Many people dread giving presentations. They are not comfortable about standing in front of a crowd. Nevertheless, they can get over that if they do a lot of practice.
However, watching presentations is many times so boring and disappointing. The reason for that is that too many persons present when they should not. Their presentation is either uninteresting or unnecessary, or the presenter was unprepared.
Below are some tips to help you avoid those traps and deliver presentations that your clients, colleagues, or any audience will appreciate.
1. Give a Presentation That Does More Than Just Inform
Presentations should not be full of data. You can do that in an e-mail. Presentations are unique opportunities to engage an audience to share information and then persuade the audience how to interpret the information, why it is important, why it is relevant to them, and what they should do with it.
- CEOs do not hold quarterly conference calls to inform the world about their firms’ financial results. They hold them to convince institutional investors that their company’s stock is a solid investment.
- Consultants do not give presentations to report findings and make recommendations. They give presentations to persuade clients that their findings are valid, that their recommendations should be implemented, and that the client made a good decision hiring the consulting firm.
- MBA students do not give presentations just to share information, either. They give presentations to persuade professors they have learned in their classes, or they give them to convince recruiters that they would make good consultants.
2. Present Only If It’s More Effective Than Giving People a Document to Read
Achieving everything you want by sending all the information by email to your audience will respect their time and will be a lot less work for you.
Nevertheless, when should you skip the presentation and just send an e-mail?
- When your slides are so full of text that they look like documents
- When you have a lot of detailed bullets
- When all of information you want to share is on the slides.
- When someone in the audience trying to read your slides yells “Down in front!” – to you. (Of course, by then it is too late.)
Make sure you that your presentation does not consist mainly of you turning to the screen and reading your own slides: You will not be adding value. It is your presence and your live contribution that will add value.
3. Only Present When You Can Practice Enough In Advance
It takes a lot of work to prepare a presentation. Some people are just natural presenters. They digest information instantly.
If you have to give a presentation, rehearse for it carefully. Your audience are giving you their time and eventually their attention. It is professional to honor that with preparation.
Consider these three things before inviting people to a presentation: You will deliver something that they will want to see.