4 tips to avoid delivering a boring work presentation13 Nov 2018
No matter how important the information in the presentation you have to give is, if the delivery is putting audience members to sleep, you've got a problem. With a little communication skills training, you'll never give a dull presentation again.
Thankfully, it doesn't have to take much to make a presentation interesting. Here are my top four effective presentation tips to keep your next one from being boring.
Don't be afraid to jazz it up
If there's one thing I find can kill engagement in a presentation it's being too conservative with how you deliver the information. You need to think about not only what you need to communicate but how you can do so in an interesting way. Some things are best explained simply with words, but others might do better with a video, an image, an infographic or even drawings on a whiteboard. Anything that can make the crucial information more engaging, you shouldn't be afraid to use.
Talk to your audience, not at them
When you talk to a single person face-to-face, you don't just speak in their direction and be done with it – you engage them in what you're saying by making eye contact, by gesturing, by varying the speed and pitch of what you say.
It's no different when you're talking to a whole group of people. Just because you're speaking to more than one person it doesn't mean you have to turn into a robot and not speak to them like you would a single person. I find a good strategy is to pretend you're talking to one person at a time – look them in the eye, speak to them for a moment and then move onto the next person. Presenting with confidence then becomes easy, because all you need to do is talk as you would to somebody on their own.
Use a slideshow where necessary – but sparingly
Slideshows sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to delivering engaging presentations.
Slideshows sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to delivering engaging presentations. When used poorly, that negative reputation is deserved. If you just slap some slides up the wall and read from them, you're going to lose people fast – they can read much faster than you can speak, so they're just going to read ahead and tune out until the next slide comes. When used well, however, slideshows can be a great complement to what you're saying, but that's primarily what they should be – complements.
That said, this is going to depend on the kind of presentation you're doing. For something numbers heavy, deeply analytical and highly complex, a denser slideshow may be needed. But if what you're presenting can be adequately expressed in words with only a few supporting images or graphs, a minimalist slideshow is the way to go.
Remember KISS and PPPPP
KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. The idea is to always present things in their simplest form possible without losing any of the necessary meaning. Communicating with impact requires you cutting anything that's not required in favour of understanding what needs to be understood.
PPPPP is the less memorable and catchy of the two acronyms but its meaning is no less important – proper preparation prevents poor performance. Without preparing what you have to say, it can be difficult to keep it simple, because, perhaps ironically, presenting complex information in a simple way without losing meaning is actually quite difficult and requires a fair amount of preparation. It's difficult to KISS without proper preparation – so always give yourself plenty of time to work out exactly what you're doing to say.
To learn more about how the team at ICML can help you sharpen your communication skills, get in touch today.