THE ART OF PRESENTATION

Presentation is communicating, influencing, persuading and the selling of ideas, wants, needs, and benefits. I have met a lot of people who hated selling for one reason or another. If you are one of those people, let me give you a piece of sound advice. "You will always work for the person that loves selling, because selling is one of the keys to staying in business." There are only three things that a sales presentation is designed to do:

aInform,
bEntertain or
cGet favourable action

You must present or sell your ideas, needs, wants, and desires to your friends, employer, and others, in an honest way if you are to be taken seriously. Here are some tips to assist you with all your presentations:

Presentation Skills

Planning and Preparation
Resources
Enemies
Structure and Delivery
Evaluation
Nonverbal Communication
TRACT (question and answer)
Assertive Behaviour
Technique
Interpersonal and Personal Skills
Objectives
Needs of Audience
Style

Planning and Preparation

If you are to be effective, you must prepare your presentation and rehearse it well in advance. Anticipate all possible questions and have several answers ready. If you fail to plan, then you have planned to fail. Therefore:

aDecide why you are giving this presentation.
bKnow your audience.
cKnow where you will be presenting it.
dResearch and know your facts.
ePrepare what you are going to present.
fPrepare your notes.
gMemorise your introduction.
hKnow how you will present it.
iRehearse your presentation to perfect it.
 jAnticipate mishaps.

Resources

There are many helpful resources on the market to assist you to make that winning presentation. Consider use of:

aTV and video.
bOverhead projector.
cWhite board.
dLayout of tables and chairs.
eLectern.
fTotal room layout.
gTestimonies of others.
hComputer aided multimedia projection.
iHandouts.


Enemies

If you do not know your enemies, you will not be able to defeat them. The following enemies must be identified and conquered if you are to be an effective presenter:

aLack of researchgNervousness and fear
bUnclear objectiveshMental block
cPoor communicationiLack of preparation
dDifficult peoplejInsufficient information
ePoor structure & deliverykNegative body language
fPoor product knowledgelLack of resources

Structure and Delivery

If you do not follow a specific structure as you make your delivery, your audience will have a difficult time keeping up with you. One of the most simple and effective structures for any type of presentation is: beginning, middle and end.

Beginning

At the beginning of your presentation, you must arouse the interest of your audience and find out what needs they have. Let them know how long the presentation will last and give them an idea as to when they can respond with questions or comments. Finally, agree the objectives with your audience and from the beginning make sure that your audience gets onto the right plane. After all, you do not want to take your audience to America, when they may want to go to the West Indies. I have used the following memory aid, INTRO to remind myself of how to begin all presentations:

Interest
Need
Timing
Response
Objective

Middle

This is the main part of your presentation, and it must follow a logical path that is easy for your audience to understand. Highlight to your audience the overall situation, convince and sway them to your way of thinking. Show them possible alternatives and finally, make your recommendation.

Situation
Convince
Alternatives
Recommendation

End

The close of your presentation is as important as the beginning or the middle, therefore you must plan to close effectively:

a Highlight key points of your presentation.
bGive handouts.
cEvaluate.
dThank audience.
eClose presentation.

Evaluation

At the end of your presentation, ask yourself the following questions:

aHow effective was my presentation?
bHave I achieved my objectives?
cWhat were my strengths and weaknesses?
dHow appropriate was my planning and preparation?
eWhat have I learnt not to do the next time?

Nonverbal Communication

By nonverbal I mean the ability to communicate to others without the necessary use of words. Make sure that your mouth, appearance, gesture, posture, voice, and eyes assist and not hinder your presentation.

Your nonverbal communication skills must also be considered, in all the four life positions. Do you display characteristics of a passive, aggressive, paralysed, or assertive person? When your mouth is in action, what impression does your face give? Are you smiling or is your jaw too tight or relaxed? Always check your appearance in a mirror and ask yourself, "What impression do I give dressed this way?"

Does the movement of my body, especially my hands, support what I am saying? Is my posture straight, upright or am I slouched, too near, too far, slumped, or higher or lower than the other person? Do I mumble, complain, criticise, beat around the bush, or do I get straight to the point, clearly, directly, and specifically? Is my tone acceptable with the right accent and volume? Finally, am I able to look confidently into other people's eyes, or must I turn away and gaze at the ceiling, floor, or other objects? Be wise, support what you say by how you say it.

