Unaccustomed as I am

Presenting can be a daunting task if you let it be. The first time I did presentation training we were preparing to apply our new found skills and I opted to go first. I was asked to walk through the door at the end and present to the people in the room – I had no idea that behind the door was an auditorium with 300 seated in it! total heart-stopping moment. I recall my knees knocking behind the lectern which I clung onto for dear life and I spoke for 20minutes about my magazine.

use you props effectively

The feedback from my trainer was remarkable the trainer said I didn’t look nervous – no one could have been more surprised than me. It is highly unlikely that you will have to present to that number of people very often but even if it is a handful you should think about the following:

  • Decide what your presentation is going to involve.
  • write down ideas for content.
  • formulate your content into a structure.
  • Decide how you are going to present – e.g format, equipment.
  • prepare, prepare, prepare.
  • Practise

Preparation Things to think about: Why are you presenting – What is the purpose of your presentation? Is it for new business? an idea which is needing funding? If you are not sure, ask why you are presenting, get a brief from the client ask what there objectives are and what they want the outcomes of the presentation to be. Their input is key and it means you can deliver a bespoke presentation which is in line with their business strategy. Who are you presenting to – Ask who for the names and job titles of each person attending the presentation. Find out who the decision makers are. By researching your audience you will be able to attain the right level to pitch your presentation and tailor the language you use to reflect your audience’s seniority. When and where – Agree a date for your presentation that allows you to feel comfortable with the amount of time it will take to research and prepare your presentation. Agree where the presentation is to take place, if it is at your location then ensure that you have booked a suitable room for the size of your audience and that all relevant equipment is in working order. If you are presenting on the client site, ask what is available to you so you know what equipment you might need to take on the day. Anticipate outcomes – Think about why there maybe objections to your presentation, anticipate what they might be and how you propose to answer them. Also think about the types of questions that might be asked either throughout or at the end of your presentation. Do your homework and know your market place so that you can answer confidently. Create your Presentation Things to think about: Plan the structure – Every presentation should have a beginning, middle and conclusion obviously, but also think about the sub text, headings within each section and how long each section should be. We are looking for a balance, ensure that you have allocated enough time to give a thorough explanation of each area you are covering. Refine– Once your presentation is completed, look over it ensure you have all the information you need to cover, then refine it. Sometimes less is more. If you are using power point make sure all the slides are in the same font, have the same size heading and are not too complicated. Power point should only be used as a prop, it is what you are saying that counts not how sophisticated your slides are. Ask for feedback– Once you are happy with your presentation ask for feedback from your peers, you may benefit from their experiences – it also allows you to sense check your work. Delivery

Friends, Romans and Countrymen........

The big day has arrived Relax, you have prepared and structured an excellent presentation and researched your audience – remember they have set aside their time and you will have their undivided attention so enjoy it !     Things to consider

  • Smile – It is so important to smile otherwise you might look like you are about to enter the ‘lions den’
  • Create impact with solid well-rehearsed opening.
  • Body-language – Try not stand with your hands in your pocket or with your arms folded. You should be aiming for an open and relaxed posture. Maintain eye contact with your audience at all times.
  • Confidence – Deliver your presentation with confidence, you are hugely passionate about what you are presenting so you should feel confident.
  • Language and tone – You will have already gauged the language you will use throughout your presentation by researching your audience. The tone you use is equally important, accentuate positive points, speak at an even pace and remember breathing is fine too, in fact pausing occasionally allows you to gather your thoughts and creates atmosphere.
  • Fun – Have fun, you have worked very hard on this presentation and you deserve to enjoy every minute of it.
  • Practise and experience will enable you to perfect your presentation skills

Finally… Just when I thought I would never be phased by a presentation again after years of delivering them – I was faced with a 150 5Th and 6Th formers in a Girls school in Kent …that is a whole different blog!!!!

Written by Anita-Clare Field

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Anita-Clare Field

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