Most people feel that the truly scary part about giving the perfect presentation is standing up there in front of a bunch of top-ranking people. And, delivering a proposal. But, more than that is the nervousness of the presentation not being successful. The speaker probably has a lot riding on the success of that session in the conference room. For instance, a promotion, the possibility of getting finance for a dream venture, getting a contract for a collaboration, being assigned a prestigious project, or any other.
Whatever may be your reasons for planning the perfect presentation, you only need to have a few fundamental essentials planned. And, you’re sure to achieve success in your objectives. Read ahead and understand how.
You Need All the Practice You Can Possibly Get
There’s no such thing as too much practice. Before you get up there, make sure you know the concept you’re presenting inside out. Gary Schmidt, International President of Toastmasters International expresses the importance of practice. He tells you to go by the cardinal rule of, “one hour of practice for every minute that you’re speaking.” Stand in front of a mirror and if needed, record yourself speaking out loud. Speak slowly. You’ll avoid stumbling over your words.
Simply learning and rattling it off is not the way to go. You need to be able to use the right voice inflections to get your point through effectively. Invite a few friends and family members and ask them to sit for the most perfect presentation you can deliver. Look for honest feedback and refine your piece accordingly. Learn to pause when necessary, lower and raise your voice when needed and rule the room. Most important, knowing your stuff well will give you confidence.
You Need to Build a Connection with Your Audience
Surprisingly, the perfect presentation begins outside the boardroom. Arrive a little early and mingle with the attendees. Familiarize yourself with them with some friendly small talk that is unrelated to the topic you’ll be speaking about. Smile a lot and learn a few names. You’ll likely have done your homework about the people you’re going to talk to. Now is the time to match faces and names to actual personalities. In a tricky spot, you can direct your comments at a specific person by addressing him by name.
When preparing your presentation, more than projecting how awesome your proposal is, you should focus on how awesome the proposal is for the people who are listening to it. Remember, each person sitting in front of you will want to know – What’s in it for me? How is this idea going to benefit me?
The perfect presentation should answer all those questions. Convincingly.
You Need to Learn to Read the Room
Having a bunch of PowerPoint slides, graphics, and other demonstrating charts to accompany the presentation is a great idea. But, the purpose of the media is to keep your audience connected to what you’re saying with visual cues. Don’t read from the slides. Make sure your complete attention does not waver from the people you’re talking to. For instance, say, you see an audience member discretely checking her watch. Instantly, you need to address her with a few points. Ask questions if you need to. Understand why her interest is faltering. Chances are other people are sharing the doubts she has. Address those doubts. Now.
You Need Your Opening Statements to Captivate Interest Instantly
Carry the banter you initiated outside the boardroom into the conference room with you. Begin with a continuation of a conversation you were having with one of the members of your audience. Or, prepare a real life incidence to talk about. The perfect presentation is one that seamlessly blends into a formal talk without the audience being aware of a segue. If you do have a couple of latecomers, don’t let that throw you off your game. Welcome them and offer a short introduction to what you were just speaking about. And, continue with the presentation as planned.
You Need to Create a Great Flow
The perfect presentation is on that has a great flow and structure. Pick a theme that matches your topic. You can state facts and figures according the chronological order in which they occurred. Or, you could have a list of issues that your proposal can address. Explain them one at a time.
Prepare the complementary media you need after you have readied your talk. Practice working with them so well that you only need to glance back once to make sure that the correct slide or video is playing. Take care that the media you choose does not take attention away from what you’re saying. You need to be the focal point. Like Vanessa Gallo (Gallo Communications, a presentation training institute) says, “PowerPoint is a powerful communications tool, but like any tool, it can be used to do good or do harm.”
You Need to Dress Appropriately
To save the most important element of a perfect presentation for the last – dress for and look the part! Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
- Choose smart outfits in neutral, sober colors. Make sure your clothes don’t attract undue attention. If you want to use accessories, wear pieces that don’t stand out.
- Examine your clothes carefully for missing buttons, undone seams, and loose threads.
- Be comfortable in what you wear. Pick out ill-fitting clothes and the discomfort will show through when you move around the room.
- Choose sensible shoes that are noiseless and have closed toes.
- Do your hair carefully with every strand in place. At no point should you feel the need to fix your hair. You need people to listen to what you’re saying, not what you’re doing.
- Remove all unwanted facial hair. That goes for the men too. Trim or pluck bushy eyebrows if you need to.
- Shave your legs and if you’re concerned about an evening stubble, opt for permanent solutions like laser hair removal in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, or any other location close to you. Book a few sessions and you’ll never have to worry about any kind of unwanted hair again.
- Your make-up should be subtle and subdued. But, do wear colors that accentuate your best features.
With the correct preparation, delivering the perfect presentation should be no problem at all. So, go in there and dazzle the audience with your confidence, grace, and the positives of the proposal.