Master effective presentations: the ultimate tips

July 19, 2016 | by Esteban Hernandez

In Sales

It doesn’t matter if you are a sales person, a tech leader, a marketer or a developer.  There will come a time in your professional career when you have to give talks, presentations or even present at conferences. This brings us to a very important question: how to master effective presentations?

Become an outstanding speaker and engage your audience

I want to give you 5 tips for you to master your presentation.  Follow this quick outline, and it will be a huge success. Here we go:

1. Planning is important

There are different types of presentations that serve different purposes.  Three types are: courses, conferences, or corporate presentations. Each one has different objectives, and you can start planning from there. At this point forget about software, take a paper and pencil, and start by defining two main objectives. Think about a striking opening and make sure you plan ahead your closure.

The base to master effective presentations is planning.

2. Make sure to use compelling content

We sometimes start preparing slides without even having a content structure.  Stop doing that. Steer clear from monotony.  Do not ever ever fall into monotony.  This could make your listeners to lose focus. I recommend establishing and writing your title at the very end once you have all of your content.  The title should encompass what your presentation is all about. 

3. Your verbal expression and audiovisual materials should be on point

Keep it simple!  You don’t need a slide full of text to communicate what you want. A great example of audiovisual rich slides are Steve Jobs’ presentations.  He only uses a single image and a simple design. I like to say that using “Twitter-style titles” is a must. What do I mean by that? Less is more!  Use as few words in your audiovisual materials as possible; like you are measuring out your tweets.

If you are going to use specific data, tables or charts make them look appealing for the viewers. Use bright colors, a lot of different figures, big numbers, and interesting information for your listeners to understand the theme better.

A quick design tip is to use contrasting colors.  It would not matter if there’s a lot of light or a little in the location, or if the projector is not well calibrated. Your text will always be legible.

Julia White mastering a presentation at Microsoft Mobile World Congress

4. Public persuasion should definitely be there

This may be the most difficult challenge.  Persuading an audience is certainly not as simple as some may think. But, there are some tools and aspects you can exploit to reach that goal. Always take into account the type of audience you are talking to.  It is not the same to talk to a group of students as it is to talk to business leaders

Just like singers, your voice is your instrument when delivering a presentation. Make your voice dynamic and make changes to your volume, intonation and rhythm. Also, use superlatives and diminutives when necessary.

5. Own the stage and deliver the message

The way you move in the stage is also really important. Being at the center and in front of the stage denotes more power and conviction. Remember to use both brain hemispheres of your audience to cause a positive influence. If there are cameras filming, do some tests before your talk to make sure you will be on screen all the time.

I just have to say one more thing before leaving.  Improvisation is not an option in this case. In order for your presentation to have high impact, you have to practice, and practice, and practice one more time.