Mouth
Appearance
Gesture
Posture
Voice
Eyes

TRACT (question and answer)

Throughout your presentation you may be asking and answering questions. Always thank the person for asking the question, then rephrase the question in your own words to confirm you fully understand. Once you are satisfied that you understand the question, give an answer and check that they understand your reply. Finally, thank the person again for asking the question or for making a comment.

Thank
Rephrase to confirm understanding
Answer the question
Check understanding
Thank person for asking question again

Assertiveness Behaviour

aBe honest with yourself and others.
bBe confident, positive, and understanding.
cDo to others as you would have them do to you.
dState your needs, wants, feelings, opinions, or beliefs in a clear, direct, specific, honest and suitable way and not at the expense of others.

Techniques

There are many techniques available to make your presentation unbeatable and unforgettable, here are a few:

a Be natural and open.
bGain eye contact with most or all your audience.
cExplain jargon.
dDon't mumble.
eDon't use big words and long sentences.
fParagraph your presentation.
gUse pictures, charts, and graphs.
hUse different colours.
iGive handouts where appropriate.
jTell stories.
kRole play.

Interpersonal and Personal Skills

One of the most powerful breakthroughs in selling is that customers purchase more from people they like. You must be a lover of people and develop the following attributes:

aCommunication.
bListening skills.
cNegotiation.
dSpeaking.
ePersuasiveness and influence.
fSensitivity.
gCourtesy.
hPositive attitude and behaviour.
iWarmth and good humour.
jAssertiveness.

Objectives

A presentation without a clearly defined objective can be a disaster, therefore:

aClearly define your objectives by asking yourself, why am I making this presentation?
bWhat is it that the audience wants or needs?
cStick to the objectives throughout the whole presentation.
dSell success, results, needs, and desires.

Needs of Audience

The more your audience is involved with your presentation the more successful you will be, therefore:

aLet your audience participate in the presentation.
bListen to your audience and communicate effectively.
cBe sensitive to the needs of your audience.
dBe empathic - putting yourself in the audience’s position.

Style

You are unique in your own identity because there is not another like you anywhere in the universe, therefore:

 aYou do not have to imitate other people's style.
 bDevelop your own style.

PRESENTATION MASTER TIPS

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Picture yourself enjoying the success of your presentation.
3. Maintain eye contact and address your audience as individuals rather than as a group of people.
4. In your conclusion, highlight the key points that you want your audience to remember - what is said last is always remembered first.
5. Put your presentation on paper - it helps to clarify your thinking.
6.Research other people’s thoughts and ideas on the subject that you are presenting.
7. You learn to make presentations by making presentations, just as you learn to play the flute by playing the flute.
8. If (O) opportunity, (P) positive action, (E) excitement and (N) enthusiasm is not in your presentation, don't go ahead.
9. Know your facts and have notes.
10. Use short words, short sentences, and avoid jargon.
11.Never exceed your time limit.
12. Remove objects that rattle.
13. Always check your appearance before you start.
14. Always have a handkerchief and glass of water to hand.
15. Check and secure all visual aids and supporting equipment.
16. Those who fail to plan, have planned to fail.
17. Always review at the end of your presentation.
18. Tell yourself that you are the best and that you love presenting.
19. Smile where necessary.
20. Help others.
Errol A Williams©

 

About The Author

Errol A Williams

I am an International Management Trainer with over 36 years’ experience. I have trained thousands of directors, managers, leaders, supervisors, and unemployed people. My passion is to coach one million students to unleash their unlimited potential through personal growth. I was co-founder and Executive Chairman for one of Europe’s largest multi-million pound community complexes, launched by HRH the Prince of Wales in 1988. For over 25 years I have visited, counselled, and ran training courses for UK prisoners. Currently I am a Senior Pastor and Regional Overseer who sits on the National Executive Board for the Church of God of Prophecy UK Trust. I have taught Systematic Theology for over ten years. I am married and have six children and six grandchildren. I am the author of “Pursuing Excellence”, “The Temptation Trap”, “Sowing For A Blessing”, “TIPS For Dealing With Difficult Conversations” and “Building A Dream”. During the 2010 general election I stood as a Parliamentary Candidate. I am a professional photographer, graphics designer, virtual services provider, and web developer. My hobbies include chess, squash, backgammon, and domino. errol@errolwilliams.org (My Profile)

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