Keynote presentations can be terrifying for some of us. We fear messing up, looking bad on camera, forgetting our notes… The list of nightmares just doesn’t end.
While it’s not possible to have an entirely foolproof plan, we can minimize the number of ways where things can go wrong. So if you have an important keynote presentation coming up, here are some of our tips to help you out.
How to Ace Your Keynote Presentation
We’ll give you a concise guide on what you should be doing, from the time you start planning to the time you conclude your speech. Take these 15 quick tips and master them so you can deliver a stunning keynote presentation in no time!
1. Know Your Purpose
Before you start creating the layout of your slides or typing out the content of your speech, take some time to ask yourself — what is the purpose of your keynote presentation? What is the takeaway that you want the audience to have after your presentation? Essentially, you need to ask yourself, “What is my message?”. While it feels like time is ticking away, rushing into your slides will backfire in the long run. You need to ensure that the intention behind this presentation is clear and focused, as that would help you in creating a keynote presentation with clarity and confidence.
2. Be Confident
A genuine smile makes you look at ease and approachable
Ever heard of the phrase, ‘fake it till you make it’? Now’s a great time to take that advice! A significant factor in determining the success of your keynote presentation is your audience’s trust in you, and to gain their trust, you need to be confident in yourself first. Confidence in presentations comes from two sources: your posture, and your mastery of the content you are presenting. For posture, remember not to fidget and stand in a relaxed position. Stretch for a couple of minutes before presenting to loosen yourself up. As for your content, be sure to know the subject of your presentation like the back of your hand; read up as much as possible and do not start on it last minute.
3. Give Your Credentials
When introducing yourself, simply sharing your organization and position is not enough; if your audience wants to know where you’re from, all they need is a quick search online. What they do want to know however, is why you are the best person to deliver this presentation, and what you have to offer them. By sharing this, your audience will know that you’re knowledgeable in the field you’re presenting on, and that you have the solution to their needs or problems. Doing this will not only make your audience lean a little closer, but will also give you a great segue to move them into the next part of your presentation.
4. Deliver Your Hook
Research shows that the audience will stop listening to a presentation within 10 minutes if they are not persuaded that there is something in it for them. It is therefore important that you “hook” your audience by convincing them that they can benefit from your keynote presentation. You can do this by showing your audience that the key idea behind your presentation has the ability to make them feel happy or successful.
5. Introduce Your Agenda
At the start of your speech, be sure to let your audience know what the takeaway of your message is. Dedicate a slide to show your audience the agenda, and when presenting, remember not to read from the slides! Instead, offer a brief and general summary of your presentation. Give your audience the direction of your presentation, as this will allow them to follow your content better.
6. Ensure Smooth Transitions
Transitions are like sign posts that guide your audience throughout your speech, so they must be easy to follow, the last thing you need is a confused audience! Unclear transitions can be a nightmare as it may potentially distort the content of your presentation. In the end, the audience grasps only bits and pieces of your message, or worse, gives up on following your presentation. This applies not just to the visual effects that PowerPoint has, but also to the words you use. When transitioning from point to point, use words such as ‘next’, ‘then’, and ‘after’, and number your points using words like ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’, and ‘thirdly’. This will help the audience understand when you’re moving on to another idea or part of your presentation.
7. Give a Credible Statement
If you wish to gain your audience’s trust and establish a professional relationship with them, you need to get them to buy into your presentation. One way would be through giving credible statements that support your message. This can come in the form of data, or in the form of professional advice from experts in the field of your presentation. For example, make use of graphs and statistics to show the importance of a certain situation, and share quotes from someone with authority in a similar (if not the same) industry to backup your statements.
8. Use Images for Maximum Impact
The beauty of well-selected images lies in their ability to communicate a message without throwing dozens of words at an audience, so use them to your advantage! Select photos that encapsulate the message of your keynote presentation, or to highlight a specific idea that you’re sharing. Images that look simple can deliver the most powerful messages, and do what words sometimes cannot achieve — stir emotions in an audience. However, while images are a great tool, moderation is key. Stay away from photos that have been used too often (icebergs, anyone?), and use them sparingly throughout the presentation, as too many may reduce their impact.
9. Present data simply
Data is important in any credible presentation, and like we mentioned earlier, can help to establish your audience’s trust. However, it is crucial that the data be presented in a simple and uncomplicated manner. Too many numbers or graphs can be distracting for the audience, and may obscure the real intention of presenting the data. If you have large chunks of statistics, ask yourself: What is the key idea of the message you’re sharing? Which figures will back your statements up? From there, choose the appropriate data and highlight them accordingly.
10. One slide – one theme
Like transitions, each slide can be used as markers of the various points you aim to cover. Not only does this make your presentation easy for the audience to follow, it also makes it easy for you to remember your points as they are neatly categorised in each slide. It may seem tempting to squeeze all your information into few slides, but remember, moderation is key!
11. Be minimalistic
For a keynote presentation, simplicity is important when designing and organising your deck. You do not want the pattern or design to distract your audience from the real content and message. Again, it is also important that you do not overload the slides with words, so keep the sentences and points in your slides short. Let your speech expand on the ideas that you want the audience to take with them. Your communication and connection with them is more impactful in sending your message across than words on the slides.
12. Be consistent
Consistency is essential, especially when it comes to your presentation. Avoid using different backgrounds in every slide, and ensure that the design is reasonably similar throughout, unless you wish to use differences to distinguish individual points in your message. This makes the transitions in your presentation smooth, and thus it makes the story that you are telling easy for the audience to follow.
