As professionals we are often called upon to give a presentation to; colleagues, board members or the public. Many people are terrified at the thought of standing in front of a crowd to present. The ability to stand in front of a crowd and present with confidence and conviction will help you build your professional reputation in your industry.
Giving a great presentation is a learned skill. Here are some tips to perfect the perfect presentation.
Personality – Clothes speak for you.
- Your clothes should reflect the clients image as well as your own. Consider the type of presentation, location what your audience will be wearing and dress one level one.
Poise - Demonstrate your professionalism by paying attention to the small details that will enhance your overall appearance.
- Ensure your clothes fit correctly.
- Clothes should be pressed and tidy, your hair neatly trimmed and your shoes polished.
Polish - Colour Texture and complementary tones give a polished finish to your appearance.
- Wear colours that complement your skin tone, hair and eye-colour. Some contrast in your outfit will help you stand out in front of an audience. A contrasting scarf or tie, to help your audience maintain their attention upon you.
- Avoid anything too busy or too blatantly bright as it can be visually disconcerting and won’t do much for the content of your talk.
- Make-up should be fairly neutral with the object to look healthy and rested.
- Try to find out what your backdrop will be. If you are presenting on a stage with a black background, your dark clothes will blend into the background. In contrast bright clothes will seem glaring in an extremely bright room.
Preparation – Do your research and know your audience.
- WHO are you talking to? The better you know your audience, the better you can hold their attention by tailoring your material around their needs.
- WHAT do you need to say? Write your speech with a clear outline of the points you want to make. Select a few key points and embellish these with examples and anecdotes. Build this into a complete manuscript, and read this aloud to ensure you are keeping your message to the point.
- WHERE are you presenting? Arrive at the venue at least an hour early to make yourself comfortable with your surroundings. Check the microphone, lighting, audio-visual and any other factors that may affect your performance.
Practice – Your goal is to deliver a speech with clarity, confidence and passion.
- Begin by practicing from your manuscript, and then simplify the speech to note-form.
- Your may choose to record or video your speech. This will help you review your energy level, body language, eye contact and impact.
Presentation - Your opening sentence must have impact.
- Come out punching with a startling statement, quote or story. Don’t waste precious seconds with “Ladies and Gentleman” and save any greetings or gratitude until you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention.
- Deliver your speech with energy and passion.
- Maintain your rapport with the audience. Encourage audience participation through questions or personal insights.
- Use humour with caution: if your jokes fall flat, you will lose your credibility with the audience. Conversely, your audience will be puzzled if a speech that began humorously, abruptly becomes dry and serious.
- Finish with a strong memorable closing statement or with a vivid example.