Posted: September 21, 2011
As a project manager intern here at VisionPoint Marketing I have worked on both client campaigns and internal development. I know presentation skills are something I need for both of these areas. Last year, after taking a few presentation-heavy college courses filled with ums and shaking hands, this would have made me very nervous. Needless to say, I wasn’t very excited to be assigned a 60 to 75 minute presentation on giving presentations my last semester of college.
It took some research but I found some great tips that really helped me then and will continue to help me in my career. Other than the always important speak slowly, be an expert on the topic and practice in front of others, I found ways to keep the audience’s attention and boost my confidence.
Know your audience. Be familiar with what they expect and what would be appropriate. If you do this, you will be confident in the presentation you prepare.
Practice and plan for things to go wrong. Always have a backup method in case the technology fails or you forget your notecards.
If possible, dress more professionally than the audience. This will position you as the expert and again give you confidence.
If you are worried about time, place a clock somewhere clearly visible to you.
Before the presentation begins be friendly to the audience. Shake some hands and make some introductions. This will make you more comfortable by breaking the barrier between you and your audience.
Make the presentation look interesting by putting time and effort into your visuals.
On the other hand, keep visuals simple and clear. Too much text and detail will lose your audience and possibly your place.
Balance facts and examples to offer the audience a better understanding of the topic.
Find ways to be creative and interactive. This will keep the audience’s attention and interest.
Slides should have a similar look but have different formats. If the slides alternate between text, bullets, flow charts, images, graphs, examples and interactive content it will spark the audience’s attention and remind you what to say.
After discovering these tips I was able to see why my presentations hadn’t been very successful. It was also easy to see how these tips would translate into the world of marketing. I knew there would be a good chance I would need to present to clients and teach new skills to others in a memorable way. Now I feel much more prepared and confident.