A guide to giving a powerful business presentation – 15 Expert Tips
A powerful business presentation is more than just a series of aesthetically pleasing slides. Your first impression is crucial when seeking investment, approval, or sales. Differentiate yourself from the competition by being memorable and professional. For some, presenting in front of even a small group can be daunting, and it can be even more challenging when it’s a room full of essential business stakeholders, like investors or your boss. Public speaking can be quite nerve-wracking, especially if you’re not used to it. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. We have a way to help you relax and feel more confident. Public speaking is an opportunity to share your ideas and connect with others. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the experience. Delivering a good presentation leaves a lasting impression on your target audience. In this post, you’ll find 15 expert tips to help you deliver an unforgettable business presentation.
1. Be well-versed with your content
Before convincing anyone else, you must be completely sold on your idea or product. You must know the points you are making inside and out to be successful. It is essential to have persuasive presentation skills. Your presentation ideas aligned with your presentation topic, keep your audience motivated. There are two primary factors that contribute to boring presentations: an overabundance of text on slides, and a lack of visuals and videos. While not every presentation has to be captivating, boring presentations often suffer from one or both of these issues. When presenting to an audience, it’s helpful to use visual aids, notes, and/or slides. However, please don’t rely on them too much or you’ll come across as unsure and unprepared. These are the only tools to aid you in communicating, and the real expertise comes from you. One need to practice presentation skills often to master the art.
2. Be positive and vibrant
Vibes matter–believe me.
Your audience doesn’t want to hear you drone on about a subject you don’t care about. If you’re tired and bored of your presentation slides, they probably feel the same way. Anyone listening to you should be able to tell you how passionate you are about the subject. This will be very apparent.
Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard, studies how body language can communicate power. Before her successful TED talk, she took some time to do some power poses. This got her into the right mindset of feeling powerful and passionate.
It’s also important that you properly energize yourself before a business presentation. Do some warm-up exercises, like stretching, to get your body and mind ready. You can also do other things to get yourself focused and energized. Reading inspirational quotes or listening to music can help. Ensure you stay hydrated by drinking enough water and keeping a water bottle with you during your slide presentation.
3. Arrive early and check for everything in order
Arriving at your venue less than an hour before your presentation can disrupt your entire presentation. Make sure to come at least an hour in advance to set up any equipment you may need, such as a projector, laptop, or speakers. This will help you familiarize yourself with the space and ensure a smooth presentation. If the venue already has all the necessary equipment, ensure that everything is compatible and functioning correctly. Transfer any relevant files from your USB drive or download them from your email or cloud account.
Next, check for potential obstacles that could impede your audio or visual presentation. To ensure that everyone in the audience can see the stage and hear the speaker, sit in different locations throughout the audience area. This will help you gauge how loudly you need to speak. Check to see if the projection is visible in the lighting you have, and adjust the lights accordingly. One more advantage of coming early is meeting and greeting some of your audience members. This will help you feel more confident on stage as you’ve already made some connections.
4. Self-Confidence is the key
When delivering a powerful business presentation, it is important to be confident, clear and concise. Giving a powerful business presentation can be a daunting task, but there are a few key things you can do to make sure you deliver a strong performance. What you wear and how you act can say a lot about you and your presentation. First impressions are important, so make sure you are sending the right message with your appearance.
Choose clothing that is professional and appropriate for the occasion. Avoid anything too flashy or revealing. As for your demeanor, be confident and enthusiastic without being overly aggressive. Smile and make eye contact with your audience. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. These simple tips will help you make a positive impression and deliver a successful presentation.
When giving a powerful business presentation, choosing an outfit that is both comfortable and appropriate for your audience is essential. “When dressing for a presentation, it is advisable to wear something you feel comfortable in and that gives you a sense of confidence,” says Lauren McGoodwin, founder and CEO of Career Contessa. She also suggests opting for something that allows for easy movement and gestures.