13. Practice, Practice, Practice
Rome was not build in a day, and similarly, a perfect presentation will not happen instantaneously! Rehearse your presentation a couple of times before the actual one, as this will help you in two ways. Firstly, you will gain familiarity with the content, which will definitely increase your confidence in delivering the presentation. Secondly, going through the deck aloud will allow you to listen to your speech from the audience’s perspective. This will aid you in tweaking and adjusting the content and structure of your presentation, to best fit the needs of the audience.
14. Analyse your audience
On the day of your presentation, analyse the audience. Get a general feel of the crowd. Are they excited? Are they bored? Are they tired? By doing this, you will be able to tweak the content of your presentation to fit the needs of your audience. If they are bored, you may wish to start with an interesting story related to your message. If they are tired, you could give them some time to get refreshed, either through a 5 minutes break or a quick activity to keep them alert. This way, you can ensure that you have a receptive audience ready to listen to what you have to say.
15. Q&A session
It is absolutely important that you leave some time at the end of your keynote presentation for a short “question and answer” session. Since the presentation was done from your perspective, the audience may have missed some important links and connections in your ideas. Therefore, a Q&A session is great in resolving any potential confusion that the audience may have.
There you have it, 15 simple tips to ace your keynote presentation! Just remember:
Know Your Purpose
Give Your Credentials
Deliver Your Hook
Introduce Your Agenda
Ensure Smooth Transitions
Give a Credible Statement
Use Images for Maximum Impact
Present data simply
One slide – one theme
Practice, Practice, Practice
Analyse your audience
Now you’re good to go, all the best for your keynote presentation!
With over 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day, this indispensable software has long been integrated into our everyday lives, whether for educational purposes or work. We often turn to this handy software when we need to introduce certain ideas to a group of people, as a thousand-word report can easily be condensed into a visual presentation. The experience a good PowerPoint deck provides can effectively engage the audience; aiding them in quickly understanding the material being conveyed, and easing what would have otherwise been a tedious process for both speaker and audience.
Presentations can also act as notes or reminders for the speaker, and the natural confidence that comes from knowing the script paves the way for a captivating performance. But here’s the thing — most of us know the benefits of having great presentations, the only question is how. How do we make a good PowerPoint deck that is effective, without sacrificing too much of our time?
How To Make a Good PowerPoint Presentation
Trust us, it’s easier than it sounds. We’re giving you 9 hacks to help you get started.
1. It’s All About the Design
Fancy fonts and flashy animations? Pretty cool, but if you’re keeping it professional and stylish, leave that behind for now. Avoid cheesy effects and focus on simple designs as a deck with minimal clutter and distractions work best in capturing your audience’s attention. This is particularly important when what they have to pay attention to, is distinctive. Keep three things in mind:
Use only fonts that are easy to read. Sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri are the easiest to read on screens. If you want to spice things up, use decorative fonts for slide headers, but make sure they’re legible, even from afar.
Use dark text on a light background. Research has proven that dark text on a light background is the best combination as white stimulates focus in the eye, and allows smoother absorption of information.
Align text left or right. Aligning all text to a baseline makes it easier for the audience to follow, gives the presentation a neater look overall.
2. Customize Your Theme
There is a reason why we get bored when we see the standard templates from PowerPoint — they’ve been used far too many times. A slide deck that is visually similar to what an audience has seen repeatedly will not appear fresh or interesting, making information retention and engagement that much harder to achieve. To avoid a cookie-cutter and forgettable presentation, you can either create your own template, purchase professional ones online, or download free ones from the internet (psst, we help companies create templates too!).
Avoid overwhelming the audience with too many things all at once. A good PowerPoint presentation has both visual and verbal brevity, allowing the audience to remain focused on one point at a time. Instead of packing all the information into one slide, spread them evenly across a few slides to avoid distracting or confusing the audience. If you have a lot of information and data that needs to be shared with the audience, prepare a separate set of documents for them to review, or send out the slides with greater detail after the presentation.
4. More Images, Less Text
If someone tells you about a giant chicken crossing a road, in your head, would you think of an animal walking against traffic, or the words itself? Chances are, you’ll conjure an image in your head, as ridiculous as it sounds.
There’s a reason for that. As humans, we generally prefer visuals over text — in fact, the combination of a great visual accompanied by a short list of brief bullet points increases the chances of information making it to long-term memory. Be sure to use only high-quality images as they are the ones that will help you make an impression on the audience. Either resize or replace images that are too small or they might become overly stretched-out.
5. Use the Great Alignment Feature
Properly aligning your images, texts, and anything else that is on your slide instantly makes it look neater and more professional. While manually aligning everything is an option, our aim here is to get the deck done in the shortest amount of time. Here’s where PowerPoint helps you out; there is an amazing feature that effortlessly makes the magic happen.
To align multiple objects:
Select all objects by holding down ‘Shift’ and clicking on all of them.
Select ‘Arrange’ in the top options bar, then choose ‘Align or Distribute’.
Choose whichever alignment works best for you.
That wasn’t hard, was it? Keep this little trick with you, especially if you can’t stand having slide elements just slightly off-centre.
6. Know the Power of Colors
Colors are amazing, and they can do wonders to a presentation. Studies have shown that colors can not only increase interest, but also improve learning comprehension and retention rate. Cool colors (such as blue and green) are better suited to be used for the background as they have the illusion of fading away from us, whereas warm colors (such as orange and red) are better used for objects in the foreground as they appear to be coming toward us. Good PowerPoint presentations make use of colors effectively to achieve various outcomes, such as highlighting messages or ideas that the audience needs to focus on, or pushing less relevant data into the background.
While it is exciting to play with different combinations of colors on a slide, for simplicity, keep it to a maximum of three colors; one for your background, one for your text, and one to highlight any important information.
