Have you ever felt like a rock star? Even just for a minute? It's a heady experience and it feels as if the moon and stars were perfectly aligned to support the successful moment.
If you make business presentations, speak to groups, or provide training classes, you may have experienced speaking moments when all of the pieces came together seamlessly.
These business presentation skills tips will help you develop your presentation skills—and perhaps one day—allow you to experience a rock star moment. Just starting out? These business presentation tips will help you form the foundation that will fuel your speaking comfort level and success.
Successful Business Presentation Skills
These are the three cornerstone skills for developing and making effective business presentations.
- The key to successful business presentations is preparation. The first step in preparation is to find out everything you can about your audience's interests and needs from your presentation. This gives you a solid foundation upon which you can build.
- Knowledge of the requested topic is also critical; if you don't know the topic well, the amount of time you spend in preparation and the amount of stress you experience will multiply - possibly past your ability to do an effective business presentation. Only accept and do business presentations that you are confident you can handle. Don't try to be a superhero. But, you also need to occasionally push the window of your comfort zone, or you won't continue your own growth.
- A straightforward business presentation of dry, factual information can make your audience's eyes and ears glaze over. In addition to the facts, your knowledge, and your research for your business presentation, you need to spice up the material. Even HR training, on topics such as policies, need not be dry and boring. Have stories to share and ideas and examples that will engage your audience. For effective business presentations, you may want to include a couple of questions that you ask your audience members to discuss with the person sitting next to them.
If you cannot do these three foundational business presentation skills, maybe you're not the right person to make the business presentation. In these additional tips about effective business presentations, the assumption is that you are and can.
More Business Presentation Skills
The Importance of Think Time Before a Business Presentation: The most important preparation for your business presentation is often not the obvious. It's the thought time and research time you spend for weeks in advance of the meeting once you understand your audience's needs.
When you finally prepare your presentation, you are clear on the concepts you want to present, the needs of the audience, and the value you can add to the occasion. The think time allows you to zero in on the audience and its needs.
Limit the Content and the Goals of Your Business Presentation: No matter how much time you have allotted for your business presentation, you don't have time to tell the audience everything you know. For speakers with years of experience, the temptation to overwhelm the audience with everything you know must be avoided. You'll bore them, annoy them, and fail to earn fans.
The good news is that all of your "think time" and knowledge of your audience allows you to zero in on the most important concepts in the topic for your business presentation. In a 30-90 minute presentation, you have time to make 4-6 key points. You really don't have time for much more if you are illustrating your points and providing examples.
Begin Your Business Presentation With an Attention Gaining Manner: Start your business presentation with a startling fact, a question, a revelation, or a pertinent story. Once you have gained the audience's attention, tell them what you will talk about during your business presentation. Make your core or thesis point, then build your business presentation around the 4-6 key points referenced. Finish by summarizing what you told them.
You basically tell them what you will tell them, tell them, and then, tell them what you told them, to achieve maximum impact.
Limit the Use of Visuals and PowerPoint in Your Business Presentation: Unless you need to illustrate key points, the use of visuals and powerpoint presentations that provide bullet points of your spoken words is boring and redundant. A prop or slide is helpful only when it is needed to illustrate a key point.
Your attendees would much rather that you prepared detailed handouts that they can take back to work or download, and follow online. Another plus? If the audience members are not taking notes and not reading a screen, they are much more likely to listen to you. And you are the value-add—right?
Conquer Your Fear of Business Presentations With a Mind Adjustment: Nervousness or fear are natural before public speaking but try to focus on the fact that the presentation is about the message and not you, which might take off some of the pressure.
Focus on the Value You Bring Your Audience in Your Business Presentation: Love your audience and know and believe that you are bringing them the information they need and will value. Respect them by being yourself. It's not about you; it's about them. Speak from your heart and your most deeply held beliefs.
If you speak or make business presentations, you'll eventually have your own two minutes as a rock star. Cool. Then, you'll go back to writing, Human Resources, management, or whatever it is that you do at work.
But, you'll be better for the interaction, the feedback, the experience, and the fact that you added some value to multiple lives. Can life get any better than that?
Business presentations have such wonderful potential to influence thinking and change lives. Business presentation skills elevate and add value to your ability to contribute and to influence others.