Have you ever seen a presentation that blew you away? Maybe someone in your class made a brilliant powerpoint this semester or you were lucky enough to attend a conference with an amazing speaker during your first year in your current role.
Either way, something from the presentation probably stuck with you. There could have been a significant piece of data mentioned that you still remember or a wise word of advice you've been using to this day.
It may feel like such presentations are hard to come by, but in reality, you have the potential to give just as good - if not a better - presentation. Seriously, it all comes down to the proper preparation and the right delivery!
Here's everything you need to know about how to give a killer presentation.
Take Plenty of Time to Prepare
Just like anything else in life, you have to work hard to master presentations techniques. Even if you think public speaking comes naturally, fine-tuning your skills wouldn't hurt. Begin improving your presentations as a whole by changing the way you prepare.
The following are three things you have to do to set yourself up for success.
Know Your Audience
You could give the best speech in the entire world, but if it doesn't relate to your audience, it's not a good presentation. You have to know who you're speaking to.
Think about the difference between talking to your parents and the way you carry a conversation with your best friend. You probably approach each conversation with a certain kind of body language and form of speaking. The differences between presenting to a small panel versus a large crowd work in a similar way, as does addressing young college students versus elementary schoolers or business owners.
Every audience has a personality. They have a clear set of values and a unique way of thinking. Tap into this to truly give a great presentation.
Create a Stunning Presentation
Once you know who you're speaking to, think about what you really want to say. Set a clear goal for the presentation, a reason for your being there and what you want people to take away from it. Then, create a story around that.
The story is critical to the strength of the presentation. If your aim is to make a sales pitch or do some sort of recruiting, for example, you have to talk about value and purpose, not prices or sign-up sheets. The latter are just means to an end, the former is the reason people will act on what you're saying in the first place.
After the story is clear in your mind, you have to make it come to life. Find the best presentation software out there and use it for all of your upcoming speaking events.
Make sure each slide is eye-catching and memorable to keep the audience's attention from start to finish. You can do this with custom graphics or sentences with bold wording. When in doubt, though, go with the less is more rule; you don't want people to focus so much on the slides that they stop listening to what you're saying.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The final piece of preparation is practice. Creating a beautiful presentation is one thing, but delivering it well is another. Delivery depends on how often you practice.
The more you go through each slide and think about what you're going to say and move around the room, the more natural the presentation will come across when it's show time. Practicing turns a huge presentation into somewhat of a conversation, just one that you carry from a stage in front of many people.
Plus, it gets rid of any lingering jitters you may be trying to shake.
How can you have such a formal, lengthy dialogue with an entire audience? With confidence, of course. As you're working on what you want to say and when to click through slides, build your confidence, too.
This will improve your body language and minimize stutters or misspoken words. Confidence puts a certain kind of power behind everything you say. It adds value to the whole presentation because it's the final touch to all the presentation skill tips you've been working on.
Be careful of being cocky, though. You want to find the balance between not enough confidence and having too much.
For example, know when to pause for emphasis but also be aware of when your pauses are holding up the presentation. Speak with just enough volume without yelling at your audience or straining your voice. More importantly, don't take yourself too seriously - have a little fun with your presentation, regardless of whatever it's about.
Save Room for Questions and Comments
As much as preparation and confidence make you look good and sound smart, you have to do one more thing for your audience: let them ask questions. At the end of the day, you're here to provide value to them.
Questions make audience members feel heard, valued, and important. They open discussion on things you didn't have time to cover during the actual presentation and help shed light on what other people in the room may be wondering. Not to mention, there may be one or two bright questions that you can use as feedback to improve future presentations.
How to Give a Killer Presentation: Relax!
If you've done all the things above, there's no need to worry about how to give a killer presentation. The right preparations, a good story, and a little bit of confidence will go a long way. Combine this with some extra time at the end to get all the words out and answer any questions, and you're good to go.
All that's left is to actually do the presentation! If you want to be absolutely sure you're as best prepared as possible, check out all the other presentation tips we have on our blog.