Standing up and presenting to others is an important responsibility of a line manager. It is a key communication tool and therefore managers need to be credible and believable when they present. However, despite its importance many managers dread delivering presentations and some avoid them altogether! To help you we have prepared the following simple tips for delivering a great presentation:
- Purpose. The first tip is to be clear about the purpose of the presentation. Is it to persuade, convince, inform, consult? It is vital that you are clear about this as everything flows from the purpose.
- Outcomes. This is linked to the purpose. What specifically do you want to happen as a result of the presentation? Do you need a decision to be made? Or perhaps agreement to a proposed way forward?
- Consider your audience. While you may have some specific outcomes in mind what will your audience gain from your presentation? Simply standing up and telling them something they could have read in an email will only cause them to lose interest and disengage.
- Planning and preparation. When preparing your presentation work back from the purpose and outcomes of the presentation and prepare a structure that presents the facts, and builds to a logical conclusion. Remember the British Army adage of 6 P’s, in other words Proper Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
- Consider the presentation materials needed and avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’. Do you really need 30 slides for a 5 minute briefing?. If you are using slides think about what you will put on them. There is nothing worse than slides with 100 words on each in Arial 10pt font that can’t be read more than 1m from the screen!
- What pre-reading materials might you need to send out in advance? If you want a decision or agreement to a specific course of action it may be unrealistic to expect your audience to agree without some prior knowledge.
- Room layout and equipment. It may sound obvious but familiarise yourself with the room make, sure it is laid out how you want it and everything works, especially if you wish to use the internet for YouTube or TedTalk clips.
- Presentation delivery. Remember the confidence and credibility you present will be a combination of the words you use, your voice tone and body language. Use positive and influential words and avoid where possible using ‘qualifiers’. Think about your posture, stand up straight with your feet a shoulder’s width apart and use smooth movements with your hands to emphasise your points.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. You may never enjoy delivering a presentation but the more presentations you deliver the greater your confidence will become and the less anxious you will be. Consider recording your presentation beforehand – this will enable you to see how you come across.
- Ask for feedback. You are not always the best judge of your own performance and so it is vital to ask for honest and constructive feedback. Don’t accept bland feedback such as ‘oh it was fine’ or ‘well it wasn’t really very good’, ask for specific examples. For example ‘what exactly did I do that made you think it was not very good’. Having clear specific examples will help you to improve.
Presenting is a key management communication tool and while your job is not to entertain per se, you do need to be credible and believable, and the tips outlined above will enable you to achieve those goals. If you want to improve your skills further consider our 1 day in house Presentation Skills Course for up to 10 delegates.