“Effective Business Presentation Tips”
Here are some tips to do an effective business presentation as stated in the article “The Art of Making Business Presentation written by Rupal Jain:
1. Decide your Goal and Topic of Presentation
2. Analyze the Audiences
3. Decide the Form of Presentation
4. Identify the Audio-Visual Aid required
5. Know the Venue and the Equipment
6. Rehearse the Presentation
7. Avoid Information Overloading
8. Effective Body Language
9. Preparation of Handouts and Assessment Form
10. Be a Good Active Listener
Check out the full article as below.
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The Art Of Making Business Presentation
By Rupal Jain
As rightly stated by M.K. Sehgal and Vandana Khetarpal in Business Communication, “While it is one of the easiest things in the world for some people to stand in front of a group of people and to talk, there are many who look scared and ready to rush for a cover at the sight of an audience. The difference in the categories may arise, not from the difference in their knowledge content but from the difference in their Attitude. Even an experienced speaker in the beginning of his speaking career, might have faced the problem of “nervousness”, “butterflies in the stomach”, “increased heartbeats”, “shaking legs”, “shaking voice” and “forgetfulness” which are most obvious signs of nervousness which badly affects the Business Presentation. A Presentation is delivery to a small knowledgeable audience with a concrete, clear and preciously defined purpose.
Here are some guidelines to do a successful Presentation:-
1. Decide your Goal and Topic of Presentation: The Goal in making a presentation could be to persuade, educate, convince and win the approval of the audiences thereby achieving the desired results, considering the occasion and objective of the speaker. Format the sequence and pace of the presentation so that the audience can understand it easily. A good impact can’t be made unless you are through with the topic. Giving the audience relevant and unexpected facts beyond the topic norms adds value. Presentation requires knowledge of the subject, confidence and experience.
2. Analyze the Audiences: Know who is going to be the audience and what they want from you. The age, gender, nationality, educational background and experiences of the audience present have a great relevance to the Presentation. While answering the questions direct your remarks to the entire audiences. That way, you will keep everyone focused, not just questioner. Speak with conviction as if you really believe in what you are saying and persuade the audience effectively.
3. Decide the Form of Presentation: You should decide whether you wish to achieve the objective by a Formal or Non-Formal mode, i.e. either by Reading/Memorizing/Extemporaneous (you can select any of the following mode or combination of two). You need to decide whether the move is going to be from the periphery to the core of the subject matter or from the core to the periphery based in the length of the script.
4. Identify the Audio-Visual Aid required: Different types of Audio-Visual supports like Slides, Video Tapes, VCD’s, PowerPoint’s as presentation, Software, Flip Chart, Writing Boards; through which text, graphs, figures and cartoons can be easily drawn enhances the quality of presentation. They are meant to emphasise the most vital points of the presentation in a unique manner. While preparing the visuals, the designer should take extra care in the selection of colour, fonts and visual aids for the images. Certain colour combinations can be irritating to the eyes, while others are pleasing, apart from learning the subject, the audiences should also enjoy the presentation.
5. Know the Venue and the Equipment: Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive ahead of time, walk around the speaking area and sit in the seats, seeing the set up from the audiences perspective will help you decide where to stand, what direction to face and how loudly you will need to speak. Decide in advance what if the projector dies? Or the Computer Crashes? Or the Co-Drive doesn’t work? Or your CD gets steeped on? Have a printed copy of your notes with you and carry a backup of your presentation on a USB flash or E-Mail yourself a copy.
6. Rehearse the Presentation: Plan the Opening/Main Body/Closing of the Presentation. Practice your deliver over and over until you remove the distractions including nervous tics and uncomfortable pauses. Make sure that your Presentation can run on any computer. TO FAIL TO PREPARE IS TO PREPARE TO FAIL. After a Concert, a fan rushed up to famed violinist Fritzkreisler and gushed, “I’d give up my whole life to play as beautifully as you did.” Kreisler replied, “I Did”.