7. Remember the 2/4/8 Rule
If you’re worried about content and how it should be placed or split up, a simple way to remember is the 2/4/8 rule from Hugh Culver:
No more than one slide every 2 minutes
No more than 4 bullets per slide
No more than 8 words per bullet
This is not a rigid system; if your presentation is only 5 minutes, having only one slide every 2 minutes might not be enough. You’ll need to trust your instincts and modify accordingly, keeping in mind that brevity is key.
8. Use Charts
Data is beautiful, but not when it’s squeezed into a slide that forces your audience to rack their brains in an attempt to comprehend it. If data is a necessity in your presentation, extract only the necessary information and display these numbers in graphic form instead. It is essential to choose the right kind of charts for your data, as different charts bring across different messages.
Look, data can be beautiful too! =)
Pie Charts. They are mainly used to present percentages. Contrast the most important slice either with a conflicting colour or by separating it from the rest of the slices.
Vertical Bar Charts. They can effectively reflect changes in quantity of two groups (or more) over time, but it is ideal to limit the bars to not more than 8.
Horizontal Bar Charts. They are best used for comparison between different groups.
Line Charts. They are used to reflect actual trends, or predict possible trends.
9. Organize Your Slides
The slide sorter function often goes ignored, but in fact, it is extremely useful in organizing the entire flow of your presentation and helping you look out for any extraneous information that might be removed to improve the overall clarity. Take a step back and run through your slides as you would from someone who is seeing it all for the first time. Process all the content being fed as your harshest critic—focus on coming up with the best and most logical flow and remove anything that might prove distracting or unnecessary in helping you understand a certain point.
In a generation so highly dependent on the use of technology, it is crucial that we understand the rules of the playing field and are able to manipulate technology well enough to suit our needs. These simple hacks are what you need to create a powerful presentation quickly and effectively. Just remember:
It’s All About the Design
Customize Your Theme
Conciseness is Key
More Images, Less Text
Use the Great Alignment Feature
Know the Power of Colors
Remember the 2/4/8 Rule
Organize Your Slides
With all these in mind, you’re good to go. Have fun creating your slides!
Imagine this – it’s late at night and you’re finishing up your last few slides for your big presentation tomorrow. You’ve done your final check and your pitch deck is all ready to be sent out. You are finally satisfied with how it looks and click the send button.
To your horror, the email bounces back.
Why? Large attachments are one of the most common causes for bounced emails that never reach their intended recipient. These huge files can cause difficulties in sending out emails or even online uploading in a tense, urgent situation. Especially in corporate organizations, email filters tend to block large attachments for security’s sake. More than 80% of the time, the cause of the file-bulk are the large images that you insert in PowerPoint or your export format of choice.
“But… if I don’t include images, my presentation is going to look boring and ugly”
You’re not wrong there. We encourage our clients and even presentation skills training learners to use more visuals and images in their presentations. If you still want to include some images to ensure your presentation design looks great, what do you do? Worse, in plenty of PowerPoint training courses in the market, few actually teach you different ways to compress your PowerPoint files before sending as an attachment via email or only cover it on Windows or OSX.
Fear not, here’s how you can reduce the size of your PowerPoint file and save space.
This also ensures that your presentation/PowerPoint files reach their intended recipient.
How to Compress PowerPoint (.PPT) Files On Apple OSX Machines
If you own a Mac but still need to use PowerPoint for work, you’re in luck. There are a few ways of compressing PowerPoint files to fit your file limit in organisations with email filters so you won’t need to use file-sharing services like DropBox or Wetransfer.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method One : Compressing All photos on PowerPoint
More often than not, PowerPoint balloons in size because of the high-resolution stock photography that you might include in your presentation. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to quickly compress these files across the whole file or singular files in PowerPoint.
How To Compress All Photos/Images On PowerPoint
Step 1: On the file menu, click “reduce compress pictures”
Step 2: Select your compression size according to the table”
Unless you’re intending to print the PowerPoint file, you shouldn’t have photos sized at 220ppi. We’ve found that the best setting in most cases is 150ppi – such that it preserves minimal quality for use. If you’re really in the need of smaller sizes, using 96ppi is your last resort.
Step 3: Select ‘Delete Cropped Area’
Step 4: Choose “all pictures in this file” and Click “Ok” ‘
You’ll have the option to either compress all images or only selected ones. If you have critical images that cannot be downsampled, choose the latter.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Two : Using Picture Format
A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.
How To Compress PowerPoint using picture format
1. Select the “Picture Format” tab when selecting one or a few images
2. Click on the Adjust button
3. Select Compress Pictures
4. Select your compression size according to the table
5. Select “delete cropped area”
6. Choose “all pictures in this file”
7. Click “Ok”
Alternatively, if you wish to be selective about the photos being compressed, PowerPoint provides another option to compress only specific images. Under steps 4 and 6 respectively, you will be able to choose between the option of all pictures or just a selective few. However, if you wish to retain the size of the slides and still send it to people, you can consider zipping the file. Most of the time, people choose this option in order to keep the resolution at its highest without compromising it.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Three : Compressing Images Before Inserting into PowerPoint To Preserve Small Size
A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.
Image Compression Method 1: Reduce the size of images losslessly using browser applications
Tools likeTinyjpeg,Tinypngand Smallpdfare great to reduce the size of your files without installing any additional applications on your machine.
