Business presentations don't have to all be the same, and being in the audience during one doesn't have to be sleep-inducing. It is possible to make every business presentation entertaining, informative and enjoyable for all parties involved.
Experts shared their best tips for creating and giving a killer presentation that will engage your audience and help you land the sale.
1. Include only the necessary information.
"A good business presentation … has one main point and everything is structured around that point. It doesn't rely heavily upon PowerPoint or slides filled with text, and it allows time for discussion and asking questions."
– Eddie Rice, speechwriter
2. Lead with your main point.
"No secret sauce, tech or gimmicks. What makes any presentation engaging and effective is to put the bottom line up front and then provide whatever backup data may be needed. I've seen many presentations where the story is dragged out and tension is built, as if the person was trying to make a movie. But … people are busy and need to deal with the issue and then move on."
– Mark McMillion, principal at McMillion Leadership Associates LLC
3. Let yourself, not your slides, shine.
"Focus more on what you will say and how you will say it rather than on having the coolest slides. Not everything you say should be on your slides. No more than three sentences per slide. Present your best data, or no data at all – but not all your data."
– Michal Ann Strahilevitz, Ph.D., visiting scholar, Duke University
4. Tailor your presentation to the audience.
"The true meaning of the presentation is to engage with people and persuade them to your point of view, not just deliver chunks of information. Every presentation, no matter the subject, must be tailored specifically to the people you are talking to. If you tell an anecdote, don't simply repeat the same story wherever you are – not only will it become stale, you'll also fail to make a connection to the people you're addressing."
– Stuart Ross, founder, High Growth
5. Rehearse beforehand.
"What makes a good business presentation is practice, practice, practice! It's just like sports. You have to repeatedly practice your presentation to improve it."
– Andrew J. Zurbuch, broker/owner at Integrated Financial Solutions Inc.
6. Let your personality show.
"Authenticity is engaging. Too many presentations are technically proficient but lack heart. If you are not genuine, there will be an unbridgeable gap between you and your listeners. Authenticity is the most important element of an effective communication in any context."
– Brandt Johnson, principal at Syntaxis Inc.
7. Keep your energy up.
"A high energy level (is) the most important step to take in presentations. This applies to any type of speaking, any size audience and any topic. If you seemed bored or tired, that vibe will translate to your audience."
– Ken Boyd, co-founder & chief educator, AccountingEd.com
8. Use "bridges" when going from topic to topic.
"Some ways to create great segues (include) Bridge Words, such as 'furthermore,' 'meanwhile,' 'however,' 'consequently' and 'finally;' Bridge Phrases, such as 'in addition to,' 'a similar example is,' 'do you remember when I said,' 'on the other hand' and 'in conjunction with;' (and) Bridge Actions, such as asking the audience questions, going point by point, using visual aid, pausing and physical movements."
– Parker Geiger, CEO, CHUVA group
9. Use body language to connect with your audience.
"Dynamic presenters use their hands, facial expressions, and eye (contact) to keep the audience engaged. If possible, use props and stage movement to keep the audience interested."
– Matt Reischer, founder, Legal Advice
10. Keep it simple.
"Simple explanations coupled with simple graphics equal one amazing presentation. People think you need to jam a bunch of data in the slides, but it's a huge mistake. Pick specific points to talk about and create simple graphics to reinforce the point, not give the viewer extra information."
– Gary Tuch, co-founder, Professor Egghead Science Academy
A few more details can be found in this article.
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