Even if you havent done one yet the chances are you will have to do one at some stage so youd better make the most of it and gird your loins and learn some tips while you can

Why put yourself through this mutual pain-barrier? Are business presentations merely a form of sadomasochism? Would you be better off beating yourself with birch twigs in front of an invited audience?

The key thing to keep in mind about presentations is that they can inspire, motivate, entertain, and drive people like no other form of communication Leaders use speeches to mesmerize millions of people at a time Show me a really good speaker and I'll show you someone who can change people's minds for good or for evil

My beef is with the speakers who range from "quite good" to mediocre to dull . Especially the ones who want to get up there behind the lectern because they're usually the only ones who like the sound of their own voice So don't worry if you have a dread of making business presentations It's the people who don't who probably shouldn't be up there in the first place They're a bit like a teenager easing themselves into the driving seat of a Ferrari—no matter how keen and how confident they might feel, they just haven't realized the dangers involved in making a mistake The very worst presenters are the ones who think they're doing something wonderful This means they're often long-winded and extremely smug

Presenters often feel their audience is their enemy but this is not true . You and your audience will share one vital view in common and that is that neither of you want to be there . Understanding this basic fact will enable you to make the most of your presentations


1. Never try to take the body language factor away. Just because you're bricking it doesn't mean you should attempt to remove yourself from the presentation process By this I mean putting the whole thing on to slides and then standing with your back turned to the audience, reading out loud I call this "business karaoke . " You are the presentation, not your slides . Repeat after me: PowerPoint is boring .

2. Wear comfy shoes . No, I'm not talking slippers or old sneakers but I do mean shoes that give your body a good strong grounding. Shoes you can move in, too I've had some of my most hideous presenting experiences in shoes that looked good but that became a liability

3. Warm up in the restroom. Shake your hands in the air to relax them, breathe out deeply, hum to get your voice moving, bounce about to warm your body up, and please do adjust your clothing and all before you are visible Never walk up to the stage hiking up your pants or checking your flies No actor would ever go out on stage still getting into their costume

4. Empty your pockets. If you have anything in your trouser pockets you'll start fiddling with it . Take off any other fiddle-objects, like rings or necklaces, too

5 Take a moment Never start talking before you're into position Some people are yapping as they walk up to their spot . When you reach the place where you've planned to speak from, get into your pole position and pause Look around at your audience Smile . Focus . Then speak . Remember the firing range dictum: Ready. Take Aim. Fire! This is your steady and take aim stage 6. Stand, don't sit. Why? Surely if you stand you give everyone a chance to see your quivering legs and shaking hands? No, that's a joke Standing has power and energy Sitting is too easygoing on your audience Would you sit to tell people to evacuate a room in the case of a fire? Then you should never sit when you want to add impact to your message 7 . Walk away from the lectern.Who invented those things?

Horrible, horrible, horrible 8. Watch the props . Keep your hands empty . Anything you clutch in them will be something you cling to for comfort . Never carry notes or cue cards . Put them somewhere nearby but never hold them in your hand No pens, no pointers, no nothing

9. Get into pole position. That is, your Power Pose, as described earlier in this book (page 59).

10. Start with a laugh. Not a huge belly laugh but just a small joke as an icebreaker The important ice it should be breaking is your own . When you laugh at your own humor your smile will make your face muscles relax, you'll let out all that air you've been holding in your lungs, and your shoulder muscles will become less tense . Your body will release endorphins, making you happy, and all will be well in the world

11. Use eye contact but don't abuse it . It's good to look in the direction of your audience but never imagine you need to pin them with your steely stare for longer than it takes to blink In fact, you probably don't need to look them in the eye at all as too much staring can embarrass them When you're searching for words it will feel useful to stare up and ahead as that eye position is good for accessing memorized words However, it will create a cutoff from your audience, as will turning around to look at your screen

12. Use a friendly face. Smile . Imagine you're greeting a room full of friends Never look nervous or defensive There is a widely held belief that visual signals of nervousness or submission will elicit a response from your audience of pity or empathy Believe me, it won't The minute a speaker lets the audience know that the speaker is nervous, the audience will start to hate the speaker for wasting their time Nobody loves an amateur these days

13. Use your hands when you speak. But use them for the power of good, not evil . Your hand gestures should add emphasis, not heckle or distract . Use open gestures that are illustrative or that supply emotional backup

14. Keep your hands low. When your hands creep up to shoulder height, you're beginning to signal nervousness or panic By the time they've gone above your shoulders you're not waving, you're drowning. Keep your gestures around waist to chest height

15. Move. Nobody said you should stand still when you present, least of all me Walk and talk at the same time because it will add energy to your message Beware the three stage-walkers' no-no's, though:

Continue reading here: Doing a dance that The Shadows perfected in the early 60s

Was this article helpful?

0 0