Just as there are many ways to skin a cat (seriously, who does that?) there are many ways to give a presentation that WOWS an audience. There are different styles of delivery as well as different methods for conveying a message.
There are key ingredients that separate the great from the ho-hum. Here are my FIVE.
1. Good Content – you want the audience to leave with information to remember you by. Imagine someone thinking of you every time they do a particular action – just because they learned something from you that helped them.
A good talk has content that flows, is easy to digest and yet is meaningful, even if it’s a free talk where you want people to buy into your programs. I’m not a fan of talks and webinars where people promise content that ends up being ALL surface level. Often it ends up being a laundry list of all the things you don’t know.
You’ve got to deliver some depth that demonstrates you know your stuff.
2. Good Stories – you need to tell your own story to give yourself credibility. This helps the audience to listen to everything else you have to say, because they know you are an expert on your topic. Without the upfront credibility, it can be easy for an audience member to switch off, thinking ‘why should I be listening to this schmuck?”
Throw in stories throughout the presentation – it’s what people will remember of your talk, and can be used to demonstrate your work and experience.
3. Visual Aids – did you know 60% of people absorb information best through seeing things. You might be able to paint a picture in a person’s mind, but think about using powerpoint or a flipchart. I like having a flipchart handy to help demonstrate a point. One feedback I received from a talk was that a graph I quickly drew demonstrating the effect of multiple focus on results, had a great impact on him.
Remember that any visual aid is an addition to your talk, not a replacement, so don’t fill up your powerpoint with words that you repeat verbatim. Only put your major points on slides – they can prompt you to talk more in depth about them. You do know what you are talking about don’t you!
Props are also a great way to engage and captivate your audience. (But please, no cats.)
4. Use of the Platform – avoid getting stuck behind a lectern, table or stand. Move around the stage with purpose to put life into your presentation. Learn how to move and gesture effectively to take your presentation to the WOW level. Some presenters get away with pacing the stage and waving their arms about needlessly, but the ones that really captivate you are those that know when to move and when to stay still.
5. Personal Style – bring YOU to your presentation to stand out. It’s not a performance, though some people are natural performers and this is their own personal style. Don’t try being somebody you are not – it’s a hard act to keep up, and it will make the prospect of giving a talk even more daunting. Discover who and how you want to be when presenting. What kind of energy do you want to have so that the audience can feel you and have a memorable experience.
With all of these things to consider, it helps to be well prepared. Do the work beforehand so you can turn up to your next presentation confident and ready to captivate your audience.
Please share your comments on what you think makes a WOW presentation…
Want to learn more about crafting and delivering your message, then join me in a Google Hangout Training on Oct 3. Details and register for this free training at http://bit.ly/cyaoct3
P.S. I am an avid cat lover and no cats were harmed in the writing of this piece.