Image Compression Method 2: Optimize the dimensions of your presentation images before inserting into PowerPoint
This step is most commonly overlooked by most executives simply because it’s pretty tedious. It involves ‘pre-cropping’ the images you plan to insert into your presentation even before you try any of the methods before this. a) The first step is to determine the max dimensions of your slide. You can do this by accessing the ‘slide size’ in the ‘design’ tab.
b) Enter ‘Page Setup’ when navigating into ‘Slide Size’ to identify the dimensions of each slide. If you’re using any of the typical slide dimensions like Standard (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9), typically the safe dimension is 1024px x 768px and 1280px 720px respectively. c) The very next step is to start cropping the images to fit within the slide dimensions. For example, if your image is 3000px x 2000px, cropping it down to size will save you a lot of space. Using sites like https://imageresize.org/, you can quickly resize images to fit your slide canvas. At the same time, if you’re using raster editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can easily reduce the dimensions of your images before saving. Otherwise, site-based tools work too.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Four : Zipping Up Files To Compress Size Of PowerPoint
This method is best performed at the end and works regardless of whether you actually compressed the images prior or not. It doesn’t do much other than reduce the size of the single file or a combination of files in a .zip package to send via email.
How To Compress PowerPoint by zipping the file
Step 1: Right-click on selected PowerPoint file and select ‘Compress’
Step 2: You should see a ‘.zip’ file created in the location
Just like that, your file archive is ready to be sent out! Not a Mac user? Fret not! While we do most of our work on MacBooks, we occasionally use other laptops under the Windows operating system as well. For Windows users, the way to reduce file size for Powerpoint presentations can be a little different but follow the steps below and you’re on your way.
How to Compress PowerPoint Files (.PPT) On Windows OS Machines
PowerPoint was developed originally mainly for Windows users – it’s no surprise that many Windows users are also looking to compress their presentations and may run into brick walls during the process.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON WINDOWS OS
Method One : Compress Images In Picture Format
The approach here to compress your PowerPoint file is very similar to the way it’s done in Mac where you can compress all the images in PowerPoint files with just a few clicks.
How To Compress windows powerpoint using picture format
1. Select an image or picture in the slides
2. Click the Picture Tools tab on the top ribbon
3. Next, select the Format tab
4. Under the adjust segment, click on the Compress icon
5. Select your preferred compression size
6. Select “delete cropped area”
7. Choose “all pictures in this file”
8. Click “Ok”
That’s it! Notice the big difference in size? Now, you’ll be able to send out the emails without worrying about large attachments bogging you down. These handy ways to cut down on file size have been a lifesaver for us at work, and we surely hope they’ll be helpful for you as well. Let us know if you have discovered other methods in the comments section below!
Ever found yourself looking for ways to enhance your presentation skills for your upcoming pitch?
This presentation of yours may either be the deal maker or breaker! You wouldn’t want to lose this opportunity to work with a potential client, would you?
According to a Prezi survey, 70% of employed Americans who deliver presentations agree that presentation skills are beneficial in helping them ace their presentations and succeed at work. However, the fear of presenting is still very real amongst everyone, no matter whether you’re presenting to a small group of people or a really large one. This fear tends to affect the way you present, resulting in a presentation delivered below your own expectation.
Delivering a good presentation is no easy task, but it is definitely not an impossible one. In this article, we have prepared 30 presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. From presentation design, delivery of speech to preparing yourself before a big presentation, these tips have got you covered.
1. Arrive early
It is best to arrive early before a presentation so as to prepare yourself for the big show. This is because anything can happen – planning your journey to arrive on the dot will only spell trouble. What if the train breaks down? Or if there is a jam because of an accident? We cannot afford to take risks. So, come early. It’ll give you time to settle down and get prepared.
2. Adjust to your Surroundings
The faster you get adjusted to the environment you’ll be presenting in, the more comfortable you’ll feel. If possible, get access the room you’ll be delivering your presentation in as early as you can. It’s best to practice with the microphone, test the lighting and get an idea of what the room’s seating layout looks like.
3. Calm your nerves
Many people get nervous before presentations due to stage fright. Sometimes, it’s because they set high expectations for themselves, to the point that they are afraid that they won’t be able to meet them. But, one thing you should know is that getting nervous before a presentation is absolutely normal, even for seasoned speakers like Abraham Lincoln. Therefore, fear should never be avoided but faced instead.
Here are some things you can do to calm your nerves:
Meditate – Focus on the result that you would like to achieve at the end of the presentation
Chew gum – Research has shown that the act of chewing gum will help one become more alert and it also helps to reduce anxiety
Take slow and deep breaths – It helps to clear the mind which helps calm your nerves.
4. Drink water
According to experts, anxiety may cause certain individuals to feel thirsty right before they are about to present. Reason for this is because anxiety may either take water away from your mouth to send it to the other areas of your body that need it more or it could have increased the acids in your stomach, contributing to a loss of saliva.
To prevent all that, avoid sugary beverages and caffeine as they only make you feel thirstier. This will only amplify your anxiety, and can prevent you from speaking smoothly.
Instead, ensure you are well hydrated by drinking a glass of water. Lemon juice will often do the trick as well as it helps lubricate the throat.
However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” ~ Bob Proctor
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognise it in others as well. So if your body and mind are anxious, your audience will know. Hence, it’s important to prep yourself before the big show so that you come up on stage confident, collected and ready.
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and send oxygen to the brain. This results in increased muscle efficiency, improved reaction time and movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
Neck and Shoulder Rolls
6. Don’t Fight the Fear; Turn Your Nervous Energy into Enthusiasm
Nervous energy is good and exactly what we need for our presentation. But how? How does feeling like your heart is about to jump out of your chest or feeling cold sweat and/or anxiety a great feeling to have?
