The beginners guide to high impact presenting — 4 top tips
High impact presenting and public speaking has a very clear blueprint.
Anyone can present with varying levels of confidence, clarity and impact but high impact presenting is a skill. We are more than half way through 2021 and very gifted and talented business professionals are still reading slides or notes to each other. That’s not presenting; it’s simply reading slides or notes, which anyone can do.
Whether you are trying to influence or persuade colleagues, sell to a client, or simply update your team, the key to success is impact; personal impact.
Mindful presenting offers the pathway to the art of persuasion, influencing and human connection. It is the strategic key to communicating effectively and the route to high impact presenting and public speaking.
If you’re just about to begin your journey into the world of presenting and public speaking, this guide will serve you extremely well.
If you’re an experienced presenter looking to explore high impact presenting a little further, you’ll find many of these tips very helpful too.
Here are the first four.
1. Become your audience
You’ve been asked to present because you have a level of knowledge, insight or expertise that would benefit others. Knowing what you’re speaking about is one thing, doing so effectively is another. If you haven’t made the effort to know your audience you will struggle.
– Who are they really? Put yourself in their shoes. How much do they know about your topic already, how much do they want/need to know and why should they care?
– What’s so important to them? What do they need from you to make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different? What’s in it for them if they listen to you?
– What’s their current level of interest, support or resistance for what you have to share. What could stop them from embracing your message?
– What do you want them to do with your message, information and insights?
– What do you want them to feel emotionally about your message, information and insights. How do they feel right now?
– How do they like to be presented to. Do they prefer lots of data, headlines or simple visuals? Do they need much information from you before you present? What are there expectations after you present?
How do you achieve all of this?
You have to ask them long before you begin to craft your presentation.
2. Leave your laptop alone
The foolproof route to a lackluster presentation is opening your laptop to begin populating slides with everything you know on the topic.
The canvass of high impact presenting looks very different; it starts with going analogue rather than digital.
Imagine creating 4 mindful levels of post it notes instead.
Absolute clarity of purpose:
– What’s your message? (written in a clear sentence)
– What do you want your audience to think about it? ( written in a sentence)
– What do you want your audience to feel about it? ( written in a word other than informed, interested or engaged)
– What do you want your audience to do with it? (in the form of an action or behaviour which will enhance their professional or personal life)
Supporting your message factually with highly relevant and compelling:
– Case studies
Bringing your message to life emotionally with appropriate:
– Metaphors, anecdotes
– Thought provoking questions
Create a clear image in their minds of what the future will look like for them if they embrace and act on your ideas.
3. Think like a ‘Tweet’
I wrote about this several years ago in an article called 5 things your audience want from you. The sentiment is just as important today as it was then.
‘The jewel in the crown of high impact presenting is a simple, clear and compelling message. Without a clear and powerful message, a presentation will quickly be forgotten. If it’s simply information which could easily be sent out in the form of an email it’s doing your audience a huge disservice calling them all together in the same room.
What would you like them to ‘tweet’ to the rest of their department, the company, or even the world when they leave your presentation?
If you don’t know, you can be certain they won’t either. A presentation without a clear, personal and powerful message is like a sandwich without any filling; its dry, boring and you are highly unlikely to want another.
Whilst they aren’t business presentations of course as I looked at my Twitter feed whilst writing this article the top 5 messages were:
‘Our Lloyds scholars programme offers unique financial and support packages for young people’ — LBG News
‘Today’s key question — how well do you separate the person from the performance?’ — Tony Richards
‘Facts in speeches must be correct. Mistakes will destroy your credibility’ — Andy O’Sullivan
‘It’s time to stop making excuses and start bringing in-person social skills to the digital world’ — Ted Rubin
‘ One reason diversity is a divider? We don’t see beyond the obvious. Asking deeper questions brings a more human experience’ — Shainul Kassam’
4. Keep it simple
High impact presenting starts with a very straightforward principle; simplicity is the key to getting your point across.
We have all sat through long winded, jargon based, rambling presentations. Not only do we find such presentations difficult to follow, they leave us dreading future presentations.
– Strip your idea to its core
– Keep your language simple
– Keep your slides simple
– Have a clear and simple aim
– Follow a simple outline
– Make it easy for your audience to follow you
– Don’t make them work too hard
– Keep it short
If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
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