Enthusiasm and knowledge are two integral aspects of a successful business presentation; however, many business professionals get a bit nervous when it comes to public speaking and fail to embrace these two powerful criteria. What’s interesting is this: Research has shown that most audiences cannot determine whether a speaker is even nervous during a business presentation.
When giving a presentation, you should immediately display your knowledge for the subject matter as it will go a long way in getting the attention of your audience and help overcome any fear or nervousness of public speaking.
To combat any nervousness and fears of a presentation, consider the following tips from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama:
Be an Expert on Your Topic — With adequate research and preparation, you can become a topic expert on the subject of your presentation. This will instill in you the confidence you need to lead and advise your team on the subject matter. Thorough topic knowledge will engage and impress an audience; take the time to memorize a few key facts and figures and consider providing metrics in the form of handouts.
Provide Clean Copy — When you use visual presentation aids such as Microsoft PowerPoint, remember that your presented copy and graphics are there to help the audience understand your presentation. Too many words on the screen will detract from your presentation; therefore, ensure each slide contains a short list of bullet points instead of long sentences and/or paragraphs. Your role is to edify each bullet point topic and provide necessary information as you go. If you are dealing with a large amount of information, be sure to explain that provided handouts are for later review so the audience remains focused.
Anticipate and Control Your Q&A — When you take questions following your presentation, it is possible that an audience member will ask you about something irrelevant or something that requires more research, knowledge or follow-up on your part. If this occurs, let the person who asked the question know that you will follow up with an answer later.
Take Your Time — When nervous, you may talk too quickly or miss important items. If you speak too fast, your audience may also miss important information you wish to communicate. In your personal presentation notes, provide organized aides such as notifications or ‘stop signs’ to remind yourself to pause, assess audience response and take a breath.
5. Walk Around the Room if Possible — If you are delivering your presentation in a casual setting, consider walking around the room to further engage your audience. This movement can help you get rid of your nervous energy and can enhance both your authority and the appearance of a more relaxed setting.
6. Pass Out Handouts Before Your Presentation — If you want to keep your audience engaged—especially if you are conducting a training exercise—pass out your presentation before getting started. Here is the key: Don’t provide them with all the key data points; instead, have them write it on their personal copies. Do this, and your audience will remember more of your presentation and help you become more engaged with the audience.
While topic knowledge, preparation and enthusiasm are key parts of a quality business presentation, your ability to speak comfortably in front of an audience also requires effort. With a bit of attention to your public speaking tactics, you can offer a clear, concise and effective business presentation on any topic of your expertise.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/imagerymajestic