Presenting in public is a difficult challenge for many of us. It’s not easy to get a message through when you’re stressed, but there are a few simple ways to convince and engage your participants during your presentation.
Discover the 5 essential tips to give a convincing presentation!
1. Frame your presentation
When preparing your presentation, it is very important to conceptualize and frame your ideas to the maximum.
- Your presentation should always include a brief introduction to explain why this topic is so important to you. By sharing your passion, you increase your chances to convince your participants of the interest of your presentation.
- Don’t try to cover a too broad topic, you risk losing part of your audience in the twists and turns of your presentation. Instead, cover a narrower topic so that you have the opportunity to go into some ideas in depth and give concrete examples.
- Avoid using jargon or complex terms. Generally speaking, it is best to assume that your participants are unfamiliar with your topic. You can read our article on the power of words to learn more!
- Conceptualize your ideas around a story. A narrated presentation is much more likely to be well received by an audience than a conventional presentation. Telling a story allows participants to identify themselves more easily and to put themselves in the place of the narrator.
2. Prepare your speech
During your event you have three possibilities to deliver your message:
Reading your notes or a prompter This is a bad idea. Why? Because it creates distance between you and your participants. Reading, whatever the medium, prevents you from maintaining eye contact with your assembly. As a result, your participants are less attentive and engaged in your presentation.
Learning bullet points When you don’t have a lot of time to prepare, the best solution is to remember the few most important bullet points of your presentation. Tip: to make your presentation more fluid, in addition to retaining the big ideas, remember to memorize the transitions!
Learning by heart Retaining your entire presentation may be a good or a bad idea. Bad idea because it takes a long time. You should know this and take it into account when preparing your speech. If you don’t spend enough time reviewing, your presentation will be jerky and unnatural. Good idea because with a good preparation, you can be (almost) sure that everything is under control and that your presentation will go as planned.
When writing your text, before you start learning it, make sure the tone is not too formal. We don’t write in the same way we speak, so you need to pay attention to the tone you want to use and write it down. But above all, don’t forget the most important thing: Be yourself!
3. Develop your presence on stage
If you’re not used to it, don’t worry, it’s not that bad. The harms associated with reading a presentation because of the importance of eye contact have already been discussed above.
The presence on stage is largely influenced by your ability to eye-scan the room so that each participant feels unique and important. If you are not used to it, ask your close colleagues and/or friends in the audience to spread out over the four corners of the room. You will then have the opportunity to connect with these familiar faces throughout the room.
The second thing to master for a good presence on stage: minimize the number of your movements. It’s a nervous reflex for everyone, but it distracts the audience. The ideal is not to move your lower body (too much) and let your hands support what you are saying. However, if you can walk naturally on stage, don’t hold back!
The only thing we don’t have universal advice for is stress management. Everyone has a little technique to get through it. But don’t worry too much, and try to turn your stress into energy and draw from it! Your audience expects you to be stressed, this is the natural response of the human body to pressure.
4. Preparing your digital media
It’s a surprise for no one. Having visual support is very important in creating a compelling presentation. At a minimum, it is preferable to prepare a presentation with slides.
When you choose to accompany your presentation with slides, here are some tips to always improve your performance:
- Don’t read what it says on the slides! Like your notes, the more you read, the less opportunity you have to make eye contact with your audience.
- Don’t duplicate what you say on slides. You don’t have to write what you say, it will only distract and annoy your audience.
- Use everything within your reach, without abuse of course: videos, illustrations… to create a memorable presentation!
5. Gathering and training
To give you a (slightly extreme) example, TEDx speakers start preparing nearly 6 months before their speech! While this is a special situation, it reflects the importance of preparing and rehearsing the speech in order to create a compelling presentation.
It is essential to organize yourself so that you have time to rehearse. When you train to present, once you have already done it 2 or 3 times in front of a mirror, suggest to colleagues and friends to attend a rehearsal. Also consider inviting people who have already been speakers so that the feedback is constructive. You will progress more quickly in learning your presentation.