Presentation is a speech or talk in which a new product, idea or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience. This simply means, presentation is the process of conveying a message (idea, product, good, service etc) to a particular audience. Have you ever been unhappy with yourself after making a presentation and you realized you failed to say some very important details when delivering your presentation, especially if you lost a potential deal?.
A fulfilled presentation is when you are able to say everything you planned saying within the stipulated time. If you do this and still lose your audience or a potential deal you would know within yourself that you exhausted the content.
Practical Steps To Make Your Presentation Count
1) Understand your audience and their expectation
The first thing you need to do is to understand your audience, who are you presenting to? Are they investors, corporate leaders, judges, employers? You need to know the category and class they belong to and you need to know their expectation as well. For every presentation, there is an audience and the audience has a reason for listening to you, they have an expectation, why do they want to hear from you and what exactly do they want to hear?. Let’s assume you are going for a sales job interview, you should know that all of your presentation should be centered on SELLING. Before your interview day, you already know that your audience are not only interested about your background or the college you graduated from. They are interested in your experience, expertise and skills in that sector. That’s their expectation
2) Have a plan
What is your message? You need to be sure that your message is accurately crafted to meet the need of your audience. Before you go out to make a presentation you need to have a plan. Now you know the audience, you know their language; you know what they want to hear and their expectation. Having a plan means: knowing how to structure your message to meet the expectation of your audience. Knowing how to arrange your points from introduction to conclusion with examples that your audience can relate with.
Some people believe in “love at first sight”. Well, either you believe in it or not, there is something that is usually associated with first look. You might think it doesn’t matter, but it matters a lot. In one of my training sessions on Personal Branding. I called out one lady and a guy. I told the guy to act like a sales director and to convince the lady to make her company invest in their product. Surprisingly after their conversation the lady said she lost interest in his presentation after the first 2 minutes because he doesn’t look like a professional sales director. That’s exactly how you might lose your audience within seconds if your appearance doesn’t portray what you are saying. Truly people say: don’t judge a book by its cover, I say what if the cover is as amazing as the content? More buyers could just be attracted.
4) Time management
Every presentation has a time limit. You need to know the time frame of your presentation when making your plans so that you can structure your message within the stipulated time frame. When you know you have 5 minute, you should fully utilize the time and focus on the most important things. If you are given additional time then you can say other things related but your core message should fit in to your initial time frame. I once watched one of Denzel Washington’s motivation presentation and in just one minute he delivered his message excellently well and one minute was like one hour because he delivered a fantastic message. Make sure you don’t go home thinking about things you should have said.
5) Communication skills
Communication becomes a challenge in presentation when you are presenting to people from diverse region. This should also be included when making up your plans, know your audience, and know what they understand. Sometimes ago, I was to present my business idea to a group of judge. One American, three Nigerians, and one from the Middle East. I got confused at first on how to communicate and make everyone to understand what I would be saying. I presented with my normal accent and tried to go slow as much as possible and focusing more on the two people that could probably find it difficult to understand my accent. I knew I had over 70% share of the audience already. I only needed to create a balance. For example, a foreign comedian will try as much as possible to learn a bit of your language and some slang used in your country before coming for a show and the turning point where you would laugh is when you hear him speak your language or use some of your slang. At that point, he has communicated directly to you.
6) Leave an impression
Never finish a presentation without leaving an impression (good one of course). When you are not in the room what will they say? It might be your unique way of appearance, it might be your communication capability, and it might be your expression or the content of your message. Leave an expression. I remembered one of the short internship job I did after college. After my interview, the Director for Human Resources asked me, “When can you resume”? I replied “I have resumed already” and they all laughed.
Conclusion: Always believe in yourself, summon courage and confidence, look at everybody in the room, speak boldly and express yourself. After learning all these, your next presentation will get better.