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Make an Impact: The Benefits of Adding Music to Your PowerPoint Slideshows
PowerPoint presentations are a powerful tool for communicating information, whether it’s for business meetings, educational purposes, or personal projects. While the content and visuals of your slideshow are crucial, adding music can take your presentation to the next level. In this article, we will explore the benefits of adding music to your PowerPoint slideshows and how it can make a lasting impact on your audience.
Enhances Emotional Connection
When you incorporate music into your PowerPoint slideshows, you have the opportunity to create an emotional connection with your audience. Music has a unique ability to evoke feelings and emotions in individuals, and by choosing the right soundtrack, you can set the tone for your presentation. Whether you want to inspire, motivate or create a sense of nostalgia, music can help you achieve that emotional connection with your listeners.
For example, if you’re giving a presentation on environmental conservation efforts, incorporating soft and soothing instrumental music in the background can evoke feelings of calmness and serenity. On the other hand, if you’re presenting on a topic related to innovation and progress, using upbeat and energetic music can create excitement among your audience.
In today’s fast-paced world where people are constantly bombarded with information, it’s important to capture and hold their attention throughout your presentation. Adding music to your PowerPoint slideshows can help in this regard by creating a captivating atmosphere that keeps your audience engaged.
By carefully selecting appropriate music that aligns with the message or theme of each slide or section of your presentation, you can maintain interest and prevent boredom. The right choice of background music not only grabs attention but also helps retain information better since our brains tend to associate memories with emotions.
Reinforces Key Messages
Using music strategically in your PowerPoint slideshows allows you to reinforce key messages within your presentation effectively. By carefully timing the music to match specific slides or transitions, you can emphasize important points and make them more memorable.
For instance, if you’re discussing the benefits of a new product, incorporating upbeat and lively music during the slide that highlights its features can create a positive association in the minds of your audience. Similarly, using soft and gentle music when discussing sensitive topics or serious issues can help convey empathy and compassion.
Sets a Professional Tone
Adding music to your PowerPoint slideshows not only adds an element of professionalism but also helps in setting the desired tone for your presentation. The choice of music should align with the nature of your topic and the overall tone you want to portray.
For example, if you’re delivering a business presentation, using instrumental tracks or classical music can create an atmosphere of sophistication and credibility. On the other hand, if your slideshow is meant for a more casual or creative audience, incorporating contemporary or genre-specific music may be more appropriate.
In conclusion, adding music to your PowerPoint slideshows offers numerous benefits that can enhance your overall presentation. It creates an emotional connection with your audience, captivates attention, reinforces key messages, and sets a professional tone. However, it’s important to choose appropriate music that complements your content and conveys the desired message effectively. With careful consideration and strategic use of background music, you can make a lasting impact on your audience and deliver an engaging presentation that stands out from the rest.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Business Presentation: Definition, Steps to Create & Tips to Remember!
At some point in your life, you must have given a presentation or at least done some sort of public speaking. If you haven’t, then at some point you will have to, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
When it comes to giving presentations, it doesn’t matter that you are a seasoned speaker or an amateur as long as you are able to convey your message or achieve your goal in the most engaging way.
And truth be told, even though each presentation has its own subtle differences, there are a few universal guidelines or steps that make it effective.
But the fact of the matter is that giving presentations, especially business presentations, is not exactly a walk in the park and not everyone can easily pull it off.
But don’t worry, that’s why we have got your back! In this blog, we will provide you with the steps involved in creating a killer business presentation and making it stand out!
Before we get to the steps involved, let’s understand what a business presentation is and why it is important to create one!
Ready? Let’s go!
What is a Business Presentation? (Definition)
A presentation is simply an introduction, demonstration, or speech given by an individual or group of individuals to an audience in order to inform, inspire, convince, or motivate them.
So a business presentation can be defined as a formal introduction or information about new business products, ideas, or practices. It is usually carried out using audio-visual materials, such as projectors, documents, presentation software, whiteboards, charts, and more.
Business presentations are often done with the aim to educate or train the audience, sell a product or an idea to them or simply convey or share your vision with them.
Now that we have explained what business presentations are, let’s help you understand the importance of creating one!
Importance of Creating a Business Presentation
More often than not, a business presentation is the first document or introduction about your organization or your organization’s products and services that your clients get to see.
So when somebody sits through such a presentation, they expect to get gain some information from it without dozing off halfway through it. That’s why it is important that you have a well-crafted, visually appealing, and engaging business presentation .
