How to improve your presentations

It’s the big industry conference or business pitch and you’re worried your voice will tremble, your jokes will fall flat or the audience will nod off. Those who attend our top-flight presentation training courses emerge energised, sparkling and ready to knock ’em sideways. We also carry out specialist one-on-one coaching with senior executives who have specific presentations coming up, to ensure both content and delivery are tip-top. Here are just three of our trainers’ tips.

1 Know your audience

Don’t just think about what you want to say—put yourself in their shoes and think about what they will be interested in hearing. Don’t assume knowledge—if the group is mixed, try to bring everyone up to speed by including a mixture of old and new facts. Anticipate any areas of conflict or disagreement and try to ensure you have dealt with these, reassuring where necessary.

2 Have a clear structure

Three key points to illustrate your theme is ideal, with a strong beginning and ending—we remember most what we hear first and last. Give the audience a map—explain the point of your presentation, give them indications to where you are going and how you are going to get there.

3 Visual aids

Visual aids sometimes hinder instead of help. Slides should be kept simple, not jam-packed with information, complicated diagrams and bullet points. It’s amazing how often peoples’ words appear not to match what is on the slides. The audience is trying to work out which point the presenter has reached and ends up confused, remembering none of it.