Delivering any type of presentation can be a nerve-racking task for even the most confident individual. Whether you’re delivering a pitch to potential investors or presenting a new project idea to your clients, follow these three simple steps and gain the confidence to pitch perfectly:
Research your venue. Ensure you know the equipment available for your use, take a note of the projector screen size so you can guarantee your presentation will fit the screen size and enquire if the venue or your host will provide you with a clicker (if not, consider investing in one – they’re pretty reasonably priced!).
Identify your audience. Gain as much information as you can on your audience before you begin your presentation. If you’ve already started, make sure you adjust it to suit your new knowledge of them. Tailor your presentation to match your audience type – if they enjoy travel for example, you could throw in a few anecdotes about your latest business trip.
Know your topic. You need to know your topic inside and out, your audience will undoubtable grill you when you open your presentation to questions. Do as much research as you can and note down all the questions that could be put forward. If there is a tricky question, make sure you take the questioner’s contact details and tell them you’ll get back to them with an answer. This will make you look proactive and enthusiastic.
Practice and repeat. Run-through your presentation until you’re completely comfortable with your content, know what’s coming up next and when you should click through to the next section.
Create a simple design. Ensure your presentation is clean by keeping images and text to a minimum; this makes it easy for your audience to read and follow. Steer clear of word art and overbearing backgrounds – plain and simple is best!
Keep it on brand. Keep your company logo in the same location and at the same size on each slide. To keep things aesthetically pleasing, use your brand colours combined with a neutral colour like a dark grey for your body text. Restricting your colour palette to 3 colours keeps it easy on the eye.
Don’t overcrowd your slides with text. Keep the words per slide to a minimum, putting only the main points of your content on each one – you can replace or supplement your text with relevant images to keep word count down to a minimum. You can then create prompt cards with all the hard-to-remember points and essential content of your presentation to help you in delivery.
Ensure your content is easy for you to read. Tweak your content until you find that the words can simply roll of your tongue rather than setting yourself up for a stumble by using overcomplicated language.
Show confidence. Keep your body language open by holding an authoritative stance and ensuring you don’t close yourself off by crossing your arms or holding yourself tightly. Do use gestures and movement to emphasise your speech and show enthusiasm but keep it natural. Walking whilst talking will also convey confidence and will allow you to engage with more of your audience, just make sure you don’t block the screen too much.
Engage your audience. Eye contact and smiling are key elements when engaging an audience, these gestures will help them feel connected to you and maintain their attention. Combined this with a friendly and enthusiastic tone of voice rather than speaking in a robotic monotone will further capture the attention of your audience.
These tips will guide you in delivering a successful presentation, just remember the most import of all – practice makes perfect! The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become and the easier you will find it to deliver, answer questions and engage your audience.