You have developed a killer presentation. You’ve practiced the delivery and know your material. You have prepared for questions that might arise. You are ready to go! Or so you think…
Don’t let all of this preparation go to waste! Consider these 5 tips to avoid undermining your presentation before you utter the first word:
- How are you? Yes, I mean how are YOU, really? You may be nervous, but have you stacked the physical deck in your favor? Did you get a good night’s sleep? Did you eat, even a food bar or a protein shake, to give your body something to run on? Be sure to drink plenty of water before your presentation so you aren’t dehydrated. You’ll be much better equipped to handle the stress of presenting and think on your feet if you are physically prepared.
- What about your attire? Are you presenting your best self? Are your attendees going to take you seriously based on what you’re wearing? Are you dressed appropriately? Usually dressing one notch above your audience is the recommended baseline. You know your audience and don’t want your attire to diminish what you have to say before you even open your mouth.
- Have you ever arrived to a meeting and the presenter is up in front of the room frantically trying to get the technology hooked up so the slides appear? They don’t even greet you as you enter. They are totally engrossed in the task at hand and ignoring their audience. How do you feel when you enter a room with a presenter in this situation? That’s right, you think they are unprepared, they usually are frazzled and therefore appear to lack confidence, they are apologizing for starting late, etc. This negatively impacts their message no matter how great it might be. We can avoid the same trap by always arriving early to set up technology; earlier than you think you need to because Murphy lives there and he always shows up!
- If Murphy decides to attend your presentation and technology won’t cooperate, do you have a back-up plan? If you’ve brought a copy of your presentation on a thumb drive, you can borrow a computer. Or if all is lost, you can use a paper copy of your slides (which you have brought with you J) to deliver your points or get a few extra copies of critical data slides made on the fly for your attendees. The show must still go on and you will appear the ultimate professional if you have a plan to accommodate technology missteps.
- Be ready to welcome the attendees. Nothing sets you up for success like being calm and composed as you greet your attendees at the door. They feel valued when you take the time to be present to them before your presentation and you appear confident, no matter how many butterflies you have! Obviously, this is not practical with a large number of attendees, but for a majority of the presentations we see, individual attention is a viable option. A simple brief greeting (i.e. good morning, good afternoon) with a firm handshake and a smile conveys that you are glad to see them and ready to deliver a great presentation.
Following these steps combined with your thorough presentation prep will give you the best chance to deliver that killer presentation and have your audience ready to hear it! Try it out at your next meeting and let me know how it goes! I would love to hear your stories.