Working with large financial institutions and global real estate companies in the past, we were fortunate to have attended several courses and training work shops on presentations and pitches. Here are top 5 favourites:
1. First impression is last impression
The first 30 seconds of any presentation are critical. During this brief period, your audience decides whether they will pay attention to you. If you say the right things, you will captivate them. If you meander and do not make clear what you will be enthusiastically talking about, your listeners’ attention will stray and they’ll look for the nearest door.
Keep your introduction short.
Start the presentation by telling an interesting story or making a dramatic statement you then expound upon. Develop suspense.
2. Capture Imagination
Human beings are primarily visual, and tend to remember images 60,000 times more often than words. People also are 22 times more likely to recall recited facts when those facts reside within a story. Presenters who create their own material need to be good visual storytellers. To develop this skill, try to write a screenplay – a form of storytelling that incorporates evocative visual descriptions, dialogue and action. If you present it correctly, your audience will be able to see, taste and feel the subject you’re discussing. Any successful presentation features at least one visual anecdote.
Know your audience.
If your listeners are accustomed to consuming data, visual storytelling may be less powerful than showing, say, a bar graph. If the audience is not as data-dependent, storytelling may be best. Avoid giving too much unneeded information, which is distracting.
3. Be Brief
Any long-winded presentation makes your audience tune out. Be conscious of time. Rehearse to know how long your presentation lasts and where it needs cutting. If you are going to allow audience questions, allocate one-third of your speaking time for Q&A.
Silence may be a presenter’s most powerful communications tool.
Most speakers talk quickly and do not pause.
Slowing down gets the audience’s attention and makes you appear more confident and engaged, while allowing you to present your ideas more clearly.
4. Body language
Use body language to convey conviction. Some of the common tips are: Stand with your shoulders pulled back.
Hold your forearms and upper arms at a 90-degree angle.
If you’re standing but not using your hands, hold them waist high with the fingers touching. Don’t make distracting hand movements. Stand on the balls of your feet, so your weight is leaning forward and you are slightly tilting toward the audience. Poses to avoid include holding your hands behind your back, crossing your arms in front of your chest, standing with your arms down at your sides, and putting your hands on your hips or in your pockets.
5. Be yourself
In conversation, show genuine interest in what the other person says. If you listen to someone else, they attentively listen to and absorb what you say. This rapport allows you to develop questions and responses that keep the conversation going. Genuine curiosity about what another person says spurs empathy. Show your curiosity by listening for a piece of information that begs for further elaboration. Don’t talk about yourself or dominate a conversation by telling stories without regard for the interests of others.
Finally, dress well and show confidence!