We live in a world where the people who can make compelling presentations are highly valuable. You might not think you are called on to be a presenter, but the truth is you have to present a case for yourself every time you speak up at a meeting, have a job interview or pitch a product to your clients. Your ability to make presentations will help you become a more effective marketer for your business as a whole.
If you follow these tips, you can present things and get people to change. Making presentations isn’t really about great information or quality content. It’s a question of getting your message to really resonate and stick with an audience. Having something important to talk about is necessary, but not enough. Perfecting your presentation is what can really change people’s perspective.
Here are the three keys to a successful presentation:
1. 90% of Presentation is Preparation
The truth is that 90% of the presentation’s success happens before you get in front of your audience. If you want to have a successful presentation or sales pitch, you’ve got to be willing to spend time preparing exactly what you want to say. That means figuring out the structure of your presentation, what your key points are and most importantly, actually practicing the way you present yourself.
While this point is straightforward in theory, how many people really take the time to practice their presentations out loud before they give them? Did you practice for your last job interview with a friend? Have you tried recording a video of you practicing a sales pitch and analyzed your body language to figure out how to improve your communication?
2) It’s Not About You, It’s About Us
When you present, you have to understand your presentation isn’t about you, but rather, about us. Practice recording the presentation, then count the amount of times you say “we” or “I.” The truth is, as the audience, we don’t care about you or your company. Your story only matters to the point where we can learn what it means for us. How does your message change us?
Speak to your audience. Tell us how your message can change us and our status quo for the better. A helpful practice: For every slide of your presentation and every assertion, put yourself in the audience’s shoes, and ask—“So what?” If your assertion doesn’t respond to that candid objection, cut that point out.
3) Tell Us A Story, Not What To Do
Public speaker and entrepreneur Seth Godin has some advice applicable to all who want to learn to present better: Persuade, don’t convince.
What’s the key distinction? When you try to convince someone, you appeal to their logical, calculating side—the side that doesn’t make the decisions. When you persuade, you speak to an audience’s emotions, dreams and fears. The power of persuasion speaks to what really motivates us and causes us to take action. Plus, stories are simply entertaining.
And the best way to persuade is to tell stories. People are constantly crafting narratives from the experiences of their lives; it’s just the way we’re hardwired. And in order to create an engaging, persuasive presentation—instead of just a convincing one—you need to hone your storytelling ability.
Once you’ve done the intense preparation, truly focused your appeal on the audience instead of your own motivations and worked to create compelling stories, that’s when your presentations will truly shine. You’ll be able not just to communicate information, but actually change the way your listeners view the world.