Magazine article New Zealand Management

Presentations with Impact: Technologies and Techniques to Supercharge Your Business Messages

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Presentations with Impact: Technologies and Techniques to Supercharge Your Business Messages

Article excerpt

How can you present organisational information more effectively? Step out and embrace leading-edge technology by all means, but remember, the basic techniques of delivery are just as important.

I always get a little nervous before a business presentation--even though I'm not the one doing the presenting! It's just human nature to want the presenter to do well unless, perhaps, it's somebody in line for your job. But most of us identify with the microphone holder and think good thoughts.

We also feel short-changed when an eagerly anticipated presentation turns to custard. After all, it is usually the result of poor preparation or the inappropriate application of technology--both entirely avoidable. We come away from the event feeling cheated, and wondering exactly what it was we missed. As for the technology, it's either a case of too much or too little.

How's your technique?

Thinking outside the square is the key to innovative and effective presentations. Sandy Hollis of Rogen International believes that rather than start with the standard default PowerPoint program or flipchart, consider the presentation's objective and the audience's expectations. Then apply the most appropriate method of delivery--whether it be cd-rom, video, web-casting, interactive whiteboard, or whatever.

"People have become more discerning about their use of PowerPoint, preferring to keep it simpler and cleaner. They are not being afraid to add in other types of visual aids. It's about finding the best way to visualise a message or concept. PowerPoint has been over-used and can often be dead boring," says Hollis. "Whatever technology you apply should be there simply to support what you are saying, not to drive the whole process."

The key to successful presentations is to remember that it's all about conducting a conversation with each individual audience member.

"A presentation is more than a performance. It's about buying trust and credibility," she adds. "Besides, people will always see past the slickness."

Top 10 'can't fail' tips

Management has compiled the following 10 'can't fail' tips for presentation success with help from New Zealand's leading presentation experts:

1. Know your audience and its expectations--focus on the objective and what you can do for them.

2. Have the right information on hand--appropriate evidence will help build trust.

3. Make direct eye contact with listeners--it lets them see that their attention matters to you. Don't talk to the screen, talk to the audience.

4. Use planned movements and gestures--gestures are a visual aid that helps make your presentation more dynamic and interesting.

5. Be time efficient--remember 'less is more', surprise your audience with an uncluttered, succinct presentation that meets everyone's objectives.

6. Find creative ways to involve your audience--get them talking or doing things at appropriate points in the presentation.

7. Get feedback from a trusted friend, colleague or mentor on your style, voice, dress, presentation structure, and body language--then you can fine-tune your performance.

8. Anticipate potential audience questions, and be ready with the right answers.

9. Arrive early to set up any presentation equipment and always have a back-up plan should the equipment fail.

10. Prepare, prepare, prepare and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Remember, if something goes wrong it's better to admit it openly and carry on. Your audience will understand and the honesty will help cement the trust factor.

It is normal to be nervous before a presentation. However, John Mawdsley, Active Training's facilitator and communication coach, believes that practice is a good cure for butterflies. "Get used to getting on your feet and talking to people," he says. "Organisations such as toastmasters provide that opportunity. …

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