People attend presentations to learn and gain useful insight. But way too often, we see the audience yawn, scroll on their phones or check their watch, wishing that the time would go faster. – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
Is it that the content of the presentation isn’t interesting enough, or that the speaker doesn’t know how to engage the audience?
Whatever the reason, delivering an engaging presentation is an art that takes some time to master.
Based on my own experience from the stage, and from observing other speakers at industry-leading conferences, I’ve collected these top tips that will help you give a presentation that will wow your audience:
1. Define Your Goal
Before diving into the content creation process, it’s important to define the objective of your presentation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want your audience to take away from your talk?
- Are you looking to inform, persuade, or inspire?
- Have you identified your purpose and planned around it?
- Will your presentation display specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals?
Asking yourself the above questions while you create your content and finalize it ensures that your message remains focused and impactful. If your speech isn’t goal-specific, you’ll soon find that your audience will disconnect from what you’re saying. As soon as that separation happens, it can be extremely challenging to get them to resonate with the rest of your speech.
This is every public speaker’s worst nightmare, so ensure that it doesn’t happen to you and define your goals before beginning the content creation process. Don’t be afraid of referring back to them as your speech takes shape so you’re sticking to your intended purpose.
2. Craft Easy-To-Follow Content – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
Creating any presentation starts with crafting the content and creating the structure for your presentation. It doesn’t matter how important your message is, if it’s not organized and delivered in a simple way, no one will retain or react to what you’re presenting.
One of Apple’s original marketing specialists, Guy Kawasaki, says that the best presentation slideshows include 10 or fewer slides, last no longer than 20 minutes, and use a font size of 30.
When it comes to your setting up your presentation slides, they can be similar to writing a cover letter with the content organized into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Start with a compelling introduction,
- Hit your audience with facts, data, statistics, and evidence.
- Provide solutions or answers.
- Loop back to your key takeaways and summarize the next steps.
- Keep your number of slides short (10 or less) and the information on the slides digestible.
3. Focus On One Idea Per Slide
You don’t want to crowd too much information into one slide. If your slide design is cluttered and ugly, your audience is immediately going to zone out of your presentation and look elsewhere.
Instead, use one slide for each thought or idea. Whether it’s a new section heading, an about slide, a team slide, etc., you want to keep the information you include on a single slide to a minimum.
There’s no need to try to cram your entire presentation or even a whole section of it onto one slide. Your slideshow will be much more visually appealing if you break your content up into multiple slides.
4. Practice In Front Of The Mirror
Before delivering the actual presentation, you can always rehearse your speech in front of the mirror. This way, you can experiment with different postures or styles, and you also gain more confidence. The mirror becomes an excellent feedback provider that will allow you to make small adjustments to your presentation.
When practicing in front of the mirror, it’s crucial that you create a somewhat authentic atmosphere. So, dress and behave as if you were in front of a real audience.
Alternatively, you can practice in front of a colleague, friend, or family member.
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5. Research Your Audience And Get To Know Them
If you want to influence your audience, you need to know what they care about and what motivates them so that you can deliver a killer presentation. Take the time to learn about the people you will be speaking to and customize your presentation for them. You are there to be of service, so be sure to ask plenty of questions about why they think your message is right for them — and exceed their expectations by being relevant.
6. Greet Your Audience In Their Local Language
As a speaker, you often find yourself addressing an international audience, whether it is at a big conference or an internal company meeting joined by remote teams.
Greeting international participants in their local language gives a nice personal touch to the offset of your presentation. It helps you create a connection and the feeling of intimacy with the people sitting before you.
I always memorize how to say “Hello” and “How are you?” in the local language, and use them as soon as I come onstage. You can even take it a step further and adjust your presentation ad hoc to the audience, by making local references.
For example, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, started his talk at the Marketing festival by showing pictures from his tour around the hosting city of Brno, Czech Republic. Moreover, he used the Czech websites that the audience was closely familiar with, instead of international ones, to get his point across.
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7. Engage With Your Audience – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
Many think that speaking to the audience automatically means that they are already involved in your speech, but of course, it’s not entirely true, and there is a huge difference. Involving members in your presentations includes quizzes, small discussion sessions, questions, surveys, and more. People won’t have the option to sit back and not listen when you engage them in your speaking; they will also find it enjoyable.
If you want to take inspiration, you can listen to different ted talks, where you will find strange and interesting ways how to make a presentation interactive by involving the audience. Also, one strange thing is that students are paying money to other students or people to write their essays, while you can actually pay for research paper and get your homework done by reliable experts.
