If you want to truly shine as an entrepreneur, it is vital to have great presentation skills.
You could have the best business in the world, but if you lack the ability to let others know just how brilliant it is, you’ll be at a definite disadvantage. So, we look at a few winning ways to improve your presentation skills and convert your audience into your biggest fans.
As an entrepreneur, you may be passionate about your business, but you might not be quite so enthusiastic about standing up in front of crowds of people and delivering a presentation about it. However, with a few tips and tricks, this can become second nature, and even enjoyable, and you can spread your business message far and wide just by improving your presentation skills. So, here are a handful of ways to give a powerful presentation and become a public-speaking superstar!
1. A strong kick-off and conclusion
One rule of thumb to always adhere to when giving a presentation is to start and end with a bang! When you begin, you have a short window of time, say around 30 seconds, to grab your audience’s attention, so start strongly. To really make them sit up and take notice, forget lengthy introductions and try beginning with an inspirational quote, a thought-provoking statistic or a compelling anecdote to illustrate your subject and stick in the mind. Likewise, leave them with a powerful ending, to pack a final punch and really drive your message home. Not only will this be guaranteed to keep your audience engaged and win you fans but, according to research, the start and conclusion of a presentation are the two points most likely to be remembered, which is known as the primacy and recency effect. So, be sure to make full use of this fact with a strong kick off and conclusion they can take away and remember.
2. Dare to be different
After starting with a bang, it is vital to maintain the momentum. So, to truly engage your audience, a little entertainment is the name of the game and will make your message more memorable. We’re not talking all-singing, all-dancing cabaret here, but if your presentation is boring, you won’t hold anyone’s attention. So, dare to be different – in the words of legendary entrepreneur Anita Roddick, ‘Whatever you do, be different. If you’re different, you will stand out’. While this may be a mantra for an entrepreneurial life as a whole, it also works well for presentations. So, for example, rather than overloading your audience with jargon or bombarding them with bland pie charts and graphs, try injecting a little appropriate humour where possible. That is not to say you should keep cracking jokes, but some carefully placed comedy can create rapport with your audience, provide light relief and even help them remember key points better. You can also keep attendees alert and with you by encouraging audience participation, perhaps by inviting questions, and challenging them to think, maybe by taking a poll of opinions.
3. It’s the way you tell them
In fact, it’s not just what you say, but the way you say it, that will determine the success of your presentation and have a lasting impact on your audience. The tone of voice you use, the emphasis, volume and variety of your speech will all influence how your presentation is received. For example, varying the volume of your voice and keeping the pitch low can help you convey an impression of authority. And, injecting the odd pause can help to add emphasis, give attendees time to digest important points and introduce a touch of gravitas to the proceedings. Indeed, interestingly, research into the subject even suggests that the way you speak may be twice as important as the content of your speech. This can be even more vital if you are presenting a webinar, where the audience cannot see you, as the way your voice conveys your message will have added weight. So, if you want to deliver your message well, speak with passion and purpose, and let your enthusiasm shine through.
4. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Although public speaking is commonly listed as many people’s number one fear, with a few strategies up your sleeve, it really doesn’t have to be that daunting. So, if you’re one of those who comes out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of giving a speech, perhaps begin by boosting your positivity. So, try visualising yourself delivering a perfect presentation, with the audience loving it – this is a powerful technique for success that Olympic athletes swear by. Also, remember that the audience is on your side – it is highly unlikely they will want you to fail! However, if you feel your stress levels spiking before you start, something as simple as deep breathing, can sweep away anxiety, and standing up straight can boost your self-confidence. In fact, if you can learn to feel the fear and do it anyway, you may surprise yourself just how good you are. Indeed, channelling all that nervous energy into an enthusiastic, pumped-up delivery will result in a really great presentation that is sure to inspire others and work wonders.
5. Perfect your skills
Finally, to be sure of a polished performance, it is vital to practice and perfect your presentation skills. This could take the shape of getting a friend to watch while you run through your speech, or even videotaping yourself and reviewing your performance. You can also learn a thing or two by watching, or listening to, the most powerful public speakers of all time. As, while no one is suggesting that you emulate the speeches of political leaders, the charisma and confidence these practised orators exude is a masterclass on the power of polished delivery. However, if you think that even such remarkable speechmakers achieved public-speaking perfection without first honing their skills, you would be mistaken. So, to really excel, you must practice, practice and then practice some more. Indeed, if you are serious about giving powerful presentations, you would be wise to get all the pointers you can by signing up for some quality training, such as the LEO Coreline Presentation Skills course. In this way, you can be sure to deliver the most professional presentations possible.
So, for that extra edge in the highly competitive business world, why not try following these few simple tips, to polish up your presentation skills and truly shine as an entrepreneur.