Grab Their Attention … early in your presentation!

Presentation SkillsIt’s easy to get butterflies as you prepare for a presentation. The larger the anticipated audience, the more butterflies. One of the dreaded fears is to see audience checking their smart phone, yawning, or simply staring at you.

You should consider starting with big statistic, a relevant personal story about your topic or a bold promise, such as, “At the end of this presentation you will be able to [fill in the blank]. Some people are visual learners, so a physical prop, a PowerPoint presentation, YouTube videos and/or maintaining eye contact can help them focus and concentrate. This is a powerful technique.

Ask your audience to do something physical, such as a show of hands in response to a question. For example, “How many of you have attended a presentation on handling email, and left more confused than before?” Your chief purpose for this type of beginning is to help the audience to appreciate that you have an understanding of their issues and concerns.

Arnold Sanow compiled a list of tips and techniques for delivering an excellent presentation, whether you are presenting at a staff meeting, conference, briefing, oral proposal or one-on-one meetings. His article was entitled, 42 Tips for Masterful Presentations.

Ten (10) of his suggestions resonated with me. However, you can read the original article here.

Here is my top ten (10).

1. Always arrive early, make sure everything works and never wing it.
2. Bring backups of anything you may need and be prepared to deliver your presentation without equipment if something goes wrong
3. Update your presentation on a regular basis to get the latest trends, thoughts and ideas
4. Always build pauses in your presentations – people need time to absorb your main points
5. Use relevant stories – this is what people will remember
6. Have a strong opening and a strong closing
7. Be enthusiastic – People are more convinced by your energy, enthusiasm and conviction than by anything else.
8. Know your audience and focus on their needs, challenges and concerns
9. Always repeat the question and look at everyone when answering
10. Make sure all presentations have a combination of interactivity, fun and content.

Related Articles:   When Presenting … pause here, here and here! and   Engage Your Audience … compel them to listen!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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