The best presenters are people who are comfortable in their own skin, passionate about their topic, and connect with their online audience with ease.
I have come to realise we have forgotten some of the basics of a good presentation. I am not refering to TEDx style talk. Things are very different now, presenting virtually. I am talking about a straight-forward presentation.
Here are my 10 tips to get you towards online presentation perfection.
1. Headline what you are going to say
Make your title thought provoking, intriguing and exciting. Then, focus your presentation around the title theme. It sounds obvious, but many presentations fail because there isn’t a clear link between what people have promised in their title, and what they deliver. Your headline should reel in your audience. Make sure they are not disappointed or confused when they land!
2. Get in the zone
Before you present make sure you are in your presentation zone. If you’re feeling nervous, remember the times when you presented brilliantly, controlled your audience or influenced decisions – you can do it! When you are in your zone, you should relax, breathe and just be yourself.
3. Own the message
Always own the message of the presentation, make it yours and make it in your own words. You have to be completely comfortable with the content you are presenting, to present it with impact. Make sure you practice, practice, practice.
4. Build rapport
From the moment you first meet your audience, build rapport with them by making eye contact, smiling, mirroring body language and, if possible, discussing their expectations for the presentation before you start talking. Ensure your presentation answers the question “what is in it for me?” for each person in the audience.
5. Engage all the senses
Some people prefer presentations to be primarily visual, some primarily auditory and others primarily through feeling. You should try and appeal to all sections of your audience through your use of language, and by structuring the presentation to include visual aids, question and answer sessions and by audience involvement (be careful here not to scare them off).
6. Try and touch on all learning styles
Each of your audience will have a preferred learning style (even when you want to connect online) so structure your presentation to cater for each by answering these questions:
- Why would I want to know this? (for the Reflector)
- What is this all about? (Activist )
- How will it work for me? (Pragmatist)
- What if I do use it? (Theorist)
7. Use the big picture and detail
Paint the big picture for those in your audience who need the big picture – tell them what you are going to tell them, and leave an agenda in view to refer to through the presentation so your audience can see how the presentation is fitting together. You should also touch on the detail for those that need detail. End with a pithy sentence, encapsulating your main argument.
8. Use influential language patterns
Studies have shown that great presenters use a variety of influential patterns when they speak. These could include putting tags at the end of sentences e.g. “this works doesn’t it?”, or mind reading e.g. “I’m sure as you are listening to this and thinking….” These patterns are important to NLP; and if you’d like to do some further reading there are many blogs, books and studies on the subject.
9. Tell a story
Yup you still need to use story to convey your message. We learn best through stories, so weave stories into your presentation.
10. What next?
Always leave your audience clear as to what they should do with the information you have given them and their next steps following the presentation.
That’s it. We are now doing more things virtually, we need to conciously develop and improve our ability to be our true selves, online. Let’s click and connect online!
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