How to Handle Your Business Presentation
Whenever you have to make an important presentation or pitch to any group, big or small, its important to keep in mind a few basics. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to knock your presentation out of the park!
1. Keep it simple. I once got some great advice from a professor in grad school; go through every paper or presentation you put together and take out every adjective, gratuitous adverb, and vocabulary word you only use when trying to impress. That’s when people will start listening. Keep your messages simple and don’t try to hard to impress your audience with industry jargon or impressive words. Make sure your key takeaway is clear, repeat it and it will stick.
2. Who’s Listening? If you don’t know your audience, chances are you won’t know how to reach them. If possible, do your due diligence and find out as much as you can about the company or individuals to whom you are presenting. Once you have an idea of who will be in the room, frame your pitch from their perspective. Why would they be interested? What are they getting out of it? Take out anything that doesn’t align with their best interests and you’ll be speaking their language.
3. Visual Aids. Even if your situation does not require the use of a slide presentation, be sure to have something tangible on hand. Handouts, brochures, flip charts, a video or anything visual will allow your guests to register what you have shared. Be mindful of over stimulation- don’t saturate slides with too much text or hand out distracting packets. With the right visuals and a pithy relevant message, your group is sure to be engaged.
4. Practice. Ah, the often underestimated key to success- practice. Even if you know your information inside and out, you must rehearse! If you craft the presentation based on who will be there, then every presentation should actually feel like the first time. This means that running through it will allow you to feel comfortable with your material so that it sounds natural. It also enables you get rid of any extraneous words, lengthy explanations, or bits of unnecessary information. Don’t forget- practice does make perfect!
5. Smile. Above all else, to thy smile be true! Even if you aren’t able to prepare as much as you would have liked or if you did not have time to research the crowd, a winning smile can transform your presentation. Make sure your flash those pearly whites to your audience as much as you can. A nice smile sends a positive message and reminds your audience that despite how the presentation actually went, you are confident, warm and trustworthy- a winning combination.