The Essence of Great Presentation

Throughout history great orators have always had an impact on moving or influencing people. The world has seen its share of orators in the form of heads of state, religious people, celebrities, organizational heads and even dictators. People are moved by the aura of a great presenter or the effectiveness of his or her presentation skills. But what is it about their presentation that appealed to so many people? Or should we ask an even more foundational question – what is a Presentation skill?

While there are certain presentation tactics that are universally common, Business Presentation Skills have a certain tried and tested methodology that anyone aspiring to be a good presenter in the corporate world, can learn from. In this article we will look at a few such aspects that make up the anatomy of a good presentation:

Purposeful Agenda

The presenter needs to know where he or she wants to go with the presentation – what is the core message that they want to get across? Who is the target audience? Is the agenda relevant to the message? Is the message relevant to the crowd? These are questions that the presenter needs to know the answers to well before he or she takes the stage to give a formal presentation. Navigating through a mission is so much more effective if we have a map and a plan. That should be the primary objective of having an agenda.

Diligent Preparation

No matter how confident the speaker is of his or her message, they must always prepare ahead of time to meet the needs of the topic, crowd or situation. Trying to ‘wing it’ just doesn’t work and neither is it professional. The presenter must be prepared to clarify ambiguous issues and also tackle difficult questions. It also helps to arrive there ahead of time to get a look at the venue, to get a good feel for the environment and absorb it.

Three-Part Presentation

Just like a three course meal or a sandwich, every presentation must have three robust parts to it that requires slightly different individual handling. Most speakers tend to focus only on the body but fail to either make a good first impression with a good intro or fail to wrap up their message well once completed with the body. Beginning with a good introduction that grabs one’s attention and makes a good impression is crucial to starting off on the right note. A good opener sets the tone for a good presentation.

The body of the message is where the majority of the intended content is positioned. The speaker must take his time in unpacking the major components or aspects of the body in a clear and concise manner. Maintaining eye contact and keeping an ‘open’ body language helps to ease the crowd and feel connected with the speaker. Often speakers rush through their presentation without giving appropriate pauses, out of nervousness or haste and end up looking anxious or unconfident. Well-timed silence can be a good friend of the presenter and must be used generously to allow the poignancy of the message to sink in to the listeners’ minds and hearts.

Finally, closing up a presentation well gives a nice finishing touch to the message and ends with a note of closure for the audience. If executed well, the listeners will leave having grasped the full measure of what was being conveyed but also have a good appreciation for the value of the message. It helps to finish on a high or positive note while also thanking the listeners for their time and patience. All is well that ends well.

Presentation Skills Training is an important aspect of corporate training th

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Why Good Presentation Matters

Does good presentation matter? History suggests that strong communication skills play an important part in success. For example, have you noticed how often a person you thought you knew as the inventor of something turns out not to be the first person to come up with the idea. The person you know as the inventor is often the person who was best able to communicate the idea to others; the one who persuaded others to invest in the idea or convince people of its benefits; the one who could get their ideas heard and their key messages received and understood. Good presentation matters.

It’s funny how what we are willing to accept as good presentation appears skewed in different situations. When we go out for a meal with family or friends we expect good presentation. It doesn’t have to be Michelin star quality, but if the food is just thrown together on the plate it looks unappetising and we find it much harder to enjoy the experience and in more extreme situations just feel unable to eat the food. On the other hand, food that is well presented is far more likely to encourage us to enjoy the experience and seems to taste better.

When you are out shopping, the way products are presented to you has a significant impact on the choices you make and the products you buy. The science behind retail merchandising (presentation) is fascinating. If you walk into a shop and feel the displays are untidy and product is scattered all over the place you may well walk straight back out. Interestingly, if you are in an antique shop, you might actually really enjoy the seemingly random presentation as it gives you a sense of excitement that you might find that hidden gem and be able to retire to your own private island.

Every day, we are presented with examples of why good presentation matters. So why do we not carry that principle over to our business presentations? Goodness knows that presentations are now a major feature of business life. The internet is awash with suggested numbers of daily PowerPoint presentations. 30 million a day appears to be the most common, before you add in Keynote for Apples users and Prezi for cloud users, and the myriad of other software choices available. We don’t need to debate the numbers. It is fairly reasonable to accept that the number of presentations given every day is huge. The real question is how many of them are good presentations? Instantly, you will all know from personal experience that the number is likely to drop dramatically.

Our experiences as audience members are frequently not a good ones. The common presentation pitfalls persist, such as far too much information, too much detail, font sizes designed for an opticians chart, too many slides, bullet point overload, reading the presentation, monotone delivery style. The list is endless. Why do we appear to accept this poor standard of presentation when we know how much good presentation matters? Generally, time pressure is one of the most common excuses I receive. We typically work in a fast paced, pressurised environments and much like the poor food example mentioned earlier, our presentation ingredients are thrown together using the tried and tested ‘cut and paste’ technique. We also believe our wisdom is self evident and so our audience can’t fail to ‘get it’. Of course, if that were true, retailers would not need to throw so much time, money and effort at how their products are presented.

Good presentation really does matter. It is one of the key skills that helps successful people stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t need to be an all singing and dancing extravaganza. All it takes is the consistent application of clear and straight forward principles and approaches.

Richard Lock – International trainer and presenter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off