Whether you present frequently in your job or you present just once in a while, our Head of Training and Development has put together some simple but effective Do’s and Don’ts to help you get deliver good, strong presentations to your colleagues, stakeholders and customers:
- DO be yourself – gather feedback from trusted people about what you do well when interacting at work. This will give you a solid foundation to add extra attributes to and overcomes the challenge that people sometimes perceive of having to become a different person to present well.
- DO slow down – practice speaking out loud fairly slowly and make a conscious effort to slow yourself down when the presentation starts. The tendency is to rush (sometimes to get through it!) but this accelerates any nerves and can hinder clarity of speech.
- DO ask questions early – Q&A doesn’t need to be just at the end of a presentation. We are used to getting responses when we communicate so just hearing other people can make us feel less “in the spotlight”.
- DO learn from others – if you watch what you think is a really good presentation, have a think about what made it so engaging and try some of those things in your own presentations. Practice first though and get some feedback from a peer before you do it ‘on the day’!
- DO use acronyms or memorable alliteration – a strong presentation will focus around three key points and making these three key points memorable will give your audience some ‘take-aways’. Try using simple alliteration. For example:
‘Every presentation should be delivered with…Confidence, Conviction, Control’.
- DON’T use a font size (PowerPoint) of anything less than 30! The writing is too small and you have too much text on one slide!
- DON’T wing it! You are risking everything if you don’t prepare and people will feel that their investment of time isn’t being taken seriously.
- DON’T end abruptly – ensure your presentation is rounded off nicely. A good way of doing this is by asking yourself the question ‘so what?’ How does the presentation you have delivered relate to your audience? What action do you want the audience to take as a result? Summarising these things can be a great way to draw things to a close.
- DON’T read from the projected screen (PowerPoint) – you will have your back to the audience and will appear underprepared. And it will be pretty boring too!
- DON’T be afraid to enter the ‘death zone’ – this is the space between you (the presenter) and the audience. Walk around and use the space you have – this will help you to relax, look less rigid and feel less isolated.
Remember that whether you are delivering to a group of 10 or a group of 100, the same rules apply. If larger audiences make you more nervous, try ‘acting as if’ you’re in front of a smaller group. Envision the room where you’ve been practicing in, rather than the audience you’re actually faced with. But make sure this doesn’t prevent you from making eye contact throughout!