Presenting in our first language is usually easier than presenting in a foreign language. I know if I had to present in German or French, the challenges would be magnified 100X.
Here are 3 of my top strategies to nail your next presentation:
1. Know your audience
The presentation is not about you, believe it or not. It’s all about your audience. Who are they? Why are they listening to you? What do they need from you to go back to their offices, take the next step, and commit to action? What will you give them to make their lives easier, smooth out a process or take away a pain point that they encounter often?
Because if you want to meet your goals for the presentation, e.g. agreeing next steps, signing a contract, or creating a buzz around new functionality that will ultimately lead to sales, you’ve got to meet your audiences’ needs before you meet your own.
2. Plan, prepare and practice
- Plan what you want to say, how you want to say it, when you want to say it, and how you will present it on your slides.
- Become a choreographer: You’ve got to take your audience by the hand during the presentation, and you do this for each slide and topic by signposting clearly with language. Plan your choreography so you know your “dance” moves by heart.
- I can’t say it enough: practice, practice, practice so that you are absolutely confident and convincing when you deliver your presentation.
- Anticipate questions that the audience might have for you, especially questions that might be hostile or cast suspicion on your key messages.
- Practice your presentation: in front of your mirror, your kids or even your dog. Pressed for time? Practice at least the introduction, so you can set the tone and pace right from the beginning.
3. Manage your slides, not the other way around
Slide-building software is a bit like a black hole. Some of us know the bare minimum to make our slides shine, some of us think the fancier we get, the more engaged the audience will be (wrong!). And some of us don’t have a clue and copy a presentation someone else did, so we don’t have to figure out the formatting.
Regardless of your skill level, avoid the tendency to use a lot of animation, weak colours and small font. Bottom line: Your slides have to be engaging, simple and illustrate your key points. Literally… with photos or other graphics that are carefully chosen to drive home your key messages.
By putting these strategies into action, you will drastically increase the likelihood of obtaining your desired outcome. Why? Because you will be a confident, professional presence, and the audience will see it in the way you speak, your physical presence, and your familiarity with the material. You will set the scene for your own success.
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Tracie Marquardt is a trainer, coach and consultant who has successfully helped HUNDREDS of professionals in Germany, Europe and beyond, to be more effective in their communication skills and to communicate more effectively in today’s global environment. Tracie’s passion is helping quality assurance and finance professionals to communicate key messages in important business situations clearly and concisely. This enables her clients to show the added value of their work and to be agents of positive change within their organizations. Communicating effectively in a global environment CAN be learned, be fun, and bring you what YOU might be missing: The power to inspire others to take action. Whether it’s for you or for your team, contact Tracie today for your complimentary Communication Assessment call.
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