The brain perceives stress the same way, whether that stress is physical or psychological. With stress comes nervous energy, which according to research helps us to perform at our optimum and helps improve our memory. This stress is good and it helps stimulate us. Channel this energy focused on your nerves and insecurities to what truly matters more.
Focus this energy on how passionate you are for what you’re about to speak. Use this energy to project a confident and strong voice. Use it to impact your audience.
And when you do, you’ll realise you didn’t feel as nervous as you thought you would.
7. Use Positive Visualisation
Studies have proven that positive visualisation is effective in helping calm your nerves. Also known as mindfulness, it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness teaches people to observe their own behavior and thought process without judgment. It makes people acknowledge their feelings and thoughts before letting all these insecurities and reservations go. Naturally, that’ll make us focus on our strengths and positive energy as a result.
Start by imagining a positive outcome to a scenario in your mind. Do not think about possible negative scenarios. With mindfulness, the reality is more likely to play out the way you envisioned.
8. Take deep breaths
A study has shown that deep breathing can help change the state of our minds. This is because it helps increases the supply of oxygen to our brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing also helps you feel connected to your body by bringing your awareness away from your worries and hushing the self-doubt in your mind.
9. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes
Have you ever been to a presentation and felt that the presenter wasn’t really capturing your attention? Chances are, there could be a lack of interaction between him or her and us, the audience.
It’s important that we look from a different perspective when presenting so that we’ll be able to understand how the audience may be feeling or thinking. Always ask yourself: Will the audience be interested to hear this? Is my content easy to understand?
Not only will this help you think the way they – the audience – do, it’ll make you ensure what you’re presenting is engaging and relatable to them. This ensures your audience leaves the room learning something new and charmed, ready to attend your next presentation.
If you think it’s normal for everyone to be confident before a presentation, then think again. Finding someone who is naturally talented when it comes to public speaking is as rare as a blue moon. Few individuals can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation. Yet many people seem to have the misconception that it is possible to do so. Even speakers like Steve Jobs spend hours rehearsing for their presentations before delivering their presentation – why shouldn’t you?
It’s not only about what you say, but how you say it. Like any other skill, presentations require practice in order for you to nail the delivery and execution. Not only will this help you become more comfortable when presenting, it also helps you improve as a presenter. The result? Presenting becomes less daunting over time and you become much more confident.
11. Make use of body language
Body language is one of the most important characteristics needed to interact with your audience during presentations. Actress Mae West once said: “I speak two languages, Body and English.”
Body language, which includes hand gestures and facial expressions, is commonly used by presenters, maybe sometimes subconsciously, to place emphasis on certain points. It can also help to communicate your points to the audience more effectively, show your confidence and make you look and feel more comfortable.
However, do not use it excessively as it will become a source of distraction for your audience, and it will ultimately conflict your message.
12. Move around
The stage is all yours during a presentation.
Imagine if you were listening to a presentation in which the speaker positions himself/herself at the same spot throughout the whole presentation. How would you feel? Like most of the audience, you will probably be bored and lose focus after a while.
It is best to make use of the space given to you as it adds energy and variation to your presentation. Furthermore, it makes you look more confident and relaxed.
Here are a few ways in which you can do it:
Key message – When you are delivering your key message, it is best to position yourself at the center of the stage where you are the closest to the audience. Centre stage is also the position where you will probably get the most attention from the audience.
Use a staged timeline – Where a story involves the passage of time like past, present, and future, you can imagine a timeline moving across the stage with the progression of time. For example, when you are speaking about the past, position yourself at the left side of the stage, present – in the middle, and future – on the right. Remember to position the spot representing the past to the audiences’ left, not yours! That way, they can better relate to the story that you are speaking about.
Smiles are contagious!
According to experts, your facial expressions have the ability to influence your emotions and those of others around you as well. Make sure you smile as it naturally creates a higher frequency of sound in your mouth, changing the overall tone of your voice. Due to the human instinct of mirroring, it also will likely make others smile along with you which then improves the mood of everyone in general. With that being said, it’s important to smile genuinely. A forced smile makes you look confused and frustrated.
14. Breathe in not out
Do you feel the urge to use ‘um’, ‘yeah’ or ‘you know’ during your presentations? These words are very distracting and may also kill your presentation. Try breathing in whenever you feel like you’re going to say something. The pause may seem a little awkward, but the audience probably wouldn’t even notice this.
15. Eye Contact
Always keep in mind that the audience is one of the most important parts of a presentation. Without an audience interested to hear what you are saying, there wouldn’t be any reason for you to give a presentation at all. Try to make your audience feel significant by maintaining eye contact with them throughout the presentation.
By maintaining eye contact, not only will you keep the audience engaged, but you will also look more confident and authoritative.
If you find it difficult to maintain eye contact with your audience, here’s a tip. Instead of looking straight into their eyes, you can either look at their nose or forehead! Either way, it will look as though you are maintaining eye contact with your audience.
16. Looking Confident
Have you heard of the phrase ‘Fake it till you make it’?
There are really only two types of presenters – one that lies and another type that’s just really nervous.
Confidence is an important trait that every presenter should have. This is because the audience is able to determine how prepared the presenter is through their level of confidence. Being confident will not only help you boost your own morale, it will also give you credibility as a presenter as you speak to your audience.
17. Project Your Voice
Voice projection is very important, especially during presentations as it dictates how powerful your voice is. It isn’t just about speaking loudly, but also confidently and distinctly. If you speak loudly, people often view you as a confident person with a strong personality. This is why it is important to project your voice, because how your audience view you may also affect your credibility as a speaker.
Another reason for voice projection is to get your message across to the audience. Make sure your audience can hear and understand what you are saying, if not there might may be a chance that they will lose interest in your presentation.
