How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro

The
usual approach when preparing a presentation is putting the points into
slides. But the best presentations do not seek to merely inform. They
make a lasting mark. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech
inspired a nation to reconsider their assumptions around race and social
justice. 

Ronald Reagan’s speech in Berlin, delivered in 1987, wasn’t an
objective remark on historical events. It was a passionate plea, an
attempt to hasten the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Neither will be
remembered for their PowerPoint presentations, but for their heartfelt
messages.

Treat a presentation like a drama show

The
best presentations are not collections of facts or statistics. They are
stories, put together and performed with dramatic flair. The first
question you need to ask yourself is this – “What is the point of this
presentation?” Don’t start your preparations until you can provide a
confident answer. 

What emotions are you looking to trigger in your
audience? How exactly do you want to influence them, and what actions do
you want them to take as a result of your presentation?


There
is much more to a speech than writing the words and moving through a
set of key points written on a card or set of slides. How will you move
around and vary your voice in such a way that emphasizes your message?
Think about the gestures you can use, the facial expressions you will
use, and how you will move around the stage.

A great speaker is the main actor/actress, not the backdrop

Most
presentations are purely informative. The audience are directed to
focus on the presentation slides rather than the person speaking. While
if you want to leave an impression, you need to make yourself the focus.
Presentation slides are just supplementary. Never, ever let them steal
the limelight. See how Scott Dinsmore did that.

How to make your audience listen to you attentively

To
be the limelight on stage, you can’t just directly put all what you
want to say on the slides. You need to carefully plan and edit every
part.

Only talk about one key point at a time. Don’t be greedy

When you provide little on the slide like only one word
in the middle, people will look to you for elaboration. When you put
multiple points into a single slide, the audience will be so hard
working digesting all the information on the slide. This doesn’t help
them understand better as human’s brains aren’t designed for
multi-tasking. The more points you want them to get, the less they can
understand.

Make sure people can get the gist within 3 seconds

More
than that it means the message isn’t conveyed clearly enough and people
will zone out. They’ll completely ignore what you’re going to say even
if your ideas are truly brilliant.

Always be economical. Cut everything that doesn’t serve a purpose

Although
it’s tempting to include all the interesting things you know/you found
when doing research, these would only make your key message weaker if
they aren’t highly relevant. Be bold to cut them whenever they don’t add
value for the key message. It’s often not what’s added that matters,
but what’s cut that matters.

Illustrate your points with images

 This sounds contradictory but it’s not. When the image
can catch audience’s attention and wake them up, you’re actually telling
them to look at you again, that you’re going to raise a great point
next. 
What’s more, people retain 10% of what they hear three days
following a presentation, but if the information is accompanied by a
picture, this figure jumps to 65%.1

Always be specific

Cliches
are hardly memorable. Always add in additional details and fascinating
statistics where possible to add character and interest. Like you could
simply tell your audience that buying a car is an important decision,
but a better approach is to reframe it in terms of numbers and emotions: 

“To buy a car it entails choosing a vehicle that helps you make
memories, that will keep your life running smoothly, and transports you
and your loved ones over 13,000 miles each year.”2
Specific facts and emotive stories will give you a direct line to your
audience’s hearts, and you are sure to leave a great impression.

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Updated: September 9, 2017 — 11:22 pm

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