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44 years of success - Established 1974

44 Years of Success
Established in 1974

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.control of your career"

Presenting Your Ideas to a Group or Audience

If you are not used to presenting your ideas to a group, it can be nerve-wracking – especially if you feel unprepared for it. But, fear not, there are some simple, but highly effective, measures you can take to ensure you are fully prepared and confident when the time comes. Follow the tips below:

Step 1 - Understand Your Audience

This is vital, after all the presentation is not for you – it’s for them. So, you need to make sure you understand what they want to get out of the presentation and try to deliver it. Think about:

  • who your audience are
  • what they need to learn or what they expect to gain from your presentation
  • what, if anything, they already know about the subject

 

Now you can start to put your presentation together, keeping the answers to the questions posed above in mind.

Step 2 Prepare Your Content

You should spend plenty of time preparing your content. If you rush it, your audience will know and you may be left fumbling and red-faced. So, you need to make sure the content you provide is:

  • accurate – check and double check any facts or figures you include in your presentation. The last thing you want is to have someone prove you wrong in front of the group, it will damage your credibility.
  • concise – keep to the relevant facts. Don’t waffle or create long meandering introductions into topics, get straight into what’s important. That does not mean that you can’t use stories to illustrate your points, in fact interesting anecdotes and stories can make a presentation come alive. It also helps if you don’t try to include all the facts at once – it may be a little overwhelming. Instead, try concentrating on the main points whilst encouraging the listeners to find out more by themselves, suggesting places to find that information of course.
  • logical – the information should flow in a logical, smooth way from one subject to another. If you have great information, but it’s all over the place, you’ll only succeed in confusing your audience.

 

Once you’ve gathered the information you want to present, make an outline. You can use this at the start of the presentation so the audience knows what to expect – it helps to build anticipation.

Step 3 Deliver Confidently

The number one tip for giving a confident delivery is to practise, practise, practise! The more familiar you are with the content, the easier you’ll find it to talk about and the less you’ll need to rely on cards or prompts. This will also allow you to make sure that your presentation fits the time frame you’ve been given. Make sure you practise speaking clearly and slowly – often when people are nervous they rush through the points, mumble and end up finishing well before they should.

Having people look at you can sometimes be a little overwhelming. When I started giving presentations, I did not like that idea at all, so I used visuals and handouts to take the attention off me for a while. I found this worked really well while I gained confidence.

It helps if you ask for questions to be left to the end of the presentation. This way you can avoid distractions that may make you lose your place.

Step 4 Be in Control of Your Environment

Check the layout or the room – are there any steps you could trip over? Is there a microphone and can you reach it easily? Also check that the set up of any equipment in the room, i.e. overhead projectors, white boards, computers, TV or sound equipment etc are as you want them before you start. You do not want to be fiddling with equipment while your audience sits waiting.

Step 5 Relax!

And finally, if you start to feel stressed, take a deep breath and remember they are only people – just like you. And, many of them will probably be feeling very relieved that it’s not them standing there presenting.

If you’d like more information on delivering perfect presentations, why not have a look at the prospectus for our Professional Salesmanship course or the Advanced Business English course.