Sometimes giving a live presentation can be nerve wrecking; there is a lot to get right, and perhaps just as much to get wrong. This is doubly true when you’re marketing something rather than just informing. However, it’s not as bad as it seems as long as you keep a few simple things in mind. Here are ten do’s and don’ts when it comes to giving a successful live presentation for any audience.
Photo: TechEdLive 2012 – Scott Wylie. Keynote Address, Auckland, New Zealand
- DO collect your thoughts: A good presentation revolves around knowing your subject matter to the point you could give the presentation in your sleep. When you know the presentation that well you can adlib where necessary, anticipate questions and prepare your answers, and, most importantly, be able to present with confidence that sells.
- DON’T run into a meeting unprepared: You know your material so well you’ve been dreaming of it, but that is no excuse to go into a meeting unprepared. There are two things you can do to prepare: make yourself presentable and comfortable and knowing your audience. First off, knowing your audience will help you gauge responses to your presentation so you can toss in a joke or other ice breaker to bring them back to the presentation. Secondly, knowing your audience a little helps you dress the part to sell the product.
- DO write a script: While you’re getting to know your material, there are many things you can do from keeping flashcards to writing a script. Grace Conyers, CEO of a startup called Insanitek Research and Development, notes that writing a script can come in handy so it can walk you through slide by slide of your presentation. This is especially good for people when they are learning new materials or in case you want to pass your presentation material onto someone else.
- DON’T write the script on your slides: Don’t write your script on the slides, though. To many words on the slide will detract from you, the presenter. It also has an unpleasant effect of boring your audience. Instead, memorize your material or use visual cues on the slides themselves, like graphs and images.
- DO use graphs and images: Graphs and images serve the primary function of illustrating what you’re saying. They can delight, instruct, and amuse your audience in a way that words can’t by eliciting an emotional response, which is essential to keeping the audience engaged.
- DON’T use too many graphs and images: There is such as thing as “too much of a good thing”. Too many graphs and images can create sensory overload for the audience. Use them to illustrate your story without going overboard.
- DO define jargon: It doesn’t matter what you’re presenting, there is likely going to be a little bit of necessary jargon and there is likely going to be someone in the audience that doesn’t know what it means. Often times your audience will let it pass without asking, which can lose their interest. When in doubt, define the jargon so you don’t lose anyone.
- DON’T forget to highlight your main points: Sometimes your main points can get lost in the story. It’s well worth the effort to take the time to highlight what the audience should be noting or looking at in the image visually as well as verbally. This is a great way to make your presentation more eye catching with fun graphics, such as speech bubbles. It’s also a really amazing way you can add value to the presentation in a very tiny way.
- DO think about the big picture: Your presentation is but a small part of the big picture. Tie in your material with their big picture so they can start to envision how it fits into their lives.
- DON’T forget your audience: The last tip is something shouldn’t need to be stated after all this, but don’t forget about your audience. The presentation is about them, and how the product or service fits into their lives. By making them part of the big picture in more ways than just making eye contact, you’re including them into the story. This is probably what can make or break your presentation even if you have all the most interesting, illustrative and instructional material in the world.
What are your favorite presentation tips? We’d love to hear your comments below. Would you like more ideas on how to make a great sales presentation? Or, how about how to track interest you created with them? To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. We’re ready to help you make your sales presentation a success.