One of the most important parts of influencing others is getting your point across in a compelling and interesting way. Some people find giving presentations easy, but it sets most people on edge. In fact, according to Forbes, 10% of people are so petrified of public speaking that it’s simply impossible for them to do. Another 10% enjoy it. That leaves most of us, at 80%, with sweaty palms and nervous smiles when offering a presentation of any sort.
If you’re one of the 80%, you can still offer a fantastic presentation by using those nerves to convey the importance of your message. Talking in front of a crowd can be terrifying, but, as Harvard Business Review points out, it offers a powerful method for getting your message across:
“Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization.”
Here are some tips for becoming a great communicator and giving a compelling presentation.
Do Your Research
While you may be confident in your field and your position, knowing the information and data you have to present forward and backward is the first step to confidence when speaking in front of people. When you deliver your presentation, you should do it with the goal of sharing what you know about the topic with others and working with them toward learning even more.
Less Is More
While it’s important to establish your credentials, saying more with less is far more impactful when you want to make a memorable impression on your audience. Some of the most influential speeches and documents in history have been incredibly short, so use this as inspiration when developing your next presentation.
Capitalize on Visual Memory
Humans are visual creatures. While a presentation audience member may only remember about 10% of the text seen during a presentation, that audience member will retain about 65% of the information conveyed with images, pictures, and visual aids. This pictorial superiority effect can be an incredibly potent tool when you want to deliver a powerful presentation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Bit of Humor
In a professional setting, leveraging humor in a presentation requires delicate calculation. Add just enough and you’ll keep the audience interested and engaged. Humor can keep your audience alert as long as you keep things professional, tasteful, and aligned with your presentation.
Keep Things Natural
You certainly want to prepare for your presentation, but you don’t want to over-prepare, and sound completely rehearsed. Take time to review your notes and the key points you need to touch upon during the presentation, but don’t fall into the trap of reciting your presentation off a stack of index cards.
Find Help When You Need It
These are just a few basic tips to help you deliver better presentations. Susan Ascher is an entrepreneur, leadership coach, and corporate speaker, and author who can help you develop your professional skills, including presenting your ideas to others. Contact Susan today for more information about how she can help you give more polished presentations.