple of feet away. Since your nearest audience member is likely to be at least 10 feet away, they won’t see what you see.

Alternatively, you can write very lightly in pencil what you plan to write in large letters for your audience. In other words, trace out your words ahead of time, in their final size, and use those words as your ticklers or speech notes.

Then as you’re working through that section, you can refer to your notes each time you write something on the flip chart. Much more effective than consulting separate notes on a lectern or elsewhere.

You can also draw lines on the page, or use sheets that come with preprinted gridlines to ensure you get everything on the sheet. When I use flip charts without preparation or planning, I often run out of space on the sheet, and end up putting just a couple of words on a succeeding sheet. That means the notes aren’t as coherent as they might be.

Finally, at the bottom of each page, write (again, in pencil and in small letters) a question for the audience that leads into the idea you’ll capture on the next sheet.

And when you finish with the idea on that sheet, you’ll ask a question like, “So, how do we implement this new process?” That gives the audience something to consider (and a transition) while you turn away to flip the sheet over and read the notes for that page.

The flip chart may be very old technology, but it can still be a very good friend when making presentations. Just think: no wires to connect, no devices to fail, no batteries to remember. The flip chart can also be a reassuring friend.

Sometimes an old medium offers some benefits you can’t get with newer and more advanced media.

Effective Presentations – Assessing the Audience

In every instance, the audience itself will have an impact on your presentation. Consider the way you communicate with your friends, your children (or nieces/nephews), and your parents. Whether you mean to or not, you probably select different approaches when communicating with each group. While you may approach your parents with deference to their age and experience, you’d probably expect a young child to have less knowledge of the world and to respect your own wisdom. Thus, when presenting an argument to these groups, you’re likely to differentiate your argument based on audience characteristics.

The same rules should apply to all presentations. Although you could chose to present the exact same message to all audiences, your presentation will be more meaningful to your listeners if you tailor your message to the attributes of the particular group with whom you’re communicating. Remember ­ the success of your presentation lies in your ability to reach your audience. Even the most flawless speaker can fail to inspire listeners if the message isn’t perceived as significant to their lives or their experience. Think back to sitting in your high school classroom wondering “when will I ever use this again?” Do not expect that simply because you work for the same company as your audience members your presentation will seem relevant and consequential to your listeners.

To help target your presentation to your audience, consider the following characteristics:

1) Size

Will you present to a large group? A small group? A single person? Large group presentations often call for more formality and more structure, while highly structured presentations to small group may seem rigid and out of place. If presenting to a large group, you’ll need to do more to make all audience members feel involved in your presentation. With a small group, it may be easier to encourage participation.

2) Demographics

Demographic factors to consider include age, occupation, ethnic or cultural background, socio-economic status, educational background and gender. Presenting to a group of older politicians will require more deference to age and experience than presenting to a group of recent graduates. When speaking to a group of doctors, you can assume a certain level of medical knowledge. When speaking about college admissions to a lower socio-economic status audience you might want to include information about financial aid, grants, and scholarships. In contrast, audiences with members of a higher socio-economic status who don’t qualify for aid will perceive such information as useless.

3) Knowledge Level:

What does your audience already know about your topic? Are you presenting to a group of water engineers on the topic of water safety? Or are you presenting to the city council on the topic of water safety? With some audiences, you may need to provide more background/historical
information about your topic before you can effectively persuade them of the correctness of your position.

4) Motivation

Why is your audience listening to your presentation? Are you a consultant giving feedback to a group who has paid a lot of money for your opinion? Or did you call a meeting to voice your own opinion? If the audience is not inherently motivated to listen to you, then you’ll need to give them reason to listen within the presentation itself.