A good business presentation offers many benefits, such as:
1. Helps Create Connections
A business presentation focuses on communication, interaction, and bonding between you and your audience. It allows you to build a good impression and brand image. This not only helps you convey messages and convince your audience but also establishes relationships and creates better connections.
2. Provides Information
A good presentation is highly informative and eye-opening. It’s a great opportunity to give out nuggets of details, facts, trivia, and statistics-backed data. It provides the listener with information in the most engaging way, which means that they walk out a better-informed and educated person.
Read more: 6 Awesome Video Presentation Software & Tips to Follow!
3. Offers Inspiration
The impact a good business presentation can have on an individual is far more than you can imagine. Since most business presentations involve the use of audio-visual materials, stories or anecdotes, handouts/pamphlets, or demonstrations, it tends to stick in the minds of the listeners. It keeps them engaged, offers inspiration, and helps influence their decisions.
Clearly, business presentations are an effective way to get across your message and build your brand. They are definitely rewarding and crucial for your business.
And since we don’t want to keep you waiting, let’s jump straight into the nitty-gritty of creating a business presentation!
How to Create a Business Presentation in 9 Simple Steps!
Step 1. create a plan.
The first step in creating an excellent business presentation is to make a plan about what you want to do and how exactly you want to do it. For this, it is always good to set a goal that you seek to achieve through your presentation and then create a roadmap of how you want to achieve it.
In a business presentation plan, you create an outline of your presentation and decide what message you want to convey and the main points and arguments you want to include.
Divide your presentation into an introduction, the main section, and a conclusion, and further incorporate sub-points within each section. This will allow you to easily split your content into a consumable format.
With a plan ready in hand, your presentation will sail through smoothly!
Step 2. Spend Some Time on Your Presentation Slides
Is your presentation even a presentation without visual slides projected in the background? It is a must-have in every business presentation and that’s why you need to invest a little time in how they look.
Choose a professional-looking slide deck that matches the tone of your presentation. Go for colors that suit your brand’s or product’s colors, and avoid too many flashy colors. Also, try to pick a font and font size that aligns with your brand or organization.
Make sure that you select your presentation slide decks based on the content that you are dealing with, such as using professional or neutral slide decks for financial data or research topics and colorful slide decks for informal topics.
Step 3. Establish Your Credibility with a Story
Whenever you start a presentation, it is extremely crucial that you establish your credibility right up front, because people are more likely to listen to you if they are convinced about your authenticity.
No, this doesn’t mean that your drone on about your career highlights, instead you lead your business presentation with a compelling story. This could be anything about the background of your topic, an experience, a relatable story, an anecdote, or any other references that support your subject and make it more interesting.
Here is where you can also add a little humor to get a laugh out of them and put them at ease by setting a positive tone.
Doing so will help you engage with the audience, build a personal connection, and serve as a memorable foundation for your presentation.
Step 4. Support Your Claims
You may have established your credibility with a story or an anecdote, but if you really want to create an authentic image, then you need to back up all your claims during your presentation.
So do not hesitate to use supporting materials liberally. This means that you provide statistics and numbers, reference research, or offer proof supporting your claims. This will cement your credibility and authenticity.
Read more: 15 Best Presentation Blogs and Websites to Follow!
Step 5. Use Visual Elements Liberally
Business presentations can get boring if your slides just have texts, numbers, and tables. Not just that it makes it difficult for your audience to simultaneously read and listen to your presentation. That’s why you need to use visual elements like images, charts, graphics, GIFs, and more.
Adding powerful quotes, full-screen images, and videos will stick in the mind of your audience and will help maintain their attention throughout. Not to mention, it simply makes your presentation visually appealing!
Step 6. Add Animations to Your Presentation Slides
Obviously your format and content matter more, and if they are the cake, then adding a little animation or cinematic style to your slides is like the cherry on top. It simply makes your presentation a little more appealing!
Include fun animation, add smooth transitions, move around your slides horizontally or vertically, and let your content appear on the screen creatively. This will allow you to tell your story effortlessly.
Just try not to go overboard with the animation and make sure to strike a balance while maintaining consistency throughout.
Step 7. Be Prepared for Questions
No presentation is ever complete with a round of question-and-answer sessions towards the end, so it’s always best to be prepared for any difficult question that might be asked.
