Presentations within your own organization are the most challenging public speaking for many people. There is a lot of perceived pressure to make an impression and stand out. The fear of messing up is real. When you are presenting your ideas or a new project you’ve created, you have an increased desire for them to listen, understand, and take action. Ironically making a presentation to your work team is one of the most commons ways of public speaking.
Every good presentation has to follow some guidelines to be exciting and memorable. In every situation, you should pay attention to your posture, smile, or keep eye contact. Yet, every speech also has its particularities, depending on its context and goals.
I don’t need to tell you about the importance of practicing the presentation or knowing your topic very well. Nonetheless, inside a business environment, there are a couple of details that may help you make a difference.
Prepare! Yes, you already know that, but you need to prepare your presentation very carefully. Your co-workers have other things to do. If they are going to stop working to listen to you, it’s better to be prepared.
Before you start writing your outline – yes you should be preparing one – stop and ask yourself: what is my goal? What do I want to achieve with this presentation? After you determine this, maintain focus. Avoid big speeches about who you are and how great the company is if your goal is to introduce a new package design.
When you have your ideas on paper, reduce what you have to three points. They will not remember more than that anyway. It is better to say less and have people remember it than to give a lot of information that no one will retain.
It’s understandable not feeling enthusiastic about a product that means nothing to you. If that’s the case, that probably means that you’re not the right person to the presentation.
Your enthusiasm (or lack of it) will be conveyed to your audience. They will know and reflect on it. Your enthusiasm will transfer to them. You must make your team want to do that project. Be enthusiastic about it. Keep in mind that it shows, not only in your words but also in your body language.
Credibility of Information
Overwhelming with lots of information will not build credibility; it will actually harm your credibility. You must choose the most credible bits, from sources you know they’ll respect. Use examples that make them enthusiastic, quote people they admire to support your message.
Avoid Being Boring
It may seem obvious advice, but it is vital to keep this in mind. A business presentation can get boring really fast if you don’t work on it. Dozens of stats and data are not fun or exciting.
Mix it up with some stories, or anecdotes that make your audience laugh, or at least smile. Interact with the other, don’t use an over-formal tone, but a friendly, conversational one. Make them feel more comfortable and open.
Set out your ideas for a better understanding. If your audience does not fully understand what you’re saying, they will get bored quickly. You have three ideas to tell them. Explain one at the time, with a clear separation between them. You can use some powerful images or quotes to help to separate the ideas.
Don’t make a thousand slides, or waste their time in endless explanations. Be concise and straight to the point. An excellent idea is lost if you take an hour to explain it. Pick your idea and make it as simple as possible.
If you are presenting a project, think in advance about the problems your team might face when executing it and give them solutions. If the company has a problem and that’s the topic of your presentation, don’t go into the meeting room without at least one possible solution for it.
Anyone can spot problems. Leaders bring solutions. Your team needs to feel your security and confidence to be propelled to act.
It is impossible to keep our focus for long periods without help. As a speaker, you should provide that help to your audience.
From time to time, introduce a shocking statement to make your audience to recover some focus. Challenge their previous knowledge with some controversial data. Something that makes them reflect on it. Make sure you remain very careful with the sources you choose.
Getting your audience’s attention back when it starts to dissipate is essential for the success of your speech; just don’t overdo it. Otherwise, it will lose the desired impact.
What’s in it for them?
As in any other type of presentation or speech, the connection with your audience is vital for success. They are always the most important! When you are delivering a presentation to your team, you have leverage: you KNOW them. Use that in your favor.
Show your audience the value of your ideas. Why are they good? If you are presenting a new project, don’t lose too much time explaining how you come up with that idea. They probably don’t care! Tell them instead, how it would benefit them and the company.
Avoid the Q&A being the end of your presentation. Make a short yet powerful conclusion of your ideas after it. You can remind them of your goals, summarize the main points, or end with a quotation or short story. Make sure that your final words include the ideas you want them to keep in mind.