How effective are your presentations? Do people seem captured by your words, data, and graphics? Do they look at you and your slides with intense interest? Do they come to you after the presentation commending you and asking for more on the subject? Perhaps that level of presentation success happens only once in a long while. People say that most presentations are boring and ineffective. How can you make yours more interesting and influential? Here are the techniques that work best:
1. Know your subject:
The one element that can make your presentation much easier on you and more influential to your audience is your mastery of the subject. Practices giving a presentation on your topic until you are confident that you know your topic inside out without having to look at slides or notes.
2. Speak to your audience’s interest:
It’s amazing how many presenters stand up and start talking about their project, their ideas, their product, as it what is of interest to them is also of interest to their audience. Follow the WIFM concept (What’s In It Form Me?) Tell your audience at the outset how what you will be talking about is going to benefit them.
3. Speak the language of your listeners:
A key concept in effective communication is to speak in the language of your listener. This means that you must not speak in your own preferred language, style, and point of view. If you want to be effective, you must make sure that you reach the audience by adopting their language, their style, their way of seeing things, and their level of comprehension. If you don’t reach them, you don’t influence them.
4. Talk to group one person at a time:
Don’t look in the outer space. Look at your audience one at a time. Spend a few seconds looking in the eyes of each person sitting in front of you, then move slowly to the next. This way each person will feel that you are talking to him or her personally.
5. Make it personal.
Make it human: Even if your presentation is technical, make it as human as you can. You make your presentation human by making it personal. Talk about your personal experience. Describe how you felt when. Be vulnerable. Be authentic. By funny, without necessarily telling jokes. Be natural. Be human.
6. Engage your audience:
Communication is a two way street. Avoid giving one-way speeches. Fill your presentations with questions that require your audiences’ answers. Use quizzes to intrigue them. Ask those who have similar experiences to raise their hands. Get them involved. If you have time, give them time to speak and present their view points.
Being natural and authentic does not mean you stand up there whispering in your normal voice. If you are presenting then you are on stage. You must perform. You need to raise your voice, move, waive your hands. You are the center of attention and the focal point of your audience. Don’t let them sleep in their seats. Your movements, voice, and body language should all be dynamic enough to keep your audience awake and interested.