Your job is to anticipate all the possible questions or concerns that your audience might have and consider all the possible objections and arguments that might arise during a discussion, and prepare answers for them.
You can even get a colleague to listen to your presentation and have a practice session for this.
Step 8. Prepare Questions
It’s crucial to remember that sometimes your audience might not have any questions for you. This can obviously create an awkward moment for you when you open the floor to questions.
For that reason, it is important that you prepare your own set of questions in advance. Here, you can incorporate audience interaction by asking questions to your audience, quizzing them, asking them to vote, making them participate in simple activities, and more.
Doing this will help you avoid awkward pauses and silences while also creating an open environment of active participation and discussion.
Step 9. Wrap Up with a Closing Statement
Once all the questions have been asked and when all the discussions come to an end, you need to include a short closing statement for your presentation. Be sure to prepare a summarized statement that includes your main message, key points, and final call to action.
Follow these steps and you will have prepared a fantastic business presentation for your audience! But the fact is that no matter how good you are at public speaking, there is always room for improvement.
What you need are some simple tips to make your killer presentation even better . And for that, we have compiled for you a list that you can follow!
Scroll down to find out!
Tips for Creating An Awesome Business Presentation
Here are some simple tips that you must follow during your business presentation:
- Keep your presentation crisp and try not to include too many slides for your presentation.
- Avoid using too many colors and fonts. Instead, stick to a color palette and font that matches your attire and your brand image.
- Do not hesitate to seek the help of presentation tools and software
- Focus on your narration and story-telling style.
- Ask rhetorical questions to reinforce your key points and primary message.
- Prepare some business-appropriate jokes, one-liners, and puns to make your presentation fun and engaging.
- Dress in formal business attire and groom yourself to look appealing and presentable.
- Maintain a defining tone and style for your presentation – be it formal, casual, or humorous – and try to be consistent with it throughout.
- Be enthusiastic, and expressive, focus on your body language, and most importantly, maintain eye contact throughout.
With that, we can guarantee that you will put on one heck of a presentation and give your audience a memorable and enriching experience!
Our team at bit.ai has created a few awesome business templates to make your business processes more efficient. Make sure to check them out before you go, y our team might need them!
- SWOT Analysis Template
- Business Proposal Template
- Business Plan Template
- Competitor Research Template
- Project Proposal Template
- Company Fact Sheet
- Executive Summary Template
- Operational Plan Template
- Pitch Deck Template
Presentations are all about communication. So it doesn’t matter if it is your first presentation or your hundredth one, if you’re not able to communicate information in an engaging way, then you end up wasting your time and your listeners’ time.
Whether you are trying to sell something to an audience or simply sharing your vision with them, create a business presentation that will not only educate your listeners but also squeeze a laugh out of them.
We only hope that the steps and tips we have provided you will help you along the way in creating a killer business presentation for your audience!
Adios and Happy presenting!
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Chapter 18: Business Presentations
Venecia Williams and Olds College
- Understand how to use effective interpersonal communication skills in professional presentations
- Learn how to organize a presentation
- Examine how to use visual aids effectively
- Discuss the effective integration of communication and presentation techniques in the delivery of professional presentations
Along with good writing skills, the ability to communicate verbally is vital to many employers today. It is an integral part of the modern business world. People in the workplace spend the majority of their time communicating. Verbal communication in the workplace takes many forms such as staff meetings, discussions, speeches, presentations, informal conversations, and telephone and video conferences. Communicating verbally is more personal and flexible than writing. It allows workers to exchange ideas, information, and feedback more quickly. Verbal communication tends to occur in person, making it easier to negotiate, express emotions, outline expectations, and build trust, all of which are important in today’s workplace. Communication can also occur between people who are not together in person. In these situations, unique skills are necessary to achieve success. Simple conversation skills are also valued in the workplace, but this does not mean using casual or informal language. Rather, what is prized by many employers is the ability to communicate important information professionally but in a meaningful and understandable way. This can be important when making spontaneous presentations as well as more elaborate formal group presentations, which are a part of many work roles today.
What Makes a Successful Speaker?
According to longtime Toastmasters member Bob Kienzle, there are a few key elements that tend to make a successful speaker:
- Voice : Can the person be easily understood?
- Body Language : Does their body support what they’re saying? Are they confident?
- Coherent Structure: Does what they’re presenting make sense? Is it logical?
- Enthusiasm : Do they care about what they’re presenting?
- Expertise: Do they know what they’re talking about? Are they credible?
