By Stacy Davis, ClearDirection Inc.
For some, presenting is an easy task, particularly if you’re actively living your passion through your work. It’s easy to talk about what we love. But, sometimes even the passionate business owner—who easily exudes confidence in a chat over coffee—can find presenting in front of groups daunting.
A great presentation is a work of art and knowing how to deliver one effectively is an important skill for anyone — especially entrepreneurs and business owners. Deliver it well, and your presentation will leave a lasting impression on your audience – one that inspires action and has them talking about you and your company long after you walk out of the room.
Tell your story in a memorable way
Think of a presentation as a story you want to tell. Like any story, it needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Start with your central message, and consider your ultimate take away. To really absorb the message, your audience needs to hear it at least three times, but you need to tell them in three different ways.
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them (in the introduction). “You’re going to hear about how Times Square is indirectly responsible for our product…”
- Tell them (in the body of the presentation). One way to tell a compelling story is to start in the middle of the story in present tense. “I’m standing in the middle of Times Square on a cold December day, without my wallet or cell phone, wondering how the heck I’m going to get home. And suddenly, I think…”
- Tell them what you told them (in the summary). “From Times Square to two hundred customers, we’ve come a long way.”
Tell your story, don’t read it
What you know about your company or a topic isn’t enough unless you know how to convey the information in a way that speaks to your audience and keeps their attention.
- Make them listen to you instead of reading the slides – don’t put every point in the deck.
- Minimize text to short bullets. Let graphics reinforce your story instead.
- Practice telling your story until you lose the fillers – uhhh, ummm – and are confident.
Don’t distract from the story
Make slides visually appealing
Pairing visuals with words can stay in memory up to six times longer than words alone. Consider graphics, infographics, tables and charts when organizing your presentation. Keep in mind – any graphics you include in your presentation should be professional and high quality and consistent with your brand.
Source good graphics
Long gone are the days of tacky clip art and dreadful animations for the sake of animations. Don’t fret if custom graphics are not in your budget. You don’t have to pay a top designer to source great graphics – stock imagery is available from sites like iStockPhoto and ShutterStock for approximately $10 an image (or less if you purchase a volume of credits).
Keep your branding consistent
From your business cards to your slide theme, everything your audience sees and touches should have the same look and feel. Be sure all your visual aids – handouts, posters, business cards or sales sheets – clearly reflect your branding.
Want to learn more?
Join Stacy Davis from ClearDirection, Inc for “Past the Pitch: Presentations to Impress” on Thursday, June 4th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. By the end of this class, you will have a working knowledge of what it takes to create an impressive, informative presentation that you will be proud to give to your investors and clients. We’ll be hands-on creating a custom-branded PowerPoint template that you can use for future presentations. Feel free to bring an existing PowerPoint that you wish to improve.