Do you worry that your presentations skills are lacking? Would you like to improve your presentations and get better feedback? Are you just petrified about presenting? If you find presentations or sales pitches a struggle, then you aren’t alone. Many people fear public speaking of any kind and even those who present with confidence get it wrong sometimes.
Here are my top tips for presenting like a pro:
1. Know your subject
When you’re conducting a presentation, you must be familiar with the subject you’re presenting on. If you aren’t, then you won’t feel very confident. Research your subject thoroughly and anticipate the questions you might be asked so that you can be confident in answering. Make sure you have the most up to date facts, figures and statistics. Check your information is accurate before presenting it.
If you are preparing a sales pitch, then make sure that you know your product or service inside out. How does it work? What are the different options, packages or upgrades? What are the main features and benefits? Feeling confident with your subject will help you feel more confident when presenting it.
2. Know your audience
If you are going into a sales pitch, then you must find out everything you can in advance about the company or people you are pitching to. This allows you to focus on the relevant features of your product or service and give examples of how that individual client will benefit.
For presentations, it’s important to identify your audience so you can tailor your presentation. What background knowledge do they already have on the subject? If you are teaching people about a new subject, then you may have to go into more detail. If you are presenting to others in your industry, then you may be able to use more technical terms. You don’t want to make your presentation too simple or too complex for the audience otherwise they will just switch off.
3. Align desired outcomes
Decide what you want to achieve from a presentation. Do you want to teach people a new skill? Are you trying to convince the audience to buy from you? Do you want to raise awareness about your product or service? Are you delivering key information to colleagues? Do you want colleagues to start doing something differently?
You also need to consider what the desired outcome is for those attending your presentation. Do they want to be informed about something that affects them? Are they there to learn a new skill or how to do a specific task? Do they want to learn how a product or service will benefit them? Are they coming to be entertained, inspired or motivated?
Once you know what you want to achieve and what your audience wants to gain, build a presentation that aligns the two.
4. Preparation is key
If you want to feel confident and deliver a quality presentation, then preparation is vital. Make sure any videos, slideshows and props are all working as they should. Proofread any materials to make sure they make sense and don’t contain incorrect information or errors in punctuation, spelling or grammar.
Practice your presentation out loud. You should do this in front of a mirror or to a friend, colleague or family member. This will help you practice confident body language and learn your presentation. Practising out loud will ensure that the timings are correct. You don’t want to get to the day and not have enough content to fill your allotted time or run over and have to cut your presentation short.
Before the presentation, decide what you will wear and get it ready. Running around on the morning of a big presentation, trying to sort out an outfit will only stress you out. Get everything ready in advance; printed materials, notes, clicker, equipment and anything else you need. If you are using your own equipment, check it works correctly. If you are using equipment provided by the venue, then arrive early to set up. If possible, have a full run through before the actual presentation.
The more prepared you are, the less stressed you will be and the more confident you will feel.
5. Be confident
It’s normal to feel anxious before a presentation. Being nervous and not being confident is not the same thing. You’ve researched your subject, you’ve researched your audience and you know what you want to achieve. You’ve practised your presentation out loud and you know it all makes sense and runs on time. Therefore, you have no reason not to feel confident. If you feel confident, you’ll be able to deal with the anxiety more effectively.
Stand upright and smile. Using confident body language will help you feel more confident. If you are smiling, people will smile back so you won’t feel as anxious. Present in a clear voice and get your points across as concisely as possible. If you make a mistake, don’t panic. Correct yourself or return to a point you have missed. Don’t let a mistake throw you off track. Your audience won’t know what you have planned to say so if you say things in the wrong order they won’t know.
Enjoy yourself. Presenting is an enjoyable experience. You’re sharing your knowledge or skills. You’re entertaining or informing or inspiring people. The sense of achievement you’ll get after delivering a great presentation will be worth the hard work. When you get that fantastic feedback at the end, it will be a huge confidence boost.
Need some help?
If you struggle with presentations, sales pitches or public speaking then I can help. I will work with you to understand what is behind the anxiety and what steps you need to take to overcome the obstacles that are in your way. Next, we’ll work on building your confidence and unlocking your potential, so you can achieve your goals.
Contact me today to break down barriers and improve your confidence.