- Practice : If they haven’t practised or sufficiently prepared, it will likely show up in one or more of the above.
A successful speaker can be inspired by other speeches or speakers but may fall flat if they try to copy someone else. Authenticity and passion can resonate so much with an audience that it can outweigh elements otherwise considered pitfalls. The techniques, tools, and best practices are a guideline, and it’s important to note there is no such thing as “perfection” in public speaking. “Failure” can happen in myriad ways, but it’s more helpful to see them as learning opportunities, or opportunities to make a stronger connection to your audience. The biggest failure, according to Kienzle, is to pass up opportunities to practise your skills in presenting or public speaking.
Preparing a Presentation
Develop your message while keeping in mind the format, audience, style , and tone . First, you’ll need to think about the format of your presentation. This is a choice between presentation types. In your professional life, you’ll encounter the verbal communication channels in Figure 18.1. The purpose column labels each channel with a purpose (I=Inform, P=Persuade, or E=Entertain) depending on that channel’s most likely purpose.
Figure 18.1 | Presentation Communication Channels
There are some other considerations to make when you are selecting a format. For example, the number of speakers may influence the format you choose. Panels and Presentations may have more than one speaker. In Meetings and Teleconferences, multiple people will converse. In a Workshop setting, one person will usually lead the event, but there is often a high-level of collaboration between participants. The location of participants will also influence your decision. For example, if participants cannot all be in the same room, you might choose a teleconference or webinar. If asynchronous delivery is important, you might record a podcast. When choosing a technology-reliant channel, such as a teleconference or webinar, be sure to test your equipment and make sure each participant has access to any materials they need before you begin.
Once you have chosen a format, make sure your message is right for your audience. You’ll need to think about issues such as the following:
- What expectations will the audience have?
- What is the context of your communication?
- What does the audience already know about the topic?
- How is the audience likely to react to you and your message?
Next, you’ll consider the style of your presentation. Analyze your specific presentation styles. Perhaps you prefer to present formally, limiting your interaction with the audience, or perhaps you prefer a more conversational, informal style, where discussion is a key element. You may prefer to cover serious subjects, or perhaps you enjoy delivering humorous speeches. Style is all about your personality!
Finally, you’ll select a tone for your presentation. Your voice, body language, level of self-confidence, dress, and use of space all contribute to the mood that your message takes on. Consider how you want your audience to feel when they leave your presentation and approach it with that mood in mind.
Your presentation will have a general and specific purpose. Your general purpose may be to inform, persuade, or entertain. It’s likely that any speech you develop will have a combination of these goals. Most presentations have a little bit of entertainment value, even if they are primarily attempting to inform or persuade. For example, the speaker might begin with a joke or dramatic opening, even though their speech is primarily informational. Your specific purpose addresses what you are going to inform, persuade, or entertain your audience with the main topic of your speech.
Technology has given speakers new ways to engage with an audience in real-time, and these can be particularly useful when it isn’t practical for the audience to share their thoughts verbally—for example, when the audience is very large, or when they are not all in the same location. These secondary or additional means of interacting with your audience are called backchannels, and you might decide to incorporate one into your presentation, depending on your aims. They can be helpful for engaging more introverted members of the audience who may not be comfortable speaking out verbally in a large group. Using publicly accessible social networks, such as a Facebook Page or Twitter feed, can also help to spread your message to a wider audience, as audience members share posts related to your speech with their networks. Because of this, backchannels are often incorporated into conferences; they are helpful in marketing the conference and its speakers both during and after the event.
Developing the Content
As with any type of messaging, it helps if you create an outline of your speech or presentation before you create it fully. This ensures that each element is in the right place and gives you a place to start to avoid the dreaded blank page. Figure 18.2 is an outline template that you can adapt for your purpose. Replace the placeholders in the Content column with your ideas or points.
Figure `18.2 | Presentation Outline
The beginning of your speech needs an attention-grabber to get your audience interested right away. Choose your attention-grabbing device based on what works best for your topic. Your entire introduction should only be around 10 to 15 percent of your total speech, so be sure to keep this section short. Here are some devices that you could try:
After the attention-getter comes the rest of your introduction. It needs to do the following:
- Capture the audience’s interest
- State the purpose of your speech
- Establish credibility
- Give the audience a reason to listen
- Signpost the main ideas
Once you have identified an attention-getting, it is time to develop the body of your presentation or speech. In your body, you will focus on the specific points you would like to communicate to your audience.