No matter what you wear, it is essential to be your best self. Many individuals get nervous speaking in front of an audience, so it is vital to rehearse beforehand and have a friend, colleague, or any objective observer monitor you. Suppose you find yourself fidgeting or appearing nervous on stage, taking note of these behaviors and establishing a more robust presence before your big day is essential. Your stage presence will also be affected by your personality. Adopt your natural position. If you’re comfortable standing, don’t stride across the stage. If your voice is gentle, there is no need to yell; get a microphone. Keep your relaxed demeanor and bring out the best you. Practicing your presentation skills will make you feel more confident.
5. Start off strong
Audiences today have shorter attention spans and expect to be entertained. To set the tone for the rest of your slide presentation, start your powerful business presentation with a strong beginning. You could begin by shocking your audience with a statistic or quote that immediately catches their attention. Put them at ease by calmly reassuring them that you understand their concerns and explain why the research backs up your claims. Reassure them by saying something like, “I know you may be wondering…,” or “That fact may seem shocking, but research backs it up because…”
An effective way to engage your audience is to use an exciting image, video, or personal story. Remember that first impressions are key, so conveying that your presentation will be worthwhile is crucial. This way, you’ll avoid coming across as simply delivering a lecture.
6. Set clear objectives and inspire the audience
At the outset of your presentation, lay out the goals you hope to meet during your stage. This tells the audience why they should listen to you and what they stand to gain from paying attention. The goals being met are meaningful for both you and your audience. If you have presentation skills, you will be great at the business meetings to put across your thoughts.
As you fulfill the objectives of your presentation, your audience will be more likely to stay tuned in. This, in turn, will make them more likely to consider your talk a success. Remembering crucial points from your powerful business presentation will also help your audience gauge its success. A professional PowerPoint template can make your powerful business presentation more polished and credible. It can also save you time by providing a pre-designed structure for your slides. A PowerPoint slide with professional designs attracts the audiences attention.
7. Storytelling engages your audience
Statistics, academic points, and quotations may inform people, but stories are what connect with them on a personal level. A story can be about anything, from a personal experience to the history of a brand or consumers’ experiences. By highlighting the problems (the villain) and how your product, business or idea (the hero) will lead your audience closer to a solution, you can work in a similar way. Telling stories can make your business seem like part of a grand narrative your audience wants to become a part of, which can be beneficial.
There are always personal stories that can be shared to help connect with the audience. These stories can be used effectively throughout the powerful business presentation to help engage the audience and build trust. Share your story of how you got to where you are today and what has led you to believe in your business.
If you have strong presentation skills, you will excel in business meetings by effectively communicating your ideas. Remember to keep your message brief but exciting. The goal is to establish an emotional connection with your audience so your message is impactful. Avoid being too wordy or deviating from your main point.
Steve Jobs was an excellent corporate storyteller who excelled at every Apple product launch presentation. Steve Jobs reframed his company’s innovations in terms of stories of revolution. The Macintosh “changed the whole computer industry,” and the iPod “changed the whole music industry”. These stories of change brought the product, the consumer, and the exciting time they were living together.
8. Interact with your audience
A powerful business presentation can become quickly dull and sleep-inducing if you talk “at” your audience instead of engaging them in a discussion. Be it a sales presentation, customer service or board meeting, it is vital to improve the audience interaction. Ask your audience questions, take their feedback, and connect with them through anecdotes. By doing so, you will sound more professional and maintain their attention. You can also get them to sit up and work with you. For example, during specific points of the presentation, you could ask them to raise their hands if they agree. Interacting with your audience during your powerful business presentation will help keep them engaged and prevent them from becoming bored or disinterested.
9. Use visual aids
The use of visual aid helps people to retain information for more extended periods. Therefore, it is important to use visuals generously throughout your presentation to ensure that your core message is communicated effectively. It is worth noting that visual aid do not necessarily have to be boring PowerPoint slides. When delivering a boring presentation, it is important to remain professional. This can be difficult, as it is easy to become disengaged when bored.
Don’t read through the presentation material, as this will distract the audience and bore them. Pictures, videos, and art are also great mediums to get your points across and intrigue the audience member. Visual flowcharts can help summarize complex topics. If you’re displaying bullet points, be sure they’re visible and concise. No one wants to see lengthy paragraphs while you’re speaking at the same time. A quote or two is perfectly fine, but don’t go overboard.
