So many people are terrified of presenting – more afraid of presenting than dying, if you believe that mythical stat. But the ability to present is a great tool to add to your communication toolbox, and a skill that’s well worth mastering for anyone in a leadership role.
Presenting is a great way to inspire, to share information, to engage your team members with your plans for the future, to announce a new product to your existing clients – and to boost not only your own confidence, but the respect others have for you as a leader.
Our current circumstances mean that you’re probably not going to be standing up in front of a group for a while, but I’m sure you have plenty of opportunities to present online, to your team, and also to your clients through Facebook Live, You Tube, Zoom and so on.
I could write a whole book on presentation skills, but for now I want to share 3 top tips.
Planning and preparation are everything when it comes to presentations.
Ask yourself the following:
- What’s the point of my presentation?
- What are the (maximum) 3 key messages I want to get across?
- If my audience were to walk away with only one key message, what do I want it to be?
- Who am I presenting to?
- Are they interested in what I want to talk about?
- What would spark their interest?
- What questions will they ask?
- What will they challenge?
- What visual aids will support and stimulate the session?
- What equipment do I need?
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and make sure that you have the answers to the questions that you anticipate they will ask.
Keep your presentation simple and brief.
Test your presentation out on a colleague, or at home with family or a friend you know will give you constructive feedback.
Time yourself so you know how long it takes but remember to factor in time for questions.
If you’re using slides, practise using them and have a few ‘full rehearsals’.
Even when you’re experienced and really confident at presenting, try to stick to this routine of preparation. It gives you that peace of mind and confidence that you will really nail it.
When I was learning to present, I was always told to structure my presentation into three simple parts:
A. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
B. Tell them
C. Tell them what you’ve told them.
It’s a very simple structure, but it’s one that will serve you well, particularly if you’re just learning.
Keep any slides simple, with plenty of white space and make sure they’re supporting your words rather than having a whole load of words on your slides that you’re reading along with your audience.
If you’re happy drawing simple diagrams or images as you go that’s great, but practice first so you know how long things take and you don’t lose the attention of your audience.
If you’ve prepared properly, you’ll be ready for most questions that are thrown at you. But if you’re asked something that you haven’t thought of and you don’t know the answer, admit it, say that you’ll find out and get back to them, and then make sure that you do.
Never try to bluff and bluster your way out of a tricky situation, just stay calm, stay confident and if there’s a lesson to be learned for next time, learn it!
Being able to present successfully is a great skill to add to your management tool box. Preparation and practice are key. Have a simple structured delivery enhanced by your slides or other visuals, and deal honestly with any questions.
Do one thing: Think about the last time you presented. What did you learn? What tip would you share?
NB Your Communication System is key to building your Business Rhythm, and is step 5 of a 9 step roadmap that we lead our clients along, to build the business-critical systems that will make your business scale-ready, and free you from the day to day of your operation.
To learn more about the 9 steps that will move you from slave to your business to scale-ready, visit: https://www.mariannepage.co.uk/chaos-to-consistency.html