You’ve just scheduled a big presentation that could change the course of your career. Everything rests on this presentation, but your knees are shaking and your palms are sweaty already. To make sure you nail it, you need to take some time and study up on how to deliver a killer presentation.
Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or a complete newbie, you can benefit from business presentation tips and tricks. Refining your storytelling will help you win over clients and decision-makers, and it’s a vital skill to have in your arsenal.
Here, you will learn nine simple tips that will transform your business presentations.
1. Focus on One Goal
Many presenters make the mistake of gathering information and compiling it for a presentation first. Before you do anything like that, you should sit down and identify the purpose of the presentation. What is your primary goal?
For example, if you’re pitching a business case to your boss, write out the number-one benefit it will have on the business. When it comes down to it, that’s all your boss will care about. If you share this benefit at the top of your presentation, you can spend the rest of your time supporting it with relevant information.
The same goes for client presentations. Are you trying to persuade them to upsell, or do you want to spread awareness about an issue? Do you want to instruct them on a process or give them practical tips to help use your product?
Whatever the case, make sure you underline the goal you want to accomplish. Then, you can keep coming back to it throughout your presentation.
2. Create a Supporting Outline
Once you have a goal identified, you can begin building an outline. It may feel tempting to skip this step because you have an idea of what you will cover in your presentation, but an outline can help you stay concise.
You may have a dozen supporting ideas for your goal, but the purpose of an outline is to refine that list of ideas to the strongest and most compelling points. Ideally, you should focus on three main ideas that best support your primary objective.
With this structure in place, you can build a clear path forward for your presentation. Follow this step by step and you won’t feel lost about what to talk about next.
3. Write Out Your Talk Track
Customer presentations can feel intimidating because you only get one chance to impress them. The last thing you want to do is freeze up in the moment, forget your talking points, and ruin your first impression.
This is why you should write out a talk track or script for your presentation. If you’re a nervous public speaker, a talk track can help you feel more confident, because you can refer back to it while presenting.
Some presenters write out their script word for word, but you can also use bullet points to help your eye find its place when you glance at your talk track during the presentation.
4. Convert to Imagery
When writing out your talk track, you might think you can copy and paste it into your slides, but this is a rookie mistake. You shouldn’t read off your slides.
A visual aid should be exactly that: visual. Think about how you can convert your talking points to imagery. You should use graphs and charts to illustrate statistics, and you may even want to throw in a few memes to keep your audience engaged.
You should also keep the design and color combinations simple. Only use one to two photos per slide to reduce visual noise.
5. Conduct a Test Run
At this point, you should conduct a test run of your presentation. Book a small conference room or find a quiet space where you can talk out loud to yourself. Then, go through your entire presentation from start to finish.
A test run will help you work on your pacing, pronunciation, and speed. If you record yourself, you can listen back and take notes on your performance. Keep in mind that many presenters speak faster during the actual presentation, so add a few seconds to each slide to get a better idea of your timing.
6. Refine and Simplify
After practicing, it’s time to make your presentation as concise as possible. Go back and cut any excess words on slides. Remove unnecessary animations that take up too much time, and focus on clear text and visuals.
You can also add notes to your talk track, like when to include pauses or interact with the audience. Editing will help you deliver a focused presentation with no unnecessary frills.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
Presenting business and client presentations comes down to one thing: confidence. The only way to build confidence is by practicing.
Block off some time on your calendar to practice your speech. Go through the entire thing again, or divvy it up into sections. Remember to factor in things like making eye contact, which you can practice before the presentation.
Practice makes perfect. If you’re nervous about presenting, set aside a healthy amount of time for practice.
8. Add a Voice Over
Depending on certain circumstances, you may not have the opportunity to present in person. If you’re in this situation, you can add a PowerPoint voice over.
A voice over will ensure you don’t have any moments where you forget your next word or stutter. You can even hire a professional for an ultra-smooth voice track that will keep your listeners engaged throughout your presentation. It’s a great option that will showcase your ideas in high quality.
9. Share Your Presentation
Finally, you should always follow up with your audience after a presentation with a version they can view on their own. This will also prove useful for anyone who wasn’t present for your presentation.
You can export your presentation as a PDF, or you can create a client-friendly version. If you have particular points you want them to remember, add them in as notes for further context.
Effective Business Presentations Take Time to Build
These nine tips will help you create compelling business presentations. However, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to throw together a presentation, even if you know all these tips by heart. If you start early and take the time to build something incredible, your audience will recognize the effort.
Looking for more business tips and tricks? Check out the “Business Online” section of our site. You can learn about everything from the latest in digital marketing trends to how to build better relationships with coworkers.