Effective Presentation Tips for Business Presentations

Your boss has asked you to give a presentation at your next meeting, and now you’d like some tips for giving effective business presentations.

Preparation

One key to being a successful presenter is preparation. You need to know what you want to say and the most important points you want to make. Try to limit your main ideas to three or four, since most people won’t be able to remember more than that anyway. You might want to write a rough draft of what you want to say and then condense it into an outline. From there, you should consider putting each main idea on a note card. Make sure you number the note cards so that if you happen to drop them or mix them up, you can quickly organize them again. You are much better off just trying to remember the main ideas as well as the stories or anecdotes you want to use in your speech rather than attempting to memorize everything you want to say word for word. Your presentation will flow much more naturally and seem less stilted. However, you should rehearse what you want to say as much as you possibly can. Try rehearsing in front of a mirror or for friends and family. The more you practice, the more prepared you will feel, and the less likely you will be to forget key points you want to make.

Materials

Make sure you gather all the materials you want to use for your presentation or double check that you will have them available in the room where you will be speaking. If it all possible, check out the room where you will be making your presentation ahead of time, so you can get a feel for how it is laid out and what you have available to use in the room. You should also determine if you will be able to alter the layout of the room to one that is the most conducive to encouraging your audience to pay attention to your presentation. Look for things like white boards, chalkboards, flip charts, overhead projectors, computer equipment, drop down screens, etc. If you do not see something you know you will need, check with the meeting planner to see if you can get it before you give your presentation.

Also, you need to make sure that any special props or equipment you are using are packed and ready to go before you leave to give your presentation. Always rehearse with your props so that you can use them smoothly and effectively in your presentation. If you are using a music CD or a Powerpoint presentation, make sure you have everything queued and ready to go. You should also make sure any software you are using is compatible with the computer equipment available in the presentation room. If not, bring your own computer with you for the presentation. You might also consider using a remote control to help you advance slides since it will allow you to be more mobile while you are giving your talk.

Delivery

Once you have prepared thoroughly and are ready with all your materials, you are ready to give a dynamic, energetic, interesting presentation to your audience. Make sure you make eye contact with all the different people in the room. Try to engage your audience rather than just lecturing to them. Think of activities that encourage interaction, since the more the audience is involved, the more they will probably remember. Also keep what you are saying simple and don’t use technical terms some people may not understand without at least explaining what they mean. In order to keep people’s attention, use as much vocal variety as possible, and don’t be afraid to pause occasionally to give your audience time to think about what you are saying. You should be aware that only about 7% your message will come across from what you say. The rest will be determined from your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language, so it’s important to be expressive as possible.