Does the word ‘presentation’ send a chill down your spine? Well, it need not any longer! I have got you covered when it comes to internal, formal or even business-changing presentations.

Short of delivering it on your behalf, no one can tell you how to present perfectly but there are most definitely some handy hints and tips to bear in mind.

The basics

Make yourself comfortable, dress in an appropriate manner and ensure you won’t be constantly faffing! Be aware of your surroundings, don’t reverse into a table halfway through or knock over your glass of water (disclaimer – I have definitely have not done either of those things *cough*). Ensure your tech is working or handouts are prepared prior, no audience member wants to be clock watching due to situational difficulties before any presentation begins. And then, just before it starts, take a few deep breaths and start your opening sentence with emotion and enthusiasm!

Know your audience and deliver it to them

Who are you presenting to and how do you want to come across? Ensure the tone of your presentation is appropriate by researching your audience and then play that crowd like a Rockstar! Then throughout, ensure that you are reading body language – do they look like they need engaging further? Keep your enthusiasm and interaction levels high; ensure you are not alienating a potentially collaborative audience by delivering in an overly formal manner without the chance for dialogue. Be careful not to come across robotic and scripted either. Know your metrics so you can speak confidently and leave time to pause for these to be considered. Preparation is key, but don’t read it like it is the 1000th time you’ve done it (everyone practises in the mirror right?!?!). Ensure you are delivering information in a passionate and interesting manner.

The presentation itself

The old chestnut – fail to prepare and prepare to fail! Timing is key; prospecting pitches, to clients or to your own team, are often time short. Ensure your presentation has insights based on extensive research and covers off everything that you need it to – too short and it looks like you really can’t be bothered yet too long and it is likely that you will lose their interest. As silly as it sounds, practice speaking at a certain pace, again, too slow and it is boring, too fast and they won’tcatchwhatyouaresayingbecauseitwilljustallblendintoone *and breathe*. Ensure the intonation of your voice is varied, and able to capture not only the essence of what you are saying, but also the interest of your audience.

Make sure your presentation is slick, no school PowerPoints with word art here please! And play close attention to the finer details, the font, the size, spelling and grammar checks, clear graphics, flow between each slide etc. No one likes a stop start slide situation! Or them thinking about a comma being in the wrong place rather than actually listening to what you are saying. And perhaps most importantly, don’t slide OD! 6 to 8  slides for a 15-minute presentation, for example, is perfectly adequate. What you really want to avoid is trying to put everything you want to say onto a slide – no, no and no again! Your slide should support/bullet point what you are trying to convey, not be the full message itself. Less is more.

How am I telling them, telling them, and then telling them again?

Without the use of notes, I cry! It is absolutely vital that you know exactly what you want to say. By all means, use your slides for headers and prompts, but don’t read off the slides or have note cards in your hand. You should know what you want to say so that you can focus on your delivery and presentation style. Head down reading will throw your focus off and if you are anything like me, you will drop all the cards and get yourself in a tizzy trying to get them back in order whilst trying to hold your presentation together. #notagoodlook

The aftermath

Of course, there will be the questions. I would say, although you can never predict these, try your presentation on a colleague or a trusted member of your industry prior. Sometimes, they may elicit questions which you can then edit your presentation to include the answer to. There could always be an inevitable curveball after the real thing, but your confidence of practising prior will definitely present you in the best possible light. And, whilst the goal is to always secure the sale or get that promotion or whatever it may be after, don’t be disheartened if that isn’t the case. Your presentation was the perfect chance for you to showcase and hone your skills. Remember your key takeaways and use them positively!

And there you have it! Ready to present with panache? Thought so.

As always, make sure you are following Kimberley Barnes and Lorren Daly and reading their blog posts too!

And of course, if we can help you grow your sales teams or support you to find your next step in your sales career – get in touch – we would love to help!