THE BOARD OF TRADE OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO
B U S I N E S S
J O U R N A L
The Voice of the Metro Toronto Business Community 1995
The medium is the Message
HOW TO DELIVER A POWERFUL PRESENTATION
Standing up and giving a presentation isn't easy. Whether it's ten people or 200, you'll probably be nervous and you'll probably show it. The problem is your presentation will not will not be as powerful as if you were really in control.
Well then, relax. Peter Urs Bender, one of the best, professional presenters in Canada delivered a recent seminar at The Board on, what else?........The Secrets of Power Presentations. Mr. Bender gives seminars to businesses in Canada, the United States and Europe. He's also the author of Secrets of Power Presentations, a Canadian best seller now in its fifth edition. The Business Journal was at his Board of Trade seminar, and we're please to pass on his tips to you.
"Mastering presentation skills is no longer a must, it is a necessity" says Bender. "Without good presentation skills you could lose your prospect or your audience. And though you may not lose your job, you may not get a promotion." According to Bender, there are five key components to a successful, powerful presentation: Content, body language, equipment, the environment and preparation.
CONTENT, OR THE SPEECH
A great speech informs, entertains and activates. Information is important, but don't give too much; you'll overwhelm your audience. Entertaining your audience may be your toughest challenge. Whatever you do, don't tell a joke. It may fall flat or even offend somebody. Instead, tell a story that pokes fun at yourself. the call to action is the most important part of your speech. Communicate clearly and convincingly just what it is you want your audience to do. Inspire them to act on your message.
Don't keep your hands in your pocket or behind your back; do keep them visible and looking comfortable
Move your eyes slowly from person to person, pausing two or three seconds on each one. Look for the friendlier, more familiar faces, then move on to the more skeptical ones
Smile as you begin, then later, to reinforce positive points
Pull your shoulders back and tilt your head slightly upward; if you can, stand rather than sit.
Walk very slowly, from one side of the room to the other, shifting towards and way from your audience. If you drop something, don't quickly bend down to pick it up. Do it slowly and gracefully.
To overcome nervousness, try practising this exercise weeks before your presentation: Breathe in as deeply as you can and out as slowly as you can.
Visuals such as slides or overheads will make your presentation even more powerful. Following these basic rules will help.
Use only one idea per visual
If you have a favourite quote, cartoon or statistical chart, use it.
Maintain eye contact as you explain your visual
Never speak with your back to your audience
Read the visual out loud
Get to know the room where you'll deliver your presentation. You may find that you want to make changes, and that's best done days rather than minutes before your presentation. To get the audience to sit in the front rows, mark the back row seats "Reserved". Or put out fewer chairs than you will actually need, and add others as the room fills. And as your audience starts to file in, keep the lights low. Turn them on completely just before you start. It's a little drama that will make your audience pay even more attention to your opening.
Good preparation compensates for lack of talent. Failure to plan, combined with the absence of outstanding talent, can destroy your credibility. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Find out everything you can about your audience
Order all the equipment you'll need well in advance, and test it at least several hours before
If you don't like the room you've been assigned, try to get another one
If you're flying, don't take the last possible flight. It may be canceled
Start your presentation slowly and end it punctually.
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