Do's and Don't's of Presentations

Within business presentations are inevitable. Whether you're a small business and you're just showing employees new procedures or you’re a large corporation pitching business ideas to clients. However, when the time comes to speak to the group you want to be ready. Presentation skills are something all levels of management and work should know and practice.

Presentations are meant to get a message across to an audience in a way they will receive best. You want to stand out.

Big “NO” of presentations

Ways to do this are some things you shouldn't do. Here are the ‘No’s of presenting!

Do not stand behind a podium or table

Often when there is a formal speaker or presenter, a podium may be available to use. While this might be a good spot to put your water or any other thing that may clutter your hand, this is not optimal for during your presentation. Even in serious situations, as soon as a presenter steps behind a podium the audience will check out or assume it is going to be boring.

Stadium behind the podium while speaking gives off a serious tone to the audience that can have negative implications.

Take a few steps to the side, opt to not use the podium, and conduct the stage with confidence.

Focus on vocal variations

The tone of voice is imperative for conducting a room. When things are exciting a louder high pitch voice will help the audience receive them. When the tone of the message is serious, important, or something an audience might need to pay attention to then a softer slower voice will help people focus on what you're saying.

Changing your tone throughout will give the audience more interest in the topic.

Quick introduction

It is always a good idea to introduce yourself and address the audience in the beginning. However, taking too long can create confusion for the audience. For example, saying “good morning” then a long pause to get situated then continuing the presentation may not be the best way to start.

Once you're ready saying good morning, your name and the topic can be a better flow for an introduction.

The Opening

Once you've gotten past the introduction the opening is just as important.

Studies show that within the first 90 seconds viewers determine if they're going to pay attention or not based on a couple of things. How you look, how you start, and how you speak will all be determining factors.

Rule of thumb: always dress equal or better than the audience.

The first 90 seconds is your opportunity to establish a good first impression. This is your time to captivate the group. There are several ways to do this that can grab the attention of your audience:

  • Start with a relevant quote

  • Questioning their thinking:“ Raise your hand if..” “What is your biggest regret?” “ “If I asked you to give $100 to a poor person would you do it? But what if I told you that after three months, you get that $100 back – guaranteed. Then would you do it?”

  • Question you actually want an answer to

  • Question with no answers

  • Rhetorical questions

  • Visual

  • Current events

These are all engaging ways to gain attention from the start.

Once you get past the initial introduction, how you deliver the message is also just as important. The first thing to consider is why are you there. Once this is established in your mind it is easier to answer the questions they want to know. So for example, if you are talking about third-quarter revenues it is important to not just discuss what they are. You also need to add value. An informative and thoughtful analysis of third-quarter revenues would be to discuss what that means for the next quarter. If you begin with the end in mind (what are the next steps) you won't ramble, overshare, or not share enough information.

The Closing

The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to restate everything you just told your audience. This may seem unnecessary, however, an audience remembers three things: how you made them feel, the first thing you said, and the last thing.

By retelling them what you've covered will frame in their mind how they will walk away from the presentation. It will look a little like this:

“ So, today we have covered the importance of teaching table manners and etiquette surrounding it, table etiquette basics, and when it is appropriate to use these.”

This summary is a good way also to indicate that the speech is over. The final piece is an opportunity for discussion and questions.

Don't forget to thank the audience for coming and or listening and give your contact information for someone to reach you at.

Whether it is a simple presentation or one that will potentially change the trajectory of your career, knowing these simple presentation skills will help guide you to success. Use these in your next presentation and let us know how it goes!

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