What does it take to convince an audience?
As we often say, the success of your presentation relies on how well the audience receives you. If you can present yourself as someone who is trustworthy and reliable, then you’re one step closer to achieving the outcome you want. This is why first impressions are particularly important in the world of business. When you’re trying to impress potential clients or investors, your message is only as good as how you present yourself.
So how do you establish your credibility and authority? How do you cast away any doubts that the audience may have about you? Aside from making sure you leave a positive impression, you also need to be careful about particular things in your presentation. The smallest misstep might cost you a successful outcome, so keep these presentation tips in mind:
Do your research
As a presenter, you’re expected to be knowledgeable about the topic you’re presenting. Make sure you know your subject matter inside out before you step on stage. Don’t just rely on the information that you already know or have. Research might be tedious work, but it’s the only way you can be sure that you won’t be blindsided during your presentation. What if someone asks a difficult question? What if there are points that you need to elaborate? Your credibility relies on your preparation.
Provide clear and specific data
Don’t expect the audience to take everything you say at face value. Always provide specific data to back up everything you say. You can’t expect your audience to verify your information on their own time. Lay out the numbers for them in a clear and discernible way. Make use of charts and illustrations to make sure that your data is presented in a comprehensible way.
Proofread your slides
Grammar slips and typos might seem like small mistakes, but they’re sure to cost you in the long run. As a presenter, your credibility rests on your communication skills. Aside from being an eloquent speaker, you also need to show that you’re a capable writer. Take the time to double-check your slides for any grammar and spelling mistakes. To be extra sure, you can also ask someone else to proofread your content.
Share your credentials
For pitches, it’s important to show your audience your accomplishments. Give your prospects a chance to see how well you’ve worked with previous clients or customers. You can show them brief testimonials or quickly outline your achievements. Don’t shy away from anything that will prove that you’re exactly what they’re looking for. Check this in-depth discussion to learn more about impressing investors with an awesome pitch deck.
Handle interruptions and mistakes with grace
As much as you prepare, you can’t always account for everything that could happen during a presentation. You might make a mistake. Your presentation might be interrupted by technical difficulties. Whatever happens, make sure you keep your composure. Handle any unscripted disruptions with grace. A sincere apology can go a long way to undo any negative impression you make.
As a presenter, you need to be careful with anything you say or do on stage. You also need to scrutinize every slide you show your audience. Any mistake—no matter how small—can easily hurt your credibility. Make sure you put your best foot forward with these quick and easy presentation tips.
Featured Image: Dennis Stachel for GDC Europe via Flickr