Are you a new leader and want to be seen and heard in a positive way? Successful leaders use presentations to engage others and showcase their depth of knowledge about a topic. Whether the presentation is for the company’s employees, management team, board or future clients, great leaders take the time to learn how to make great presentations.
So, shake off your nervousness, set aside your ego and get into focused preparation.
10 Preparation Tips
One: Know Your Audience. What is the audience looking to learn? Are they looking for how-to-do-it’s or a 30,000-foot overview? Or something in between? Talk with the event organizer (whether it’s a boss, HR department, board or association) to find out. Be clear and plan your presentation by keeping it simple and smart (KISS). Clarity is key. Never assume you know the audience’s needs (even if they are your employees or co-workers) or the purpose of your presentation without asking the event organizer each time.
Two: Write an Overview. If you have been asked to provide information about what you will speak on, first create a one-page overview of the issue and why it’s important. Then, write out the three key learning points (or takeaways) plus a short bio about yourself. (Don’t forget to use your brag statements. http://BizSavvyBrag.com) It’s critical to ask for input to be sure the overview meets the organizer’s needs before sending it.
Three: Clarify Who, What, When, Where and Why. If the organizer has sent you an email outlining their specific needs for the presentation, follow it carefully and in a timely manner. You may want to request a short meeting to ask clarifying questions. Write down the responses! This is a great opportunity to build your reputation as a leader through the type of questions you ask and your ability to deliver what is expected. Always debrief with the organizer after the event. Ask, “What worked?” and “What didn’t work?” Listen and learn.
Four: Stick to the Allotted Time. Failure to keep your presentation within the allotted time frame is one of the biggest detractors from the quality of the material and your ability as a presenter. Shorten your talk to allow for Q&A, and do not engage in long-winded debates or tangents. Remember, many groups do not allow extra time since they have other speakers and activities scheduled for their audiences.
Five: Provide Easy-to-Read Handouts. Be sure your handouts and/or PowerPoints are ready, proofed and delivered as requested. Print them on light-colored paper stock with an easy to read font. Leave plenty of white space to ensure participants can easily take notes. Many organizations today are saving on paper, so make sure your audience has easy access to a digital format.
Six: Practice, Practice and Practice. Get in front of the mirror or other people several times (not just once) to deliver your entire talk. Practicing it out loud will make you aware of points or stories that can make a positive difference. Don’t wing it! If you do, you will usually forget something important, go off on a tangent or fail to deliver on the requirements of the presentation. It’s not unusual to make incorrect statements or inappropriate comments when you lack preparation. If you do, your boss or board will be hesitant to ask you to present again!
Seven: Have a Customer-Friendly Attitude. Write down your checklist of everything you need to bring to your presentation. Then, use it. Compare it with the expectations of the event organizer. Call about a week before your presentation and review each item to ensure you’re ready! This process is a great relationship builder if done correctly.
Eight: Follow Up and Follow Through. If additional information is requested from your audience, get the information to the right people within 24 to 48 hours. Remember, their experience working with you before, during and after your presentation counts!
Nine: Know the Rules about Selling Your Book, Product or Service. If you have been asked to present on behalf of your company at a trade event, be aware that most associations ban selling from the front of the room. Be clear about what they consider a sales pitch. One effective way to reach out to your audience is to have them complete an evaluation and ask for their contact information. Make sure to ask for their permission to follow up (and how: in a face-to-face meeting, LinkedIn or e-news distribution). If you are able to sell from the back of the room, have a co-worker run credit cards so you can stay focused on the people who want to talk with you.
Ten: Have Fun. First and foremost, enjoy meeting the audience before, during and after the event. Listen and learn. Refrain from any gossip or negativity. Being too serious is a detractor. If you’re nervous, walk one mile the day before and limit your intake of caffeine and sugar.
Presentations are great opportunities to build your leadership skills by listening to others talk about issues and potential solutions for your company, industry and profession.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
Need an engaging presenter for a trade association event or a facilitator to address a company issue? Contact Jeannette.
There is an art to bragging. Remember, no one will do it for you. The truth is, sharing your successes in a business-savvy manner will help you close sales, receive promotions and increase your income. Get your copy of It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition.
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.