Earlier, we discussed a cardinal rule of business presentations: not reading your slides. If you remember nothing else about conducting an effective presentation, that’s the one to recall. However, that alone won’t transform you into a presentation maestro.
In-person business presentations are increasingly rare; most of us do far more business by e-mail or phone these days. That means more rides on each presentation and it doesn’t provide many opportunities for honing your presentation skills to the keen edge that will win you clients, funding, sales, or even applause.
In the next few posts at Effective Communications we’ll be talking about ways improve your presentations skills to help you engage your audience and get your point across.The secret and the power of in-person presentations are their multiple dimensions. Your can engage your audience in multiple ways.
* With your voice
* By interacting with your audience
* With your presentation materials
* With your body language and movement
Each of these broad engagement components has endless subcategories, but by mastering a few tricks and concepts for each one, you’ll be in a better position to deliver an effective and memorable presentation.
But first, let’s address the elephant in the room: your goal. Presentation skills are window dressing and if you don’t have a clear objective in mind and a plan for achieving it, no amount of theatrical skill or bravado will save you from falling on your face.
It’s tempting to skip the planning step. However, if you do it will show in your results. One way to ensure that you plan carefully is be methodical about it. A helpful worksheet for planning presentations — any project really — uses David Allen’s Natural Planning method. This methodology moves from identifying goals to taking action in five steps.
* Step 1 – Identify Purpose and Principles: Why are We Doing This?
* Step 2 – Envision Outcome: What Would It Look Like if We Were Wildly Successful?
* Step 3 – Brainstorm Action Steps: How Would We Accomplish It?
* Step 4 – Organize Action Steps: When do We do These Things?
* Step 5 – Identify Next Action: Where do We Start?
Go download the Natural Planning worksheet, created by Chip Scanlan of the Poynter Institute, and get started planning your next presentation.