Presentations and speeches have been a huge part of my work in the last six months: from giving them myself to training and coaching clients. Whether I’m delivering myself or helping others, there are common strategies that we can put in place to help us be more successful and get the results we want from the effort.
Recently, I trained and coached a Vice President at a DAX 30 global company, a successful speaker on the German presentation circuit, and a group of highly motivated international professionals needing to deliver more powerful presentations to achieve corporate results.
Each of these three clients had different audiences and different pain points, but all had the same goal: To design and deliver a presentation that resonated with the audience, showcased their expertise in the topic, and added value to their audiences by relieving their pain points or making their lives easier by offering tools, techniques and strategies.
Common presentation challenges
If you are like me and my clients, you can get overwhelmed in the planning phase. For some, it’s just easier to start writing the script or creating the slides. The result? An overly long presentation with slides overflowing with images and text. It’s overkill, and can both you and your audience from benefiting from the presentation.
The storyline can also be a challenge. We’ve all ‘gotten by’ without stories in our presentations for decades, so why start now? Because a storyline will engage your audience by taking them on a journey from what is now, to the brave new world of what can be. It’s your job to write the story and tell it in a compelling way that persuades your audience to take the desired action once they leave the presentation. Because that’s where their journey starts.
And then there’s the fear. Call it stage fright or call it nerves. In the end, we all want to give a great presentation and be seen as giving a great presentation by others. It affects our professional reputation after all.
Use my strategies to get results
So what can you do to overcome obstacles like these? Here are my 5 top strategies for a successful presentation that gets results:
1. Plan. And then plan some more.
I spent 16 hours preparing for my Global Communication Competence presentation. It was a 30-minute presentation. Do you need to spend that much time preparing? Your results will give you the answer to that question.
I focused my planning on analyzing who my audience was, what my key messages for them were, and creating a storyline to make sure my messages resonated with that specific audience.
2. Design your slides before you open the software.
I’m all for slides in a presentation situation. I can live without them when I deliver a speech, because they usually just distract the audience from me to the wall.
My strategy is to have one key message per slide, one image to represent that slide, and key words or short bullet points if images don’t suffice. I really mean it, too: One. Key. Message. Per. Slide.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
There are so many ways you can practice delivering your presentation or speech. Some memorize their script, but that can be a challenge for longer speeches, and there are pitfalls like forgetting your place in the script.
For speeches longer than 7 minutes, I recommend writing a script, and then learning it using various strategies like downsizing the script from full sentences to bullet points to key words. I do it on a slide-by-slide basis.
4. Use technology.
I also record myself using the voice recording function on my mobile. I can play the recording back while driving, while walking in the woods or soaking in the tub.
The key is to be so familiar with your key messages, anecdotes and storyline that it comes pouring out of you naturally during the presentation itself. The words may differ, the sentence order may be ‘off’ from your script, but it doesn’t matter.
5. Celebrate your success.
Don’t focus on what you didn’t say, focus on what you did say. Congratulate yourself for delivering a compelling presentation that gave your audience tools, techniques and strategies to make their work and their lives more successful. Did you inspire them to take action? If you can answer yes, that’s a big win in my book.
How do you make your presentations and speeches a success? Share your secrets here so we can learn together.
P.S. If you would like more information on how you can prepare more powerful content and deliver a dynamic presentation, contact Tracie today for a free 20-minute coaching call.
P.P.S. Don’t forget to check the related posts below for more techniques and strategies for creating and delivering amazing presentations.