3 tips to improve your presentations

Have you ever been in presentation hell? I have and it was awful.
Without further ado, here are the 3 things I learnt about surviving presentation hell.

1. Understand your message

Take the time to really understand the message you are trying to impart, because it’s only when you truly believe something that you can sell it with confidence. And when you’re confident, your audience will be engaged.

The language you use and how you choose to convey the message is important. If you make the message too complex, your audience will get lost and turn off. Your moment will be lost.

As project managers we deal with a lot of complexity and that spills over in our communication. If you remember that simple is best and ditch the complexity, you will engage your audience.

2. Know your audience

One of the mistakes I have made in the past is not really understanding my audience. It took me a while to realise that one presentation is not going to be suitable for all audiences. You may able to use elements of the same presentation over and over again, however the narrative you use should be varied.

While some audiences may enjoy seeing images rather than text and want to hear you talk, other audiences may not relate to this at all and prefer text they can follow. Some audiences will appreciate humour, while others will not. When you target your presentation to a specific audience, you are more likely to find common ground and engage their hearts, not just their minds.
Effective communication is all about knowing your audience.

3. Be a storyteller

Stories are such a powerful way of conveying a message. People buy into stories much more than dry, boring “motherhood statements” and techno babble talks.

Having a compelling ‘why’ story is an effective way to get buy in and understanding. When I first started thinking about using stories in my presentations I struggled with the ‘how’. But with time and practice, I have found it easier to incorporate and ultimately engage.

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here are some example stories;

A. Have you ever tried to raise a purchase order to buy a service? The service is less than $10K but what a convoluted process. I had to go and see Millie in Accounts Payable and then talk to my manager. All before I even entered anything in the system to raise the purchase order. It was days before the order was raised. I had the supplier ringing me all the time. Given the size of the purchase order it did seem that the amount of effort was excessive.

B. We hear about disruption in the news and in our work lives. Yet if we look around at our day-to-day lives – is there really disruption going on? What we are seeing in the market place is that there are new entrants with alternative ways to engage our customers and they’re challenging our typical business models.

These stories are basic but people can buy into the scenario and how it relates to them.

Using these 3 techniques will help you become a superstar presenter and ensure your audience is truly engaged.

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