If you are the kind of person who gets butterflies in the stomach when giving presentations, you’ll certainly be happy to learn that you’re not the only one who faces this challenge. Research conducted by the Washington Post found that the average person’s biggest fear is the fear of public speaking. It is estimated that about a quarter of adults openly say speaking in front of large groups of people is their number one phobia.
But in life, and more so in business, your ability to stand and make your opinion known before an audience is quite often the difference between success and failure. It can determine whether you are going to win that tender or not – or even whether you are going to secure your dream job.
On that note, we would like to shift the conversation and talk about what it takes to be a great speaker and most importantly how to excel in your next sales presentation. We share 5 tips.
A powerful, strong start is crucial to any successful presentation. Starting strong will help you capture and hold the attention of your audience throughout the entire presentation. There are several devices you can use to capture your audience’s attention from the beginning. My favorite tools is humor. If you can start by making your audience laugh then you are more likely to keep their focus while you make your may through your presentation.
2.Project Positive Body Language
In most social settings our body language does half the talking for us. Body language says a lot about a person’s mood or feeling when interacting with them. Your body language can sometimes betray the thing you are feeling but wish others couldn’t see.
It is important that you control the messaging – as far as body language is concerned during your presentation. Try practicing certain posses that say ” I know what I am talking about” , “Look, I am an expert”.
3.Tell Personal Stories
As human beings, we love feeling connected to each other. We spend a great deal of our time on this earth looking to create interpersonal bonds with others. For this reason, I think it is very important that you naturally insert a personal experience when giving a presentations.
It does not have to be a personal tail of your interaction with the product or service you are presenting. Try telling just a personal story, one that says something about you as a person. Tell a story of family or someone else who has helped shape you.
4.Use the 10 – 20 – 30 Rule
This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple. He suggests that slideshows should:
Contain no more than 10 slides;
Last no more than 20 minutes; and
Use a font size of no less than 30 point.
This last is particularly important as it stops you trying to put too much information on any one slide. This whole approach avoids the dreaded ‘Death by PowerPoint’.
As a general rule, slides should be the sideshow to you, the presenter. A good set of slides should be no use without the presenter, and they should definitely contain less, rather than more, information, expressed simply.
5.Practice, Practice, Practice
Believe it or not, practice is an essential ingredient in a successful presentation. That old saying of ” Practice makes perfect” applies in this area as well.
According to Medical Daily, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests practicing your material in the same room you’ll be giving your presentation. This will help get you used to the venue and become more comfortable with your surroundings.
Bernice Njoroge is a financial adviser and public speaking expert. She can be reached on mareting[at]walletally[dot]com