FORGET THE TOOL
The first thing most business professionals do when they are asked to make a presentation is to open PowerPoint (or any other presentation tool). As a result, you always end up with the usual slides with a title at the top, a block of text in the middle and a random clipart on the side. And this is normal because that’s what the tool wants you to do. You open PowerPoint and you have a pre-set layout that invites you to insert a title at the top and a block of text in the middle.
But before opening PowerPoint, you need to know your audience and their needs, set your objective, find your key messages and create a clear storyline. Only once you have a clear storyline can you ask yourself, does it help to illustrate my points using visuals? If the answer is yes, then it makes sense to open a presentation tool and create highly effective visual aids. But the answer is not always yes. Who says you have to use slides all the time?
REMOVE THE UNNECESSARY
When you do use slides in your presentations, avoid using too much text and too many unnecessary elements. In order to create highly effective visuals, you have to simplify and remove anything that doesn’t add any value to your message. Create simple and visual slides with just a few words so that they support and amplify your messages. One of the problems with slides full of text is that they replicate what you say, but slides never have to do that because you are the presentation, not your slides.
You should rehearse a number of times before getting up in front of your audience. Let’s leave improv to where it belongs – the theatre. And this is true whether you are an improviser or a learner. Some presenters feel more comfortable memorising their speeches while others feel more comfortable improvising a bit more. As a presentation coach, it’s important for me to respect the comfort zone of the speaker. However, it doesn’t matter whether you are an improviser or a learner, I’d still encourage you to rehearse before your presentation. And if you are an improviser, it doesn’t matter if what you say is different each time, it will still be more powerful the fifth time that the first.
Forget the tool, remove the unnecessary and rehearse. If you just follow these three tips (and nothing else) you would make presentations that are far better than what we see every day in business.
If you'd like to learn more about how to give memorable business presentations, check out my free report Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Creating Business Presentations.