Dale Carnegie said, “there are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” To ensure that your next presentation lands just the way you intend, careful preparation is a must.
One of the many topics Accelerate Institute trainers cover in our Essential Presentation Skills module is presentation design and preparation. Here are a few simple tips:
- Research your audience. Knowing the size and demographics of your crowd will help you build a custom message that will be better understood and accepted. This may also help you anticipate potential questions from listeners.
- Prepare your call to action. A presentation should drive behavior and choice, not simply dump information into the minds of your audience. What is the end result you hope to achieve? What do you want your listeners to do with the information you share?
- Bullets not paragraphs. When writing an outline or speech notes, avoid defining what you will say word-for-word (except when technical accuracy is critical). By writing in simple phrases or bullets you will help protect yourself from “memory freeze” in front of the audience.
- Practice like you play. When practicing a presentation, act as if you are really standing before your listeners. Don’t stop and start over if you make a mistake – what would your real reaction be if the audience could see you?
Presentations are a very intimidating task for many professionals. But, with proper preparation and practice you can reduce the anxiety and increase the impact of your next presentation.