Here are three simple tips to help give you confidence and rock the room at your next presentation or speech—whether you’re asking your audience to invest in your idea, support your team’s project, or give you their business.
1. Craft a story
Present a clear problem with a compelling solution, and put your audience at the intersection of the two, bridging the gap for them. For example, let’s say an accounting firm booked fewer clients in July than in June, and needs its CEO to approve a sales plan to reverse the trend in August. How could that plan be communicated to the CEO as a story, telling him how he can achieve his broader goals for the company?
Discover what makes a good story in Lisa Cron’s Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story:
2. Build a thoughtful slide deck
Know your story and your goals so well that you’re presenting ideas with poise and conviction. In the best presentations, you’ve given thought to what your audience needs, the facts and figures, the room you’ll be presenting in, and the best way to inspire action with your visuals and delivery.
Check out a movie on setting up your deck for maximum impact, from Designing a Presentation with Justin Seeley:
3. Leave them inspired and wanting more
Rather than ending with a flat thank-you to light applause, close your presentation or speech by rousing your audience to action or giving them the chance to interact with you. Take a look at Laura Bergells’ Public Speaking Fundamentals video on closing strong:
The best presentations speak directly to the heart, taking each audience member on a personal and meaningful journey. If you’re eager to make presenting a core skill in your repertoire, take the challenge to speak in front of a group once a month. You might offer to represent your team or department more often at meetings, or to share ideas across your organization and beyond. Happy presenting!