When it comes to addressing even a small crowd or making a presentation in front of a small group most people at workplace get anxious and paranoid. While there is no denying the fact that public speaking may not be an easy task, a little planning can definitely make things easier. Business is all about selling your product and service. Here we give you a few tips on how to go about preparing for a presentation.
Start planning well in advance. No matter how confident you think you are, It is always better to start preparing well in advance. Even though many senior executives make regular presentations every time one feels he is doing something new because the topic is different, and the speech is different, the purpose is different and the crowd is different. So no amount of preparation is actually sufficient, the earlier you start preparing the better it is. Apart from the content your planning would include everything from visuals, posters, charts, PowerPoint presentation etc to your speech, appearance and body language. Let us look at each of these individually.
Visuals: According to studies conducted visuals are the most effective medium of communication because the brain absorbs visual data much faster than any other source of information. So your visual will be your trump card. Hover, this does not mean that you overload it with information. Keep the visuals as simple as possible. Get and use minimal images and words, but ensure that you convey your message effectively. Remember the visuals should not give away all that you want to say. It should be a mind map to help your audience absorb your ideas.
Speech: Start working on your speech. It is best to write it done and practice. Ensure that you are not getting monotonous and included occasional momentary relief by adding humor to your speech. Do not overload your audience with too much information. Analyze the task and priorities your content. Speak about only those points that you think needs to be presented. The less important points can be shared through hand outs etc. Write down your points and keep it ready for easy referral. Avoid referring to it as far as possible, but in case you lose track, it will help.
Apart from the content, your speech preparation should include voice modulation and pronunciation as well. Recording your self and listening to it will give you an idea of where you falter. It is important to keep your session alive and your audience awake. So ensure that you do not sound mechanical. It is advisable to make the speech as conversational as possible by including your audience in it. It’s important to talk to your audience. Maintain eye contact and avoid using filters like ‘eeh’, ‘uhm’, ‘aah’ etc. All this requires a lot of practice. It usually takes more that three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Body language: The first impression is the last impression. Your body language is perhaps the first thing your audience is likely to notice. So work on it. While you practice your speech stand in front of a mirror and observe yourself. Think from your audience’s perspective and try to find ways of improving. Appear confident. Rather than standing in one place walk around. However, do not indulge in brisk walking. Just try to keep the room alive with a little movement.
Time Management: While planning your presentation, decide how much time you want to allocate to each section and strictly stick to the timeline. The time you allocate should neither be too long nor short. Respect your audience’s time and stick to the schedule. It is always better to wrap up 15-20 minutes before the schedule. Thus, you can give your audience enough time to clarify their doubts, in case they have any.
Tech talk: Technology can backfire anytime. So whether it’s laptop or a projector ensure that everything’s functioning well, and in case of an unexpected situation have a back up plan ready. Interact with the technicians and learn how to operate the equipment you are using.