You can become an effective presenter and communicator with the right mindset and tools. This means finding your confidence, voice, and strength to successfully convey your message. Here are some tips to help you improve your presentation and communication skills.
Don’t Just Focus on the Content
You are there to present information and to influence your audience. You also need to make the buy-in that you’re selling through your presentation. It could be a new product launch, a change in process, or crisis management. Your audience should feel emotionally connected to the topic and trust you. They have to believe that you will empower and influence them. You can do this by connecting your content to their sentiment in order to encourage them to take action, which is usually the purpose of a presentation.
If you want to be an effective communicator, you need to analyze your audience. You have to understand their mindset as well as present it with inspiration and authenticity. If their mindset is fixed, they may not listen to you at all. This is your chance to change their mindset and present in the most neutral and clearest way possible.
For instance, you’re an IT professional presenting a new system to a company’s accounting department. The company’s employees are expressing their dislike for the system because it’s hard to use. You need to understand the audience and change their mindset by explaining the system’s accounting benefits and reducing the volume of technical terms. The system may generate automated reports, so they can now assess the accounting data instead of spending a lot of time creating it.
You should also build your credibility. Talking tech jargon and code probably won’t help. Most of them won’t even care about these terms. What you need to do is to describe every component of the new system comprehensively. Make the explanation as simple as possible in accounting terms. Since they value what’s being offered and they understand it, they will definitely listen to you. This will help you build credibility, connection, and trust.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Presenting can be intimidating, but you won’t be able to reach your full potential if you don’t get out of your comfort zone. You have to comfortable with discomfort. If you hold meetings every week, you should try new delivery methods like technologies and visuals. It’s also important to change your mindset. Silence your internal critic and free your natural voice. You need to believe that you have to be heard. It’s also important to address your own fears. Your most successful presentations will definitely be the ones where you utilize your natural personality.
While scripted messages can help you catch every possible detail, this kind of message will not help you get through to your audience on an emotional level. You have to communicate with confidence and warmth, so just be yourself and be authentic. This will help you emotionally connect with your audience.
Close Strong with a Good Action Plan
If you want to create an authentic connection, you should establish trust with your audience. Provide summary points at the end of the presentation to reiterate your content or ask for feedback from your audience. Don’t stop learning, practicing and improving. Watch other presenters and write down what you liked and what you didn’t like about them. Always leave with a good action plan. You should clear takeaways and steps so that your audience knows exactly what to expect and what they have to do. The closing part of your presentation should change the attitude and promote action.
Narratives and Stories
Know your audience and establish a connection and rapport with them. If you connect your topic to their needs, your audience will remember your story and relate to you. Don’t forget to review the audience behaviors and cues during your storytelling process. You should be able to adapt if something is not working in the story and create authenticity. For instance, you can tell your story as a lesson taught or learned, as a personal story or as a teachable mistake moment. The story that you’re using in your presentation should be compelling and entertaining to be engaging. You should be able to connect with your audience to build trust. Only then will true listening occur.
Excellent presentation skills are important, but what’s your audience should be able to connect to your material. If your passion, emotion, and value are not communicated, you will not be able to get your point across.