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Google Slide is a presentation program developed by Google. It allows users to create and edit presentations online while collaborating with others in real time. Google Slide is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, but it is free to use and offers more features.
10. Business Friendly Humor
It can be pretty relaxing to listen to a speaker who can make you laugh during long presentations. If the speaker talks in a serious tone the entire time, it can seem like they are droning on. Maintaining a friendly and conversational tone in your writing is important to retain your audience attention. Light jokes can also help to keep your reader engaged. However, it is important to remember that this is a business presentation, and too much comedy could make your audience not take you or your powerful business presentation seriously.
Business communication is an important skill. Business communication is a key skill for success in the workplace. Whether you are writing a report, emailing a colleague, or presenting to a client, being able to communicate effectively can help you to achieve your goals. It is advisable only to use humor if you are skilled at it. Otherwise, avoid using humor as it will likely not have the desired effect.
11. Use a startling fact or statistic
Occasionally, do something unexpected to capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged. Fact and statistics can challenge people’s existing beliefs and help to solidify your argument. Try to use a few throughout your presentation to reinforce your points. The key point in each slide needs to be put in a presentable manner.
12. 10-20-30 rule revisited
Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki came up with this handy presentation rule in 2005: the 10/20/30 rule. This rule suggests that a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no longer than 20 minutes, and use a font size of no less than 30 points.
Here’s an infographic that sums it up:
Kawasaki observed many poor and repetitive presentations and derived a rule to ensure presentations are interesting. 10 slides are enough for a presenter to summarize their argument without overwhelming the audience. Any more information and they are likely to lose focus and become disengaged. Kawasaki states that the average person can pay attention for 20 minutes before losing focus. He believes that the last 40 minutes of a presentation would be used for questions and answers in an ideal world. A font size of 30 points is ideal for presentations, as it is large enough to be easily readable from the back of the room while still allowing the presenter to keep the amount of text on the screen to a minimum.
Remember that Kawasaki is talking about a particular situation – a pitch to a room full of venture capitalists. His points can be generalized to other situations, but a business owner may find that they don’t perfectly fit every situation. It would be beneficial to adapt them to different circumstances slightly.
13. Create a lasting impression
You don’t have to sound like a robot speaking to your audience. They’ll respond better if you personalize your interactions with them. Having good communication skills is very important. Be sure to make eye contact with different audience members so that they feel you are giving them your full attention. Maintaining eye contact with your audience/attendees conveys that you respect their time and are grateful for their attendance, as well as reinforcing the confidence of your message. When you make eye contact with audience members, smile at them! If you’re feeling nervous, find five or six friendly faces in the crowd and keep coming back to them for support.
14. Prepare to be asked tough questions
Make sure you’re prepared for the Q&A session! Your answers can make or break your powerful business presentation. A good presenter knows the material thoroughly and is ready to face difficult questions. Ending your presentation in awkward silence can make it challenging to build trust with your audience. Be sure to ask questions and use language demonstrating your understanding of their concerns. This will help show that you know what you’re doing and that your business venture is worth their trust. “Now, you may be wondering if…” is a great way to start a conversation with your audience, and it allows them to voice their concerns comfortably and shows that you’re open to hearing them out.
15. Finish on a high note
It is recommended to have a closing note after the Q&A session. This can be done without a slide, but you can use one if desired. When concluding your presentation, it is essential to leave a lasting and positive impression on your audience. You can do this by ending with a memorable personal story or quotation. Another way to achieve this is to remind the audience of the goals you set out to achieve and quickly summarize the main points of your presentation. Make sure your great presentation ends on a high note, demonstrating that your ideas can be successful. This will instill confidence in your listeners and leave them satisfied and optimistic.
Make Your Powerful Business Presentation a Success
To give a powerful business presentation, you must engage your audience and demonstrate the value of your ideas. This requires passion and commitment on your part. You can deliver an effective presentation by connecting with your audience and showing them the worth of your thoughts. This list of professional tips can help you take small steps that can lead to significant changes in giving a professional business presentation.
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What are the most challenging aspects of giving professional business presentations? Please share your thoughts, questions, and feedback in the comments section below.