7. Avoid Information Overloading: PowerPoint expert Cliff Atkinson, author of “Beyond Bullet Points”, says, “When you overload your audience, you shut down the dialogue that is important part of decision-making. When you remove interesting but irrelevant words and pictures from the screen you can increase the audience’s ability to remember the information by 189% and the ability to apply the information by 109%”, recommends Atkinson. Clarify in advance how much time you will have and be sure to leave time for questions.
8. Effective Body Language: The speaker needs to break the ice, gain acceptance and capture attention of the audience’s right at the start of making the opening, spell binding. It is rightly said, “First Impression is the Last impression”. A Presentable Clean and Impressive appearance is of utmost importance for the speaker. Confident voice and posture, effective eye contact and meaningful gestures make up a good body language. Never speak to the slides. Many presenters watch their presentation rather than their audience. Turn to your audiences and make eye contact. Allow yourself and audiences a little time to reflect and think.
9. Preparation of Handouts and Assessment Form: Handouts are basically printed material given to the audience before beginning of the Presentation, it should be extremely well prepared as the participants are going to take them back after the session and probably share the same with colleagues. With an intention to get Feedback from the audience, as how well speakers presentation was received, a questionnaire is circulated among the audience, immediately after completing the programme and the members are requested to fill up the same. It should elaborate on the Level of Acceptance of the speaker (grading on various parameters such as delivery, ideas, use of visual aids, handling the groups, empathy, listening, expectation form the presentations and to what extent were they met), scope of improvement and suggestions, if any.
10. Be a Good Active Listener: Good Speakers not only inform their audience, they also listen to them. It involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand. It is a form of accepting which prepares for positive results. Active Listening involves Hearing, Understanding, Interpretation, Concentration and Judgement. It requires commitment and Personal Discipline whereas; Supportive Listening involves Empathy which is the key ingredient of helping in the Listening Process. It is the understanding of another’s feelings.
DO’S of a Successful Presentation:
1. Give an overview or agenda (i.e., “tell them what you are going to tell them”)
2. At the end, summarize the highpoints.
3. Use Humour, but make absolutely sure it is appropriate humour.
4. Finish on Time. It is better to finish slightly early than to overrun.
5. Thank the audience for their time and attention.
6. Have a contingency back-up plan, i.e. Plan B and Plan C.
7. Speak Clearly.
8. Deliberately pause at key points.
9. Enjoy Yourself.
For Visual Aids:-
10. Use Key Phrases.
11. Limit Punctuations and Avoid All Capital Letters.
12. Avoid Fancy Fonts.
13. Use Contrasting Colour for Text and Background.
14. Use Slide Design Templates Effectively.
15. Limit the number of slides.
16. Use Photos, Charts and Graphs.
17. Avoid excessive Use of Slide Transition and Animation.
DON’T of a Successful Presentation:
1. Read the material from the slide/notes.
2. Use more than 36 words per slide.
3. Use Paragraphs, use bullet points as “talking points”.
4. Use improper grammar, phrases or a sentence that doesn’t make sense, no misspelled words.
5. Move too fast or too far from the audience but move around to keep the audiences attention.
6. Be afraid to say, “I don’t know” if you aren’t sure of an answer to a question.
7. Hold objects in your hands, but do use you hands and arms for gestures.
8. Whisper or Shout.
9. Rush or Talk deliberately slowly.
10. Rely completely on your slide projector to run the show.
Let me conclude by a small anecdote:
Eleanor Roosevelt was a shy young girl who was terrified at the thought of speaking in public. But with each passing year, she grew in Confidence and Self Esteem. She once said, “No one can make you feel inferior, unless you agree with it.” Finally, the most important 3 things to know about making a Great Presentation are PLANNING, PREPARATION AND PRACTICE.
RUPAL JAIN, LECTURER, ATHARVA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES (MUMBAI) AND I CAN BE REACHED AT firstname.lastname@example.org