It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
18. Engage with your audience
We all know that it is important to engage with your audience during presentations, especially if it is going to be a lengthy one. This way, you’ll be able to capture their attention and make the presentation a more enjoyable one for your audience and yourself. Simple acts like asking a question and getting them to raise their hands to respond are great way to engage with them and also to ensure that they are still awake and listening to you.
Sometimes, you do not need your audience to perform any actions to engage them. Just your words and your tone can get their attention – if it’s done right. Connect on a personal level by sharing stories. Use the right tone when you are speaking depending on the type of presentation you are going to deliver, and also to place emphasis on words that need to be emphasized.
19. Never read from your slides
PowerPoint slides should accentuate your points; they should never be the point. Your audience should be able to instantly scan through the slides instead of having to spend time reading them in detail. In addition, you’ll definitely lose their attention if you read from your slides. Instead, try to either present with prompts on your slides, or cue cards as reference in case you forget your points.
20. The power of repetition
Most of the audience probably hears and remembers only half the things you are saying. The solution to this is to repeat and reinforce the key points. First, state and explain the point. Next, provide the audience with examples of how the points can be applied and finally conclude by providing actions that they can carry out based on the point.
Since no one probably remembers everything you say, make use of the power of repetition to create a bigger impact on the audience.
21. Use of pauses
Pauses are like verbal punctuation.
Imagine this. You are attending a presentation and the speaker starts off by saying, “Hello everyone! How are you guys doing?”, and the next thing you know, he is already going through the outline of the presentation. How would you feel? It doesn’t seem genuine right?
Pauses are very important as it helps to pace your delivery. Pauses work well when you are trying to emphasize a key point as it provides the audience with time to absorb and process what you have said.
While you’re at it, be sure to make eye contact with your audience to reinforce your point, leaving your audience hungry for more.
As much as pauses are a need for a presentation, avoid overusing them as it will slow down your pace and also make you look less confident.
22. Tell stories
Michael Margolis once said this, “Storytelling is about connecting to other people and helping people to see what you see.”
You see, business presentations don’t always have to start with stating numbers and facts. Instead, you should adopt a different approach by using stories to connect with your audience while leading them on to the points and concepts that you will be speaking about later in the presentation.
Stories can be useful in a sense that they allow your audience to have a vision of what your presentation is about. That being said, although the ability to tell your story is essential, it is also important to select the right story as it can capture or lose the audience’s attention. Your story also plays a big part in helping the audience understand your concepts better and it may also connect with the audience on a personal level!
23. Use pictures
It is good to have pictures in your PowerPoint slides as they can help to reinforce your key points. On top of that, it also adds color to your presentation to make it more attractive and pleasing to the eye rather than just black and white slides filled with words.
However, not every image is suitable for every slide! You can’t possibly have pictures of cartoons when you are presenting to your investors right?
So here’s a tip for you when you are looking for pictures for your slides:
Choose pictures that are related to your points so that it is easier for the audience to understand and relate to what you are talking about.
Avoid using blurry or pixelated photos as they look unprofessional
Avoid stretching your photos! Do you notice that your photos will be out of proportion after stretching them? A solution is to crop your photos so that they remain proportionate.
Use royalty free pictures to avoid watermarks on your photos as they also convey a lack of professionalism. Here are a few websites which you can get royalty free images from – pixabay.com, pexels.com and freepik.com
24. Keep it simple
Keep your presentations simple. Don’t flood your audience with too many numbers and facts because at the end of the day, will they really remember everything you said?
What is the key message for your audience to take away? Key message should be focused and communicated across very briefly, and of course, it’s best to support it with evidence. However, if what you are planning to say is not related to your point, they shouldn’t say it. This is because you may lead your audience to a different direction which then defeats the purpose of having the presentation.
25. Use animations
Animation is an important feature which you can use to produce an effective presentation. It is also a good way to capture the attention of your audiences because they will be able to anticipate something. Animations, such as pulse, can help to emphasize certain points of your presentation. Also, animations can help to clearly show the flow of content of the presentation when used within a slide. Here’s an example, when presenting a series of milestones, animations can come in useful in showing the flow of content. But, if you have a particularly busy slide, it is recommended to use exit animations when appropriate to remove the clutter from your slides.
However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Animations are good to have, however, if they are necessary, don’t use it. Don’t overuse them either! Having too many animations will not only distract the audience, but it can overshadow the main point of your presentation!
26. Don’t overrun
Have you ever sat in a presentation wondering when it will end? Well, I’m sure we all have. Always remember to keep within the time limit of your presentation or if possible, end earlier and allow the audience to clarify their doubts through Q&A sessions. It is important to respect the audience’s time. Try your best not to overrun the presentation as the audience will eventually lose interest and wonder when it will end. Be flexible during presentations and be prepared for any unexpected situations to arise.
27. Summarise the key points after the presentation
How much do you actually remember after a 30-minute presentation?
There is a high chance that your audience will not remember everything you said during the presentation so do your audience a favour by summarising the key points when you are concluding your presentation. It serves two main purposes, a recap of the presentation that you have delivered and to ensure that your main points are well communicated to your audiences.
28. Accept constructive feedback and apply it in the future
Always practice before your actual presentation, and if possible, practice in front of your peers as they can be of great help by giving you constructive feedback. With this feedback, you will be able to understand what your strengths and shortcomings are so you can make improvements. Accept these feedback as an opportunity for you to work towards your goals.
29. Attend other presentations and observe
A trick to finding out how to improve your presentations is to attend presentations by other speakers themselves. This is because you can observe and take note of what you should and should not do to be a better presenter. Not only that, it helps to show respect for other presenters and also gives you the opportunity to observe how presentations are delivered – helping you gain the perspective of the audience.
