5 tips for authentic presentations

public speaking

Have you ever been delivering a presentation and noticed your audience losing interest or their body language showing they don’t get it? Maybe you have just felt that what you were delivering was not something you believed in or just did not sound right to your own ears.

Now imagine delivering a presentation where your audience is fully engaged and you feel great, as you know you have delivered a truly captivating presentation. We have all seen someone deliver a presentation like this and we wonder what is their secret.

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The first thing to understand is that there is only one secret to delivering a great presentation and that is to believe in yourself and be yourself.

Ok, sounds simple enough but how do you create enough confidence in your own skills and abilities to present with total assurance? Start with reminding yourself that you are in charge of your own presentation destiny. You decide:

• What you will say
• What tools you will use
• How it will be delivered

You are also always in charge of your mindset, so take a moment before you begin your presentation to engage in some positive self talk.

I suggest selecting 3 things you want to be during your presentation and make it your personal mantra, such as Calm, Clear, Confident. Then pause, take a breath, and only start when you are ready.Your story is what makes you interesting. So be true to yourself and others will be drawn to you

Now for the important preparation, so what are 5 great tips to increase your authenticity and impact?

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1. Your slides are NOT your notes. That means less is more on your slide. In fact use more pictures and short bullet points that highlight what you are saying. That way you are in control of your slides not them of you. There is nothing that tells the audience you’re unsure more than having a slide packed with information that you have to read. You lead and the slides follow.

2. Ask yourself if you really need slides? No matter what tool you’re using, begin with asking if slides are necessary and if they are use them …… sparingly. People are engaged by other people not the props, so if you have a good story to tell maybe you don’t even need a slide pack.

3. Don’t use language that is not in your everyday conversations, certainly don’t use buzzwords. Simpler is better in the world of presentations. When people talk in ways that they don’t normally they often trip up or show us they lack confidence. People who use big words to impress just do the opposite.

4. Prepare for the presentation sweet spot. That means you will need to practice, just don’t over practice. The risk of knowing your presentation too much is that if you make the smallest deviation or error from the script you may just crumble! Just practice enough that you understand and know what you have to say, but not too much that it sounds contrived. Ensure to leave room in your presentation for you to make spot changes or make a quick change. Be prepared, yet stay flexible and you will find the sweet spot.

5. Be yourself and tell your stories. People are always interested in the person and most importantly great presenters are confident with who they are and that is what makes them engaging. If you think of great orators they all deliver in a different way, often with a personal touch and a personal story. So you can too. Your delivery style is your style. Your story is what makes you interesting. So be true to yourself and others will be drawn to you.

So next time someone is referring to a great presentation they went to, maybe just maybe they will be talking about the one you delivered. You will be that someone who made an impact and delivered an authentic presentation. And if you deliver with these tips in mind maybe you will be saying that about yourself too.

photo credit: jdlasica via photopin cc

Sarah Derry
Sarah Derry
Sarah is the principle of People Reaching Potential, an organisation which focuses on creating opportunities for organisations and individuals to reach their “full potential”. She has worked extensively in the hospitality and tourism industry and has developed expertise in coaching, learning and development, keynote speaking and recruiting the best. Prior to founding People Reaching Potential, she was the Regional Director of Human Resources for a large multi – national company. For more information on Sarah, please see www.peoplereachingpotential.com.au