module 3: Presenting with Impact
Remember, your job as a presenter is to keep your audience awake, theirs is to fall asleep!
Remind yourself of a dozen ways to avoid merely going through the motions so that you can keep people engaged throughout.
Our main message? You don't need to be anyone else to be the best presenter you can be.
Daring to make an impact means being prepared to engage your audience in real ways. It means staying authentic and professional. Where there is a culture which suffers standard presentations, it also takes courage and sometimes diplomacy to do things differently where you need to...
1. Do your homework
KNOW how your presentation is relevant to their specific needs and keep referring to them
2. have a great opener
Resist the urge to be predictable, GRAB their attention from the very start!
3. Invite interaction
Using questions is the most obvious way to do this, you can also invite your audience to speculate, to predict, to hypothesise, to spot what's missing, to share their stories, to ponder conundrums, to tell you what they are thinking.
4. create the right atmosphere
where it is easy for people to engage they will. Think about how the dynamics of the room and your position in it to encourage their involvement.
5. Find ways to be as professionally relaxed as is appropriate
When you appear calm and relaxed, your audience will feel comfortable too. Support yourself by having more than just a plan B for when the technology inevitably plays up.
6. orchestrate their attention, Use a variety of visual aids
PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi are visual aids they are NOT your presentation! There are also many other ways to spark their interest. Remind yourself of your support options:
7. Help your audience to focus
Is the environment comfortable? How is timing affecting them? If it's a lengthy presentation, do they need more breaks? How about interesting refreshments?
8. Build in plenty of pauses
Invite moments for reflection, encourage digestion and allow your audience to clarify their understanding. Making them wait until the very end of your presentation before they can say a word is simply not good enough.
9. Find fresh ideas, promote fresh thinking
What can you do which is different and consistent with professional expectations?
10. Take your audience on a journey
Presentations should feel enticing to follow, easy to navigate and have a clear destination. Give your audience a clear structure by using signposts along the way.
11. Engage the right and left hemispheres of their brain
Hook their feelings and their logical minds, use story, personal disclosure, headlines that grab and WOW stats.
12. end with a real call to action
By all means you could thank people for their attention or offer them the typical 'any questions' throwaway in conclusion. Or, you could avoid being so lame, leave them with a new twist, suggested next steps, a specific call to action.
So, to put our money where our mouths are (and to end as we began), our call to action is to KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE AWAKE!
If you haven't already viewed Steve Job's seminal presentation to launch the iPhone, have a look at how conviction, simple imagery and well paced authentic delivery has the power to engage.
More about how he pays homage to Aristotle's classic persuasive formula in our next module together, building your influence...
If you would like to read more about structuring your presentations, handling your nerves or using story - and if you're sitting comfortably, have a look at our further thoughts on delivering compelling presentations...