When you think of business presentations, the first images that come to mind are probably bleak. After all, you’ve had to sit through your fair share of monotonous meetings and discussions. You’ve had to squint your eyes in order to read the lengthy paragraphs projected on the screen. You’ve had to stop yourself from falling asleep in a darkened room. You’ve had to patiently wait for the speaker to get to the point.
Despite all these negative scenarios, there are still occasions when you were able to watch a memorable business presentation. The slides were concise and well-designed, the points quickly and clearly made. In particular, they all have a few characteristics in common.Take note of the following and apply them to your business presentations as well:
Business presentations are often devoid of any emotion. Presenters believe that they need to focus on the hard facts. While data is important in building your credibility, your presentation will need a more “human” element in order to create a connection. This doesn’t mean that you have to move your colleagues to tears. One way to make your business presentations memorable is by creating a more authentic experience. Instead of drowning your audience in a sea of spreadsheets, try to focus on telling a story instead.
A lot of business presentations also suffer from information overload. Without a clear goal, presenters tend to detail too much of their content and end up sharing things that may be unnecessary or repetitive. They end up confusing their audience even more. To solve this dilemma, you will need to identify your main objective and meticulously curate your content. Make sure each slide and sentence contribute to driving home your main point. If you have data to present, include only the ones that are most important to your message. You should also prepare a loose script to keep your speech on the right track.
More than having concise slides, business presentations also need to be visually stimulating. As we’ve mentioned in the earlier scenario, too often presenters commit PowerPoint mistakes that overshadow their core message. Aside from carefully picking and choosing which content to include, presenters all so need to make PowerPoint decks that speak to the visual senses of the audience. A striking color palette, plus the use of high-quality images can make a huge difference in your slide design.
The impact of a business presentation also rests on the power of delivery. For people to listen, you will need to create an engaging and compelling atmosphere. When you face an audience, you must demand their attention through the way you speak and carry yourself. Speak clearly and loudly. Exuding confidence in your words is one of the key ways to build credibility. You should also be mindful of your body language. Avoid gestures that make you seem closed off or aloof.
Featured Image: Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr