Many of us have jobs where giving presentations or pitches – or at least sitting through them – is a regular occurrence. For the benefit and entertainment levels of all involved, why not make these presentations absolutely stand out? While mundane death-by-PowerPoint maybe be the status quo, imagine a world where your next pitch is something the room will not soon forget. It can happen. Here are the best ways.
In his recent article in Inc.com, “The Fireworks Principle: How To Improve Any Pitch, Presentation Or Meeting,” entrepreneur Josh Linker takes a page out of the consummate showman’s repertoire. The key as he sees it? Stop burying the good stuff in the middle and sandwiching it between requisitely boring introductions and conclusions. He notes,
“If you want to close the deal, win the investment, up-sell your clients, or delight your boss, put the most important stuff up front and at the end. If you start and end with a bang, you’ll captivate your audience at the start and leave them with a memorable conclusion. These are the places to insert your best material, bold vision, surprising conclusion, provocative stance, killer stat or gripping story.” – Josh Linker, Inc.com
Instead of turning to business experts, why not borrow more advice from the world where entertainment is king? In this article from PowToon.com, the styles of five great speakers: Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, and Steve Jobs are analyzed.
As evident by these comparisons, there are many ways in which to captivate an audience using a handful of tools. The ubiquitous slide show is merely one of them. When slides are called for, use these tips to ensure that there won’t heads nodding off during your presentation or grumbling later by the water cooler:
- One idea per slide
- Use minimal text
- Avoid bullet points
- Focus on telling a story that will engage your audience
- Use conversational tone and remain enthusiastic
- Use props and non-slide visual aids when possible
For a more in-depth look at using slides effectively, this article by Dustin Wax from LifeHack.com is helpful. If you like learning by example, Mashable.com has put together 8 slide presentations that demonstrate all of the techniques espoused above (and then some).
No matter your personal preferences or the nature of the material, these pointers can help you make your next presentation your best yet. Not a frequent presenter? Forward this on to someone who is, and maybe you’ll find sitting through it more relevant and enjoyable.