Ok, you’ve been chosen to make that presentation for the new account pitch.
There’s going to be 12 people. How do you feel about it? Or you could be called up to address an audience of 400 people. Nervous?
Let’s face it, presentations are an essential part of any PR practitioner’s role. And this includes online presentations too. But it takes some fine-tuning and rehearsing to have a positive effect. Here are some valuable tips that might help:
The starting point when you walk into the room is take in the surroundings. Feel your own presence and that of your audience. Then set your intention that you’re going to make this happen. Move calmly and with purpose. You’re in control here remember. Give meaning to your gestures, like emphasizing a particular word or phrase. Also, use them to help you move around the stage. Once you’ve overcome the early jitters you could be on your way.
This is about telling your story, so the sections matter more than the detail. You need to focus on stringing the main parts of your story together with conviction and emotion. The devil is not in the detail in this case. Your sections, which carry the main messages, are what matters. And please keep on eye on the smooth transitioning from one section to another. Audiences love this.
Pauses have a power of their own. It’s better than using crutch words like ‘well’, ‘umm’, ‘you know; etc. Wean yourself away from the reliance on those words. Pauses work better and they create a sense of anticipation. Pause to make a vital point and emphasize key messages. It also gives your audience time to soak in what you’ve just said before.
When you walk on stage try and scan sections of the audiences. If it’s a smaller room, make eye contact with certain people. This sets your intent and invites them to engage with you. It’s easy to get an audience or individuals distracted or disinterested. Hence you need to read their body language and adapt accordingly. Like, ask questions. Or invite a discussion. In a smaller setting, you might want to divide them in more manageable groups.
At the end of the day, the art of presentations are all about content, engagement, and delivery.
Make sure your content is coherent and concise. Do please rehearse your sections in advance and polish some of the rough areas. Make your presentation part of you.
Most of all, one of your main objectives besides engaging with your audience is to leave behind key residual messages. Something they can take home with them.