4 Tips to Elevate Your Presentations
As I prepare for my involvement in the upcoming Changing the Game…to Create Home field Advantage workshop, my thoughts turn to presentation skills. With the benefit of my involvement in Toastmasters International and various opportunities to hear world-class speakers at terrific conferences, I’ve become a student of great presenters.
Here are four of the best tips I’ve learned to elevate presentations, whether to groups of two or two thousand:
- “Start with why.” Simon Sinek’s powerful book Start With Why uses the concept of a Golden Circle – first why, then how, then what. Once the audience understands and buys into the why, they’re much more interested in the how and the what. The next time you’re making a pitch or presentation, try starting with the why before the details. This also works really well as you’re crafting your unique value proposition. Why do you do what you do? Focus on communicating that first and the rest of your message will flow easily.
- “A picture is worth a thousand words.” As important as your words are, images are an even more powerful way to capture what you’re trying to say. Package your message into a compelling graphic and leave the audience with an image that leaves a lasting impression. They may not remember every word, but they will remember the feeling they had when they saw the visual and the concept you tried to convey. What image can you use to illustrate your point?
- “Show, don’t tell.” These wise words were reiterated daily by my high school English teacher. I now realize they are just as true when speaking as when writing. Use vivid examples and real stories to captivate your audience. Whether you are talking with a prospective client about an insurance matter or speaking to a community group about the importance of hazardous materials training, use stories and real-life anecdotes to drive your point home. Think about what stories you can use to illustrate your key points.
- “Be yourself.” When people are “themselves” and speak authentically, they are much more credible. They are also more relaxed. I’ve seen countless nervous speakers approach the podium at a Toastmasters club meeting and hit their stride once the topic turns to something that really matters to them…their family, their work, their passions or hobbies. Be yourself. Your authenticity will show through and people will want to partner with you.
Whether your audience is a prospect, client, community member, family member, co-worker, or staff member, start with why, use a picture to illustrate your point, show with powerful examples, and, most importantly, be yourself.
What have you done to elevate your presentations?