In conversation or even a work meeting, you can get by with winging it. Business presentations are not the place to try out your improv skills, however. When you need to impress your audience and your ultimate goal is to make a sale, your ability to exude confidence and provide convincing evidence is clutch. These objectives can only be achieved with the proper delivery. Keep these ten things in mind to make your business presentation do what it’s meant for: earning you customers and conversions.
Plan What You Say
While you don’t want to speak strictly from a script, it’s also unwise to go into a presentation without having some idea of how you’re going to deliver your message. Keep your objectives in mind as you put your presentation together, come up with an outline of what you want to talk about, and brainstorm the best ways to phrase the key points.
Keep it Short and Sweet
When it comes to a business presentation, less is almost always more. Long presentations lose customers because they can’t keep their attention. To help keep it shorter, stick to delivering three main points that encapsulate the meat of your message.
Do Your Homework
You need to be the expert on the facts of your subject. Audiences can often sniff out when someone doesn’t quite know their stuff as well as they should. Consider what people need to know about your topic, give them solid facts and figures, and anticipate the questions they’ll ask so you’ll be as prepared as you can be.
Have a Solid Structure
The structure of your presentation should be designed to drive home your message. You’ll have your audience’s best attention span at the beginning and end of your presentation, while the bulk of the presentation is in the middle. Before your presentation, tell the audience what you’ll be talking about; then talk about it. At the end, reiterate what you said with a summary. This structure works to make sure you drive it home without being too repetitive.
Do a Dress Rehearsal
No Broadway show goes on without a dress rehearsal. Likewise, your presentation deserves one or several run-throughs. Take your practice runs as an opportunity to identify errors and weaknesses and correct them before you go live.
Stick to Your Message
You only have your audience for a certain amount of time, which means it’s crucial to get to the point while their attention is yours. Avoid going off on a tangent about unrelated topics and don’t tell long, drawn-out stories that stray from your main message.
Don’t Worry About Being Nervous
Everyone gets a little bit nervous right before giving a presentation. It’s normal and natural. If you feel yourself getting a case of the jitters, take some deep breaths, drink a few sips of water, and know that your pre-presentation nervousness will pass once you find your groove.
Keep Calm and Carry On
It’s important to take cues from your audience, but you can take them with a grain of salt. Sometimes your audience won’t react to something you say the way that you imaged. Certain types of people may nod and agree, while others give you a blank stare. No matter what happens, just keep moving forward. Don’t let your audience throw you off, but be responsive to the feedback you get from them.
End at the Exact Right Time
Timing is everything in a presentation, from the beginning to the very end. When you come to a close, end on a note that leaves them wanting more. Give them just enough information to get their interest – and never overstay your welcome.
Show Your Passion
By the time you’re done presenting, you want your audience to be on your side. Achieve this by demonstrating the passion that’s behind your particular product or service. Your potential clients need to be convinced that you are reliable and honest, and that your business is worth their time and investment. Showing passion and purpose will earn their trust and demonstrate value.
Here’s one bonus tip: just be yourself. It’s the most common piece of advice for speakers, but it’s too often neglected. Your credibility and likeability will soar if you come across as an authentic person. Be genuine, and the rest of these tips should fall nicely into place.