3 TOP Tips to make your presentations SHINE

April 11, 2012

Business StorytellingJust last week I received an email that made me laugh out loud and go YES!  And no it wasn’t a joke from a friend.  It was from Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) announcing that they are banning the traditional use of PowerPoint-style presentations including such proven yawn inducers like bullet points, clip art, reading from the screen (that old chestnut) at their major conference to be held in Sydney.  Hats off to MEA!

So whether you are presenting with or without PowerPoint here are 3 top tips to make your next presentation shine. This can be summarized in just one-word connections.  People need to connect to you the person (not the presenter, not yet anyway); they need to feel you connect with them and they need to connect to your messages.

Getting your audience to connect with you first as a person, is the presentation equivalent of shaking hands when you meet someone. Just as you would never launch into business stuff before shaking hands, you would never launch into your presentation without getting the audience to connect with you first.  So can you begin with something personal, humble, even funny, that segues into your presentation? Keep it short, and never launch into your CV – that is boring.

How can you connect with your audience? One CEO coming into the company’s strategy session handled this one by saying ‘Even this morning when I was driving here I thought what not another strategy session, feels like we just had one a few weeks ago!’. He was echoing what a lot of people in the room where thinking and feeling – so even before you have started your formal presentation people connect to you, as a person and they feel you understand them …that you connect with them.

The next tip for all presenters is to get people to connect with your messages.

Just yesterday in my daughter’s school I was listening to a parenting expert who said you should have 3 non negotiables as a parent, because your kids can only remember 3 and any more will be hell for you as a parent!  The same rule applies to your presentation have only 3 key messages. 3 is all your audience can remember and anymore and it’s hell maybe not for you but definitely for them!  Some tough love here, no one is going to walk away from any presentation remembering what your 8 key messages were.

For each key message think of an anecdote, a story that would make it memorable.  People remember the story and through that they remember the point you were making.

So there you have it – to be a successful presenter with or without PowerPoint you need to get people to connect to you as a person first, you need to connect to the audience and you need the audience to connect to your messages, by having a maximum of 3 and using stories, anecdotes and humor to make your messages memorable.

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