Ben is National Head of Sales for Lux Group’s Experiences vertical, and has over 20 years of business and sales experience. He is also a regular coach, consultant and guest speaker, so presenting is a regular part of his job.
Here, Ben shares his key points on how to give a killer presentation.
1. WOW from the start
The best way to quickly create presence is by opening with impact, and ensuring you grab your audience’s attention from the start. Use rich images, funny videos or inspiring music to help introduce your story. Be brief, relevant and – most importantly – bold.
2. Pre-frame the structure
Tell your audience what your presentation will cover by quickly introducing the topic and points you are going to talk about. By establishing the expectation up front, you will have an engaged audience from the get go, ready to hear you delve into the topic.
3. Use your energy to inspire
Use your energy and motion to create emotion – by presenting with gusto, you will quickly receive engagement and passion in return. If you are feeling flat or anxious leading up to the presentation, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water. Just before your presentation, have some fruit and drink some electrolytes. Some light exercise or a brisk walk will also help to get the endorphins working and settle the nerves.
4. Know your audience
Be respectful of the time your audience is offering you by giving them a presentation worth their while. So ask yourself; who is your audience, what do they want to hear and why should they believe you? Your presentation is all about them, so make it as relevant as possible for them. If possible, try to speak with as many people as you can before the presentation. This will quickly help you build rapport with the audience and refer back to them if needed.
5. Make sure you’re seen and heard
You would be surprised by how many presentations I’ve attended where I couldn’t hear the speaker. This is an immediate failure, and lack of engagement from the audience is guaranteed. If you can, practise in the area where you are holding the presentation beforehand and don’t forget to get someone to stand at the back to ensure they can hear you.
If using slides, you might be tempted to turn your back to the audience throughout the whole presentation, but don’t! Ideally, have the screen mirrored in front of you so you are facing the audience face-on the whole time – this will make you feel more present to the audience.
6. Body language, tone and pausing
Your body language and tone should match what you are presenting. For example, if you want to get your audience excited, shift your stance, increase your hand movements, pace and rhythm. If you want to make a statement, you may want to take a seat, lower your voice, soften your tone and slowly say it for maximum impact. Don’t forget the power of pause! Pausing shows you are in control and allows the audience to digest the information, and it also gives you the chance to think of what you are about to say next, reduce your nerves through breathing and is a great substitute for ums/ahs and other fill words.
7. Practice, practice and practice
A very good friend of mine, who does a lot of public speaking, once said to me you need to know your content inside out, and if you don’t, practice it at least 17.5 times. As odd as a number as that is, it actually works! So get in front of a mirror and practice. Ask family, friends and/or colleagues if you can run it by them. The act of simply talking the content through with them, makes you think out the flow and gets you even more confident.