In this blog post, you’ll receive 5 key takeaways that will help make your presentation a memorable one.
Have you ever had this experience: You’re sitting through a painfully long and boring presentation, and when you finally get to the end of it you start thinking to yourself, “What did I just listen to?” Nothing sank in! This, unfortunately, happens a lot of the time to many speakers, and it’s exactly the reason why so many people hate sitting through meetings and presentations in general.
Now, let’s not discredit those presentations that have left you feeling like the presenter absolutely nailed it. You remember exactly what they said for years afterwards, tell all your friends about it, and even search to find where else you can hear that specific speaker present.
In this article, we want to share with you 5 key points that will help you leave your audiences feeling like you’ve absolutely nailed all your presentations, so they remember it for years to come!
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AHEAD OF TIME
As a speaker, presenter, or even the leader of a team meeting, you have so much more responsibility than to just show up and lecture your audience with facts. It’s your job to make the information you’re sharing interesting and endearing enough that you draw everyone listening in, whether it’s content full of numbers and statistics, or stories that tug at their emotions.
Despite how obvious it might seem, it’s shocking how many speakers are willing to give a presentation to an audience they know nothing about. They completely miss the point of research as it relates to landing a more effective talk. How can you make your content interesting for your audience if you don’t even know them, their interests, their backgrounds, or their experiences?
Commit to discovering who your audience really is before you sit down and start to outline your talk. Find out what challenges they have that you can help them to overcome, what they’re passionate about, what gets them up in the morning, and why they might benefit from hearing your presentation. The more you can learn about them ahead of time, the more valuable it will be to you in the long run.
Now you can frame your talk in a way that includes stories and examples your audience will understand and relate to because they are relevant. You can even speak to specific issues that people in your audience might be experiencing instead of boring them with hypothetical situations they likely don’t even understand.
Consider this key point especially if you are using metaphors to illustrate certain concepts; knowing about your audience will help to make sure those metaphors will resonate with them rather than confuse them.
There are a number of other ways that getting to know your audience will benefit you and your presentation (and possibly your reputation): You will avoid cultural faux pas, you will create a stronger connection (and more easily), your content will be more relevant… The list goes on, but you get the point: if your goal is to really nail a presentation, you have to begin by having a reasonably good understanding of who you are speaking to.
OUTLINE YOUR TOPICS AND TALES
The majority of presenters understand the importance of outlining their talks before they give them. A well-planned presentation is guaranteed to be better quality than one that was given on the fly. However, what many presenters don’t realize is that of the same level of importance is the way in which they plan.
A lot of speakers will sit down and write out a script for their talk, or they prepare slides with every little point they want to make. That’s all fine and well, but fast forward to when it comes to the day of their presentation, they just end up reading from the script, or right off of their slides. Can you guess the result? A bored audience who won’t remember the data thrown at them and quickly lose interest in the lack of charisma supporting the facts.
Rather than creating a stiff script and planning out point by point what you want to say, focus more on creating a map of all your desired touch points, and prepare the order in which you’d like to tell them. This invites flexibility into your talk, while still ensuring you stick to a structure and flow that will make sense.
Once you are clear on your touch points and what order you want to make them in, you can move on to deciding what you are actually going to talk about. Pick stories you can tell to support your points that (based on your prior research) will resonate with the audience and help them understand in a way that makes sense to them.
Repeat this step for every point you have mapped out for your talk, and you’ll quickly realize that a solid presentation sits right in front of you! And now you can adjust it to suit many different audiences, because you have that strong outline to work with.
Bonus tip: by using personal stories and examples, you will be able to remember them easily and tell them in a naturally engaging way—because they happened to you. This method even allows you to make your presentation fit different time slots, because you can choose to tell shorter or longer versions of the stories for each point.
ENVISION YOURSELF SUCCEEDING
When most people think of public speaking, they immediately imagine it being scary. They picture themselves on stage and immediately forget how words work, or they imagine the audience not even acknowledging their presence. So as you can probably guess, it comes as no surprise that the average presenter’s default is to visualize the worst-case scenario. But in doing so, their presentation is destined for failure before it even began.
Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” It makes perfect sense that if your only focus is on how terribly your presentation can go, your subconscious mind will take action to create the negative results you’re anticipating. Luckily, the opposite is also true.
If you keep your focus positive and visualize your presentation going well, your subconscious mind will start taking action to produce those results for you. Imagine how your audience’s life will improve if they implement the information you are going to share. Give your mind that image to work with instead of one of doom. Picture ending your presentation to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Envision the faces of the people in your audience as they have life-altering breakthroughs because of the points you are making. It’s all in your hands, and in your mind.
By changing your presentation expectations, you’ll notice an overall improvement in quality. You will notice you actually have no fear about getting on stage. You will notice you are rather genuinely excited about it. You will feel more confident, and you will be able to handle distractions or unexpected questions more easily. You will even naturally up your game on delivery. It sounds a bit fluffy, we know, but trust us, simply visualizing your talk going perfectly will give you a massive advantage.
JUST BE YOU
It’s something most people have been told since they were children: “If you want people to like you, just be yourself.” Yet it’s fascinating how many speakers forget that once they get on stage. They often fall victim to the temptation to take on a different persona when they present, almost as if they want the audience to believe they are someone they aren’t.
There are two issues with this. First, it’s exhausting for you! Imagine having to keep up an act throughout your entire presentation, all the while also having to remember what you’re supposed to say, and deliver it well. Of course the quality of your delivery will be substantially diminished as a result, all because you are having to work so hard to maintain this fake persona.
The second issue is even more serious. Humans tend to have a very finely tuned sense for when people are being fake, versus when they are being their true selves. When you try to put forward some type of stage persona, most people will pick up on it immediately. They may not know exactly what they’re noticing, but whatever it is makes them less likely to trust you. Because of that, your audience will be quick to notice any inconsistencies between the way you are on that stage and the way you are off the stage. Even your social media presence might come back and bite you. They will be on high alert for judgement now, so being anything but the real you just isn’t worth it.
If you simply show up as your authentic self, you will feel more confident and comfortable because you don’t have to stress over maintaining a certain persona, you will have no risk of getting “caught” not living up to your message, you will have more fun, and most importantly your audience will sense your authenticity and will naturally trust you more, allowing them to connect with you more easily.
BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR DELIVERY
Audiences look to presenters to be an authority figure. They need to feel like you know what you’re talking about (which, to be fair, you should). Presenting with certainty makes you look confident, and confidence is the key to keeping their attention and ensuring they view you as an authority.
Keep in mind how key it is to not only be confident in your material, but to also never speak about anything that you don’t fully believe in or apply in your own life. Speaking in congruence with who you are will give you a level of certainty that simply cannot be inauthentic, it will put value in what you are saying, and it will prove to the audience that you, in fact, are the authority. This alone will dramatically change the quality of your presentation.
However, there will always be aspects about a talk that might have you feeling rather uncertain, no matter how prepared you might be. The trick is to do everything in your power to make sure that pesky uncertainty doesn’t show up in your presentation. Be sure to take the steps to control every factor you can!
If it’s an online presentation, log in ahead of time to test your connection. If it’s a live presentation, go and walk the stage ahead of time to make sure you know how it feels and what to expect. Why not make a point of meeting the crew? After all, these are the people who can both create and eliminate huge amounts of uncertainty for you. Be prepared to present without your slides or notes if you have to, so that if there are any technical difficulties, there is no uncertainty created by suddenly not having them to rely on.
There are, of course, so many more concepts that go into truly mastering the art of nailing your presentations. But we believe that by focusing on getting familiar with your audience, being prepared for your talk, visualizing it going well, showing up as the real you, and delivering with certainty, you will instantly level up your speaking skills and be well on your way to nailing every presentation you ever give.
The real secret to absolutely nailing every presentation is to constantly learn, grow and improve your skills. By reading this article, you’re already well on your way to creating some momentum, and you can keep that momentum going now by clicking here to receive our free video guide on the 5 Steps to Overcoming Stage Fright.