8 Do's and Don'ts for Delivering Great Presentations
Whilst some people are more comfortable presenting to an audience than others, the ability to create and deliver great business presentations is something that can be acquired by anyone, given appropriate training. Business skills training providers Maguire Training understand the importance of good presentation skills to leaders, business managers and sales managers and have created an excellent course - Presentation Preparation & Structure - on the subject. In this comprehensive session delegates will learn how to create presentations with high impact that will engage the audience. They'll also acquire techniques to help them memorise presentation content and to present with confidence.
The prospect of presenting to a group can be nerve-wracking, but in the opinion of the experts at Maguire Training if the task is approached and prepared for correctly, business people have nothing to fear from delivering presentations and can actually enjoy the experience. Here Maguire Training suggests 8 do's and don'ts for delivering great presentations.
DO rehearse your presentation in front of someone else.
Rehearse your finished presentation in the presence of someone you feel entirely relaxed with. This should reduce your nerves and enable you to deliver the presentation at a natural pace. Your observer should be able to provide honest, constructive feedback about your delivery.
DON'T leave anything to chance
If your presentation requires the use of equipment such as an electronic lectern, a microphone or a projector, check and double-check that they are available, working and set up correctly in readiness for your presentation. Always have a contingency plan; for example a paper copy of your presentation that can be referred to or a spare microphone on standby.
DO time your presentation when rehearsing
Run through the presentation at least a couple of times and get your preferred observer to time it. The running time of your presentation should ideally be five minutes shorter than the time that has been allocated for it. Be mindful that it is common for nervousness in front of an audience to speed up your delivery; remember this and be sure to pace yourself.
DON'T unintentionally distract yourself
If you're presenting from a stage and moving around to address your audience, pockets full of loose change or jangling keys may distract you and undermine your confidence. Remove any items likely to create a distraction - particularly your mobile phone.
DO remember to breathe
Anxiety or nerves may cause you to breathe less deeply or more rapidly than you would normally and this will affect the delivery of your presentation. Build in natural pauses and, where possible, focus on breathing slowly and naturally as this will have a calming effect.
DON'T be ruled by the fear of making mistakes
Instead, do everything in your power to minimise the possibility of making mistakes by thoroughly rehearsing your presentation and by keeping it as uncomplicated as possible. No-one, no matter who they are, is immune to making mistakes. If you do, acknowledge the mistake, apologise, correct it and move on without a fuss. Once the mistake has happened it?s already history and will soon be forgotten.
DO make it your show from the start
When opening your presentation be sure to make eye-contact with the audience, welcome them and thank them for coming to listen to you. Getting the audience onside and making them feel comfortable that you're running the show can be a great confidence-booster.
DON'T forget to factor in questions and answers
If you have a scheduled Q and A session at the end of your presentation, knowing how much time to allocate can be tricky. It's better to go for a shorter rather than a longer Q and A slot; especially if your audience has no questions for you. If they have too many, you can offer to deal with any unanswered questions after the presentation. Even if you don't intend a formal Q and A slot, bear in mind that you may need to respond to ad-hoc questions from the audience during your presentation.
The ability to give great presentations is a valuable attribute in any business leader or manager, and Maguire Training can help you to hone your skills to present with ease and confidence. For the convenience of delegates who may not be able to attend formal off-site training, Presentation Preparation & Structure is also offered as an online course via Maguire Training's innovative E-learning platform which allows internet-based study whenever and wherever it best suits the delegate.