How to stand out and be effective at getting your message across when presenting to a group
Delivering group presentations whether to staff, customers or associates can be one of the most
nervous things you do as a business leader. Here are my top tips on how to effectively delivery your message.
I’m sure you have seen plenty of poor presentations but also those that stand out! Last week I was at a meeting with 180 other attendees. There were a number of speakers presenting an array of different subjects with different objectives, whether to offer their services, update on their new business venture or just share information relevant to the attendees. However at the coffee break and when the event finished everyone was commenting on just one of the presentations.
As I mentioned in my previous blog on in-cumbria;
As you will guess, it wasn’t what the presenter said or to be honest the subject matter, it was the way he engaged the audience through his engaging tone of his voice, his body language plus the use of powerful images that created the lasting memory.
Therefore if you are going to be presenting shortly, maybe a half year business update to your team, a customer presentation or at a networking event, Below are some key things to keep in mind;
What’s your Goal?
Set yourself a clear objective of what you want the participants to know, how you want them to feel and what you want them to do after the presentation? Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve after the meeting? In the case of the presentation mentioned it was to share their story, create interest and intrigue and get people to come to their stand at the coffee break to find out more. They solely wanted to build awareness of their business, engage other businesses and there was no sell at all!
If you are delivering a staff meeting, the objective could be about giving a positive business update before the holiday period, but be clear on ensuring they understand clearly the purpose of the meeting and what you want them to do next.
Give structure to your presentation;
1. Have a strong opener to catch their attention, using a short video as a sting is a good way! But
also tell them what you are going to share with them.
2. Split the presentation into blocks with sub sections, which could be simply; why you are here,
who we are and why we exist, what we want you to do.
3. Have a clear summary and a finish with a strong call to action
Convince the audience through the communication;
- Ensure you are positive and share your passion for the subject, by using figurative language.
- Less is more; use minimal words and texts on any slides, use visuals such as diagrams,
pictures, graphs which are easy to understand. The graph simple shows the trend either goes
up or down!
- Start with the big picture, the global view and work through the presentation to the minutiae
- Be clear and be precise and don’t use words like “think”, “maybe” or “possibly” as these can be misconstrued to not being factual or even negative.
- Ensure you translate your message to the daily lives of your audience – they will want to know what’s it it for them? How will it affect them, their work, business, families etc.
- Be aware of the audience’s body language - watch for their visual signs of engagement, anticipate feelings and use questions strategically to check their understanding.
- Don’t set up yourself for being asked negative questions which may create an open argument as this will distract from your message, waste time and switch many of the audience off.
Interact with the audience;
- Always plan time for questions, answer these concisely and correctly and don’t bluff your audience. If you don’t know the answer, acknowledge and get back to them after the presentation.
- Show enthusiastic and dynamic body language; a good tip is to watch others or videos of people presenting and public speaking, most politicians and key business people will have had many hours of coaching and training on how to get across the right message through using body language.
- Avoid being defensive or reacting to any criticism or negative feedback in public. Just acknowledge and suggest meeting the person for a 1-2- 1 after the event.
- Actively listen, remember the audience are reading your body language, and control your response to questions through use of silence if necessary. I.e. gain some thinking time.
- Keep eye contact with everyone at all times, a good tip in a small meeting is to move round the table/room and looking at each individual in the eyes for about 2-3 seconds then move onto the next person.
Some key don’ts when presenting.
- Don’t read from the slides as you’ll be turning your back from the audience.
- Even worse, don’t read word for word off the slides – remember 55% of communication is visual! What’s this telling the audience? You haven’t prepared, it’s not what you believe, and you’re not interested in engaging with them?
- Don’t read from notes verbatim, just have bullet points to refer too
- Don’t overdo the visuals with detail, too much info on slides and you will lose the audience’s attention and interest
- Don’t over run, last year I went to a presentation which was advertised as 30minutes, 1 hour 45 minutes in many people had stood up and left!
- Don’t leave it open ended, always thank the audience for listening and give clear details where they can contact you after the presentation, i.e. in the hall way, at the coffee break, hand out your business card or flyer etc.
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