30. Join Toastmasters
Toastmasters Clubs helps individuals enhance their presentation skills and allow others to seek guidance to combat their fear of speaking to a large audience. Individuals from different walks of life gather to develop their presentation skills in front of an audience so they can receive constructive feedback which can be applied to further improve and polish their skills. Not only will Toastmasters provide a platform for you to practice, you will also be able to pick up some tips and tricks from the experts at Toastmasters!
Use these 30 proven presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. Don’t miss the opportunity to apply these for your next big pitch and let us know in the comments if it worked for you.
So you’ve just put on a killer presentation that completely wows your audience or prospect. Time to go home and bask in the glow of a job well done, right? Well, no—not if you want your audience members to take action. You’ve connected with a group of prospective clients, colleagues, donors or volunteers; now it’s time to reconnect with them and seal the deal.
Following up with your prospect is actually something you should consider well before your presentation begins. Form a plan for how you plan to reach out and reconnect with them; this will give you a much better chance to persuade them towards an action.
Afterall, not everyone will be ready to buy from the get-go, most people need to be nurtured before they’ll be willing to buy what you sell. There are numerous sales techniques you could use to boost your closing rate, but ones specific to following up will help you secure those meetings for them to take the next step.
Here are some simple techniques you should keep in mind:
1.Exchange business cards
Before you end your presentation and walk out of the room, it’s important to give the prospect your business card. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but with the advent of social media and other digital communications, many people take print media for granted.
You never want to be short of these handy references when you’re out and about at networking events and after speaking at conferences. Most of the time, conference attendees will be on the lookout for the speaker they just saw on stage sharing industry insights and will want to personally connect for further discussion after the conference is over.
Any business card is better than none at all, but if you’re going to invest resources into creating cards for your brand, make sure they have a design that stands out. Recipients are much more likely to hold on to a card with an unusual shape or design.
2.Create a video
An email is a fast and convenient way to reconnect with audience members after a sales presentation. But if you want to make a solid impression, you should do more than send a standard “just following up” message.
One creative technique you can use is creating a YouTube video (or a series of videos) related to the topic of your presentation and the action that you want recipients to take. Well executed corporate videos offer you an opportunity to demonstrate your product or service in a more visual way. You can even include taped testimonials from some of your other clients to provide social proof.
A video doesn’t need to be expertly produced in a professional studio with a green screen or elaborate set pieces. With the right editing and talent, just speaking into a camera and providing a few visual aids is often enough to leave a positive impression and motivate your audiences to take the next step. Just be sure to communicate clearly and concisely; few people will want to sit through a video that’s hours long rambling on the same thing.
3.Mail a handwritten letter
If you do nothing else to follow up after a sales presentation, you can also try to send a handwritten letter to your audience members. It’s one of the best things you can do to establish a personal connection. We’ve had success with this by sending outreach letters on special occasions like Chinese New Year or Christmas. These help to open doors to further communication with the clients.
If you can, avoid creating a single generic form letter that you send to everyone. Try to personalise it as much as possible; include a specific detail about your addressee (such as the type of work they do). We’ve found that printing envelopes or custom designed cards and including handwritten messages tend to get the best responses.
Some manufacturers like Company Folders let you customise envelopes and cards so that you can deliver cards that are on-brand and well-received by prospects.
4.Write an e-book
Even if you’re not strictly in the literature business, writing an e-book related to your industry is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and reinforce your value to potential clients. Provide your presentation audience members with a free copy of that book via an opt-in sequence so that they can refer to valuable reference of the knowledge shared in their own time and you’ll get access to information to reach out to them again.
Writing an e-book doesn’t need to be a daunting task; you don’t even necessarily need to perform a bunch of new research. Consider creating an e-book version of your sales presentation design. This shouldn’t just be a direct transcript; written mediums are different from spoken ones, so this will likely require a bit of editing to adapt. Make sure your information flows in a way that is logical and easy to read.
5.Give a gift
Sending audience members of your sales presentations a promotional gift isn’t always an option. In fact, certain companies have very strict rules about what they can and can’t accept as gifts. If your recipient does allow for it, though, sending a printed keychain or magnet that features your logo and/or contact information isn’t a bad idea. These are less likely to get thrown out than business cards because they have a practical, tangible utility.
Gifts shouldn’t be treated like a bribe; don’t try to butter people up with something extravagant. Instead, think of it as a means of connecting emotionally and helping them to more easily remember your brand agency.
6.Respond to questions
If anyone asks questions during your sales presentation (particularly ones you’re not fully prepared to answer), make note of them and the people who asked them. Later, you can email them with a detailed response. This helps establish trust and demonstrates to people that you care enough to pay personal attention, ensuring that they’re fully informed.
If you still aren’t certain how to answer a question (even after performing some research), refer the audience member to someone who’s more equipped to help. Even though you couldn’t assist them directly, prospects will remember that you put in the time to try and help them.
When you want to attract clients to a business or community members to a brand, “love ‘em and leave ‘em” isn’t a strategy that will work. Following up with your audience members is all about building a relationship—letting people know that you have more to offer them well beyond what you’ve already shared.
To summarise, here are 5 great ways to reconnect with your audiences via follow-ups after your presentation is over:
Exchange business Cards
Create a video
Mail a hand-written letter
Write an e-book
Give a gift
Respond to queries
Do you have other ideas for sales follow ups with audience members after a presentation? Share your ideas in the comments below!
