Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giving A Great Presentation

How many times have you had to give a presentation at work to a group, with a customer or in your life outside of business. In my work there are times I have to present to a group at work or more often to a client. There are even times outside of business that I need to present. I clearly remember my first public presentation - it was in speech class during my freshman year in college. I had never given a speech and I was terrified. This was something I had never done and I was sure it wasn't going to go well. The amazing thing was that once I was done I realized that I had no broken bones, no one had gotten up and walked out and that it wasn't as bad as I thought. Thankfully my school required four years of speech as well as speech clubs because now giving a presentation is no big deal.

Most people don't have the benefit of that kind of training but there are still tools anyone can use to improve. Shaun Rein recently wrote an article for Forbes that gives three great keys for improving a presentation. These are not nuts and bolts items but more big picture ideas for the overall message.

His first point is to tell stories. This is a great point. People are more interested in stories that bring home a point. Facts and figures are important but without some human element the data gets boring quickly. Shaun puts it this way, "Steve Jobs does not
talk about how the iPad is made of a million microprocessors; he shows the cool and creative things you can do with it. That generates excitement." When you have a presentation look for a good story to paint a picture and still make the point.

The second idea is to show passion. Without energy and a strong desire, your message will get lost. People listen to and follow people who have energy and a desire to do great things. If what you are saying is worth listening to, then make sure that comes across in your delivery.

Finally Shaun tells us to get the audience involved. This is something that is difficult to do because you are not sure what the audience is going to bring to the table. But in most instances, especially in a sales situation, you are better off getting all the ideas out and in the discussion so you can help direct where they go.

The article is well written and has more than I have shared in this post. If you have an opinion, leave a comment below. You never know, when the audience participates, there is usually a better outcome.

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