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8. Use Visual Aids To Illustrate Points
If you’re making a complicated point, or the information you’re conveying is compelling, demonstrate and illuminate it with a visual. This could be anything from a chart to a diagram to a meme (just make sure it’s appropriate for your audience!). Keep your visuals simple, easy to read at a glance (don’t put too much information in), and make sure you keep them as an aid and don’t use them as a crutch.
9: Choose The Right Angle On Standing
One of the most frequent questions that speakers ask themselves during a presentation is, how do I best position myself, and where do I stand in front of the audience?
In many cases, you will be facing your audience in a “free space”, without a podium. This gives you a lot of room to move, but at the same time, it creates uncertainty because you don’t know how to position yourself properly or how to move.
Avoid standing frontally in front of the audience! This frontal facing is unconsciously perceived negatively by the audience. It is perceived by the audience as a kind of frontal attack and causes stress in your audience.
Make sure to stand slightly to the side of the audience. If you notice during the presentation that you are again standing frontally in front of your audience, simply move your right or left foot 20 cm forward.
A podium makes it easier to decide how to position yourself and where to stand in front of the audience. In order not to make your presentation too monotonous, it is advisable to leave the “safe position” behind the lectern from time to time, e.g. to walk to the other side of the screen or to show something on the flipchart. This brings movement into your presentation and helps keep the connection with your audience.
10. Tell An Engaging Story – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
When you’re creating a presentation, it’s a thumb rule to make sure your slide decks are memorable and engaging throughout.
One of the best ways to do this is by telling a story—whether that’s a story about your business, your life, or anything else related to the subject.
Telling a story is the key to creating an excellent presentation.
Your audience will be more interested if they can relate to what’s on your slides. So tell them a story that connects with their lives and work experiences – it may be a funny anecdote or a relatable work prank!
Let’s say you’re talking about how to create a product. You can start by showing an image or a video of the product. You can develop the flow by telling the product story and how it has grown through the years.
That way, your audience gets to see both sides of the coin: what this product does and how it was made.
The more details you include in your presentation, the better it will be for viewers—not only because they’ll get more information but because they’ll also have more context for what they see on screen.
Hence, remember to carve your presentation with a well-practiced, engaging story.
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11: Be Confident
By appearing self-confident, you convey to the listener that you are confident in your topic and have prepared yourself sufficiently. Try to relax and not appear too stressed or nervous.
Another tip for advanced speakers is to step out in front of the podium and walk around the room and get closer to the audience. This also exudes self-confidence and helps in attracting your audience’s attention.
12. Have A Hook – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
When you’re delivering a presentation, keeping your audience’s attention is essential.
But how do you make learning a little more fun? What are the best presenting tips and tricks?
Well, one way is by making sure that your presentation has a hook.
A hook can be anything from an element of surprise (like an announcement that will keep them anticipated till the end) to something unexpected (a discount!).
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This will help to keep your audience engaged because they won’t feel like they’re reading through a textbook or manual – they’ll feel like they’re getting involved in your story.
Ideally, hooks are placed at the start of the presentation. It’s the part that acts as a surprise for the audience, keeping them engaged and excited, and would help retain the audience’s attention.
However, remember that the fewer distractions in your presentation, the easier it will be for them to see how amazing it is!
13. Other Important Tips You Need To Consider
Pause for effect and emphasis – Practice being comfortable with silence for two or three seconds. It’s the most dramatic way to make a point. Avoid ahs, uhs, and other fillers of uncomfortable silence; they’re annoying and detract from your presence.
Don’t block the audience’s view – Don’t step in front of the screen or block it from view, except for the occasional walk-across. Gesture with your hand, but don’t touch the screen. Don’t use a pointer unless you must.
Make eye contact – But only for a few seconds per person. Too short and you’ll fail to engage; too long and it becomes uncomfortable. Don’t bounce your eyes around constantly.
Use hand gestures – They’re engaging and interesting. But when you’re not, keep your hands at your sides. Don’t fidget, hold onto things, or put your hands in front of you, behind you, or in your pockets. Avoid nervous habits.
Your Audience Will Thank You – Key Practice To Deliver A Killer Presentation
Those are the basics. There’s certainly more you can do. You should manage the all-important first and last impressions by opening and closing strong. You should create an interactive experience so it’s not all lecture. And you should understand and manage body language — yours and your audience’s.
But if you take care of these tips, you will automatically stand out from the crowd of dull, ordinary presenters and build your reputation as a trusted expert — one that people actually want to hear from.
And you’ll earn the undying gratitude of throngs of conference attendees like me who are fed up with the status quo.
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