Everyone brings their own agenda to a presentation. This means they walk into the room with a preconceived idea of what the meeting will be about and what they should get out of it. The unfortunate thing is that they don’t tell anyone what is inside their head.
So your job, when you get up and present, is to figure out what they really want to know and then deliver only that amount of information. If you deliver too much, you may overwhelm them and shut them down.
The more people you have in the room, the more challenging this is for you as the presenter.
- The larger the group, the more succinct and straightforward your message needs to be. Limit the number of points to three to five and supplement each point with a clear example that cements what you are saying.
- Speaking to a large group is much like trying to move a barge. Speaking to a small group is like moving a tugboat. It is much easier in a smaller group for you to jump around in your conversation and still have them able to follow you. The larger the group the simpler you need to keep the presentation. Keep it straightforward.
- Make individual eye contact with everyone in the group. Don’t try to sweep the entire group, and don’t try to look over people’s heads. Remember, you should speak like you would to a person over a cup of coffee, and you need to make eye contact about 70% of the time.
- Too many presenters try to speak only to the person they believe is the decision-maker. This is a major problem, because the decision-maker may be relying on someone else in the room whom you have snubbed by not making eye contact.
- Since your audience will have an eclectic mix of communication styles, it’s important that you cement your key points by clear examples. The main thing to focus on is that you give them a way to remember your information.
- Make it personable. By this I mean make sure that you project who you are as a person. If you are a person that uses humor, then use humor appropriately. If you’re passionate, make sure that your passion comes through, whether it be in your hand movements or your smile. Remember, your goal is to earn their trust. This means that the person in front of them during a presentation needs to be the same person they might run into at the gas station. Don’t be one of those presenters that is like a switch that gets turned on and turned off.
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