Among the plethora of skills required by professionals in today’s business world, presentation skills are among the most important. A large chunk of business communication happens through presentations, be it a sales pitch for clients or presenting ideas to your own management.
Mostly when we talk about presentations skills, the first notion that comes to mind is knowing PowerPoint well. What we need to remember is that PowerPoint is just a tool used for presentations and all presentations do not rely on this tool. Presentation skills should be adaptable to a variety of tools and should come in handy even when no external presentation tools are available. As we have already stipulated presentation tools include Power Point, some other commonly used presentation tools are flip charts and personal one-to-one discussions.
The key to an effective presentation
The key to an effective presentation lies in effective handling of the various steps involved in designing and delivering the presentation.
The first step to a presentation is understanding why and the how of the presentation. Answer a few pertinent questions and you will understand better how to design an effective presentation. You should know the purpose of the presentation and the audience thoroughly. Understanding these will help you in designing a presentation appropriate for the audience and the occasion.
Once you have understood the purpose and your audience, design the presentation by carrying out thorough research. Find out facts and figures and always use reliable and credible data. The effectiveness of a presentation depends on how well credible your information is.
When the research is done on what needs to be presented we must decide on how to present. This is where the design of the presentation takes place. We must decide on whether the presentation will be all about facts or will we weave a story to string the presentation together. We must also decide on whether we will concentrate on presenting the slides or chart or use them only as an aid. The style of presentation will take shape at this stage.
After all the background work is ready, we then move on to the delivery stage of a presentation. This is considered to be a very critical stage since the outcome of the interaction will depend on this stage. In the delivery stage we need to establish our credibility and rapport with the audience. We create an impression on the audience just with our appearance and body language. Ensure that this impression is positive be dressing appropriately and maintaining a positive and confident body language. Know what you want to say even without the presentation tools, use them only as a reference. Be thorough in your preparation and present confidently. Your style of presentation will largely depend on the type of audience. Practice delivery before the D Day. No matter how seasoned you are rehearsing is always a good idea.
These guidelines can assist you in making effective presentations using a variety of tools. Following a structure and process while designing and delivering any presentation is the key.
The PresentSmart program of Strengthscape equips you with effective presentation skills.