When it comes to public speaking, even the most confident-looking individuals may stumble when faced with a sizable audience. When provided with a powerful platform for sharing messages and ideas, it can be tricky to deliver an excellent performance without losing your nerve. This is why politicians, industry experts, and various performers have allocated a good portion of their lives to acquire the necessary skills to excel in this endeavor.
There are several factors that come into play when speaking to the public: you have to be mindful of how you present yourself; the content of your speech; and how you relay your message. You have to take on a calculative approach while preparing because it will affect you far longer than the time you’re on stage. Improving your skills in public speaking skills can help in generating more awareness for your organization or cause after your engagement is over.
To assist you in preparing for this daunting task, here are three fundamental public speaking tips to knock your next speech out of the park:
Structure, Design, and Stories
Always trust your instincts if you think you’re not 100% prepared. Preparation is key when it comes to public speaking as it allows you to organize your content properly, as well as make it more impactful.
Taking more time to prepare will allow you to add enlightening elements by including personal elements like anecdotes, stories and also let you work on your presentation design. It’s also advisable to watch videos of public speaking professionals on stage to see how they’ve performed and/or how they were able to craft their speeches.
The first stage of preparation is to get into the right mental state where you’ve done the work to build the foundation of your upcoming speech with your stories, slides and the outcome you want to achieve.
Don’t memorize, internalize the delivery
It’s said that the best presenters don’t memorize their speech. Instead, you want to familiarize yourself with the overall structure of the presentation and rather than recite the words verbatim, seek to be conversational.
Intently familiarizing yourself with your content as well as the underlying ideas behind it will lead you to have an easier time in conveying your message in a way that’s authentic and natural.
Try to talk through the presentation out loud and fill in the blanks without memorizing your script, you’ll find that you’re comfortable to even present it without presentation slides or holding a script because the story tends to come out more naturally in speech.
Study your audience
Part of succeeding in public speaking is making sure that your talk is relevant to the audience. For example: Speaking to a group of executives about that latest video game will leave your message falling flat even before you’ve truly started to connect.
Create a general evaluation of the demographic present for your speech to reach out to them in the right way.
Level of comprehension
Speaking at a high-level to a novice audience and on a basic level for a technically erudite audience is a public speaking sin you’d want to avoid.
Try to get a hint of the general populace of the audience you’re speaking to and how knowledgeable they are. Are you speaking to senior executives or ones that just joined the company? Are you talking to subject matter experts or sales people that are on the ground?
Different audiences call for different tones and words that you choose to use.
When presenting in a foreign country, you’d want to pay attention to any cultural differences to avoid a faux pas. Consider if the references you want to make are appropriate or offensive, consider whether the way you’re dressing is well accepted in those communities too.
These considerations will also affect whether you deliver your presentation using a more formal approach or try to adopt a more comedic and lighthearted style of delivery.
Here’s a video of Seth Godin speaking at the Gel Conference with a touch of humor. When speaking to an audience of creatives and marketers, this can be considered apt. If it was an event with a more serious tone or in a conservative society Japan, for instance, this style might not be so appropriate.
Reference Industry Terms
A great way to quickly build rapport and authority with audiences is when you use words that they use in their line of work.
Making your presentation relevant to their every day is a public speaking technique to be adhered to. Spending a little extra time to do a quick Google search to pick up on industry buzzwords and happenings can quickly help you establish common ground with a skeptical audience.
People appreciate it when speakers actually take them into account when preparing for the speech. No matter how hard you may try, the likelihood is that audiences will instantly know if you are insufficiently or altogether unfamiliar with the type of people you’re speaking to.
As general as your topic might be, it’s always better to study your audience first before speaking to them to leave a better impression.
Present an engaging personality
Regardless of the kind of audience you have, however, there is one thing that they always want – an engaging speaker. Even though you’re speaking in public, many people might prefer someone who speaks as if they’re in a private or intimate conversation. A connection is vital in effectively conveying your message, which is your sole objective at the end of the day.
You’re putting forth your own words and methodologies to be absorbed by people who might not be familiar with them. If you don’t share these in an engaging way, you’re setting up yourself for failure.
Take into account your vocal tone, body language, facial expressions, and timing when preparing for a speech. Even simple gestures can significantly contribute to your presentation.
To illustrate, some hand gestures include: placing it on your chest to emphasize an emotional point; showing a number through your fingers after saying it; and using both hands to represent two separate groups. Subtle cues such as these help your audience to keep track of the presentation not only mentally, but visually as well.
Amy Cuddy shares about the power of positive body language and gestures in her widely-acclaimed TED talk:
In addition, you always have to be the first to put in a lot of energy, which is a big ask in a room of anything more than a hundred people. Otherwise, your audience probably won’t have any enthusiasm left to listen until you finish. By doing all of this, you can bridge the divide between you and your listeners. It can also compel them to ask questions at the end, or even try to make your acquaintance once you step off the stage.
Here’s an example of Tony Robbins commanding the stage as one man with a boundless well of energy, notice his exaggerated hand gestures that come in useful when working with a large audience:
Without a doubt, an engaging personality can take you much further in public speaking when managed properly.
Your first foray into public speaking can be nerve-wracking. The best way to circumvent the nervousness is to consistently seek out more public speaking opportunities and perfect your process of preparation. Some of the best presenters of our time still admit to being nervous before their presentations, but they’ve learned to harness that energy to do an even better job!
To summarize, here are the three big public speaking tips that you need to know to boost your next speech:
Prioritize preparation time to garner your public speaking ammunition in the form of stories, visuals, and delivery ability
Study your audiences intimately to ensure you provide relevant content they want to hear about
Present an engaging personality that people want to connect with better hand gestures and energy
Did you enjoy those public speaking tips? Let us know what else you’d like to see in the comments.