2012 is coming to a close and you’ve probably given a presentation or two this year. How did they go? Were you well prepared? Was your audience captivated? Did you see dramatic change take place?
The new year will be here in just 11 days (assuming the world doesn’t end tomorrow). Want to see your presentations do more this next year?
Here are three simple changes you can make to improve your presentations in 2013.
Don’t give information. Do tell a story. Many (most?) presentations are long on facts, details, and information but short on persuasion. Why should all that data matter to me and what should I do about it? Here’s where stories can be your best friend. Stories are emotional and memorable; they enable us to insert ourselves into the place of the characters and simulate their experiences as our own. If using story in a presentation or meeting seems silly or unprofessional, see Spielberg’s new film Lincoln. In several scenes, the president skillfully uses stories to instruct, remind, and defuse. Find ways to incorporate story.
Don’t use a PowerPoint template. Go minimal. Start with a blank slate. Try a plain white, black or gray background. Use photographs, not clip art. Experiment.
Don’t “wing it.” Do rehearse. If there’s one thing you can do that will improve your presenting and public speaking instantly, this is it–and yet it’s the one thing that most people fail to do. When you practice your presentation, you’ll find ideas that you thought would work but don’t; you’ll also surface good ideas that hadn’t emerged in your planning. Rehearsing is also a great way to build your confidence, control your nerves, and combat stage fright before you present.
Change your presentations for the better this next year. Your audience will be glad you did.