Sometimes it can feel like you’re trapped in a bad dream – one presentation drones on after the next. The challenge isn’t just to display your findings – in a visually pleasing manner, naturally – but also to impress your audience. But while there are plenty of formulas for appealing PowerPoint templates and strategies, to present with real panache is a little bit trickier. It’s not just about facts, but also empathy and an emotional connection to the content. Take these tips to heart, learn to show off your best self in every presentation, and amaze the crowd – without the rambling, hesitation, or cringe-worthy animations.
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“The key points can be summarized rather simply.“
Since the birth of PowerPoint, we’ve become victim to nervous presenters, rustling through slide after slide like mad. To beat this, be smarter: make the material easy to understand at a glance. “I have a wide depth of information to share with you – but it can all be summed up into one sentence.” Pro tip: you can easily get away with saying 5 sentences – no one will bother counting once you’ve already won the audience’s focus!
“I’ve experienced this plenty of times…“
Nothing is worse than an hours long barrage of facts, evaluations and statistics. Loosen up your presentation with demonstrative examples. Storytelling is king. So don’t hesitate to lean back on your own experience to carry your presentation forward. To succeed, focus on two important goals. First, you want to win over the attention of your listeners. And secondly, stay calm and prove yourself as a trustworthy, open and confident presenter. Finally, you#re ready to share your personal experiences with the audience. Break a leg!
„But we also have to consider the opposition.“
Many presenters make the mistake of constantly boring their audience by making the same repetitive point. It’s already clear that you’ve made a discovery, developed a thesis and that you plan on explaining your findings to your colleagues. But nobody wants to sit and listen blindly to a flat exposition. Throw in a sentence like, “Naturally, we have to consider the alternative opinions,” or “There are also parties who dispute these findings,” and your listeners will be thrilled to hear how structured your thought process is, and how reflective you are, as a professional and a person.
„You all know the basics here.“
A sentence like this, spoken in a calm and strong tone, makes it clear to your audience that you know your subject material, and gives them the feeling that they should know the rough outlook, too. But what comes next is a clear demonstration that you have a solid and in-depth understanding of the material at hand. At the same time, your listeners will also believe you to be a professional with high respect for your team, and their capabilities. Finally, it shows that you don’t need to stick strictly to your slides, but rather that you know your subject material in and out.
“Given the sensitivity of the subject, I’d like to hear your opinions.“
For the times when you don’t feel 100%, and you might not be perfectly prepared – and this situation happens even in the most professional of firms – then it’s in your best interest to end the discussion with a lively dialogue amongst your audience members. So, once you’ve exhausted your material, turn the conversation to the assembly, then sit back and watch. An added benefit to this approach: not only do you demonstrate your own competence, you also show your interest in the opinion of others! How compassionate, open minded and considerate of you!
Who among us is happy to sit in a row of presentations, day after day, with the same buzzwords passed from one PowerPoint to another? Take your listeners seriously, and deliver the best presentation you can. But for the times when you’re at a loss, consider yourself prepared with our emergency kit of clever quips!