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Presentations have so many uses for business owners, organizations, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs. You can sell products, services, and ideas to external stakeholders, thus improving investment chances — or use them for training staff or promoting new ideas, systems, and strategies internally.
You can also deliver presentations as a marketing activity to promote your business at networking events, yes, even in the current socially distanced climate, via video conferences. In these cases, you would deliver a presentation full of valuable information relevant to your products and services to spread the word to other business owners like you.
While the benefits of business presentations are undeniable, they can be kind of, well, scary, primarily if you’ve never delivered one before. Although, even seasoned pros can struggle if they’re out of practice. Enter this epic article to save the day! Join us as we discuss four ways to level-up your next business presentation. From formatting to presenting, we got you covered!
1. Hello Research, My Old Friend
Researching your chosen subject matter is a given here. You don’t want to provide false or even outdated information and statistics. However, you can also take a more holistic research approach. We’re talking about mapping your audience’s journey from start to finish to ensure your presentation is the best it can be.
Start with a little market research, research! Find out what people would find valuable in a presentation — while keeping the overarching theme relevant to your area of business expertise, of course. Conduct polls via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, asking your followers for more general insights. A general question to ask is, “What makes a compelling presentation?”
If you deliver a presentation for a specific networking event that you attend regularly, ask around the room. Your fellow networkers will likely be happy to add their two cents, especially if you explain that you want to deliver a presentation that everyone will find beneficial.
The final step in the research process is asking for feedback! Provide an anonymous survey at the end of your presentation, so people feel comfortable enough to offer their honest opinions. You can then use this constructive feedback to learn, improve, and tweak your presentation as necessary.
2. What to Include
What would you naturally do when meeting someone for the first time? Introduce yourself! So go ahead and open up your presentation by telling people a little bit about yourself, including what makes you an authority on your subject. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field will encourage audience receptivity. Keep this element natural, fact-based, and humanizing, not braggadocious.
An excellent next step is a fun icebreaker activity to defrost the room a little. You might get a few groans when you start, but people will soon get into it if you pick the right task! If you have limited time, try the one-word icebreaker. Ask people to introduce themselves to the group and describe their mood in one word. Provide the option to explain their word if people feel comfortable!
Did You Know?
Now it’s time to get into the presentation. Open it up with some exciting and relevant or shocking statistics to make your audience invested. Use these stats to lay a foundation and to show people why your presentation is essential and how it will benefit them. Also, include real-life stories and case studies where relevant. If they aren’t about you, change names, etc., to protect people’s personal information.
As you build on statistics with further information, break things up periodically with some group and solo activities. Use the exercises to embed critical points from your presentation and put the theoretical knowledge into practice. Remember to factor in different ‘learning styles,’ not everyone digests information in the same way. You don’t have to go crazy; just include a little something for everyone to make your presentation more accessible.
Embed videos for the visual and aural learners; meanwhile, the activities will help the kinesthetic and interpersonal learners. Include some self-reflective tasks for the intrapersonal learners and frequent question and answer opportunities for linguistic learners. The questions will also encourage audience participation, keep engagement levels up, and help you to address any gaps in understanding. An inclusive and helpful presentation means keeping everyone on the journey for the duration!
3. Fantastic Formatting
The way you visually present information is as important as the vocal delivery. From an oratory stand-point, you should speak clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear. And these same ideas translate into the visual element of your presentation. The written information presented should be easy to digest, meaning a decent sized and easy to read font, for example.
Diagrams, videos, gifs, and images will help break up walls of text to help people digest important information and hold their attention. But such visuals should be relevant to the point you are trying to make, rather than added for the sake of it. Also, consider regular headings to introduce new information and subheadings to expand upon and solidify it.
When your business presentation is a marketing exercise, include your contact details and social media channels. For internal stakeholders or team training, include your department and how people can contact you. If you want to focus on the content rather than the design, utilize customizable templates for presentations.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice, practice, and practice some more. Presenting for a colleague or friends and family, or doing a run-through in front of the mirror before you take the show on the road, will help you become pitch-perfect. Use this activity to identify areas of improvement and to build confidence before your presentation!
Confidence is one of the cornerstones of presentation and pitching success. And this comes from a genuine belief in your ideas, products, or services while knowing you have taken appropriate steps to prepare. From research, icebreakers, learning styles, compelling case studies, practice, practice, and practice, you’ll compel and amaze when the big day finally comes.
One final reminder before you leave — gather anonymous feedback after every presentation to help you continuously improve!