Rhetoric and Argument: Your audience will think to themselves, Why should I listen to this speech? What’s in it for me? One of the best things you can do as a speaker is to answer these questions early in your body, if you haven’t already done so in your introduction. This will serve to gain their support early and will fill in the blanks of who, what, when, where, why, and how in their minds.
Organization: An organized body helps your audience to follow your speech and recall your points later. When developing the body of your speech, recall the specific purpose you decided on, then choose main points to support it. Just two or three main points are usually sufficient, depending on the length of your speech. Anticipate one main point per two to three minutes of speaking.
Concluding on a High Note
You’ll need to keep your energy up until the very end of your speech. In your conclusion, your job is to let the audience know you are finished, help them remember what you’ve told them, and leave them with a final thought or call-to-action, depending on the general purpose of your message.
Presentations can be enhanced by the effective use of visual aids. These include handouts, overhead transparencies, drawings on the whiteboard, PowerPoint slides, and many other types of props. Once you have chosen a topic, consider how you are going to show your audience what you are talking about. Visuals can provide a reference, illustration, or image to help the audience to understand and remember your point.
Visual aids accomplish several goals:
- Make your speech more interesting
- Enhance your credibility as a speaker
- Guide transitions, helping the audience stay on track
- Communicate complex information in a short time
- Reinforce your message
- Encourage retention
Methods and Materials
There are many different presentation aids available. Before you decide on a presentation aid, think carefully about how you plan on using it and how it will enhance your presentation.
Using Visual Aids
Visual aids can be a powerful tool when used effectively but can run the risk of dominating your presentation. Consider your audience and how the portrayal of images, text, graphic, animated sequences, or sound files will contribute or detract from your presentation. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare yours.
Designing Slide Decks
When you design your slide decks, you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities, and you might be tempted to use all the bells, whistles, and sounds, not to mention the flying, and animated graphics. If used wisely, a simple transition can be effective, but if used indiscriminately, it can annoy the audience to the point where they cringe in anticipation of the sound effect at the start of each slide.
Stick to one main idea per slide. The presentation is for the audience’s benefit, not yours. Pictures and images can be understood more quickly and easily than text, so you can use this to your advantage as you present.
If you develop a slide deck for your presentation, test these out in the location beforehand, not just on your own computer screen, as different computers and software versions can make your slides look different than you expected. Allow time for revision based on what you learn.
Your visual aids should meet the following criteria:
- Big: legible for everyone, even the back row
- Clear: easy for audience to understand
- Simple: simplify concepts rather than complicating them
- Consistent: use the same visual style throughout
In Figure 18.3 the slide deck on the left has a colour combination which makes the information difficult to understand. The list is not parallel and the slide contains a grammatical error. The slide deck on the right is an improved and more professional version.
Another consideration that you’ll need to make when designing your slide decks is font. As previously mentioned, think about the people at the back of the room when choosing the size of your text, to make sure it can be read by everyone. A common mistake that presenters make is to use decorative fonts or to incorporate many different fonts in their slides. This not only creates a mixed message for the audience but also makes your message difficult to read. Choose legible, common fonts that do not have thin elements that may be difficult to see.
When considering your choice of colours to use, legibility must be your priority. Contrast can help the audience read your key terms more easily. Make sure the background colour and the images you plan to use complement each other. Repeat colours, from your graphics to your text, to help unify each slide. To reduce visual noise, try not to use more than two or three colours. Blue-green colour blindness, and red-green colour blindness are fairly common, so avoid using these colour combinations if it is important for the audience to differentiate between them. If you are using a pie chart, for example, avoid putting a blue segment next to a green one. Use labelling so that even if someone is colour blind, they will be able to tell the relative sizes of the pie segments and what they signify.
Colour is also a matter of culture. Some colours may be perceived as formal or informal, or masculine or feminine. Certain colours have understood meanings; for example, red is usually associated with danger, while green signals “go.” Make sure the colours you use align with your message. If you are discussing climate change or the natural world, for example, you’d be more likely to use blues and greens rather than metallic colours to avoid confusing the audience.
Once you have prepared your visual aid, do not forget to revise. There is nothing more uncomfortable than seeing a typo or grammatical error on your screen in the middle of your presentation. These errors can create a bad impression and affect your credibility with the audience. You want your audience to focus on your message so be sure to revise to maintain the audience’s attention and keep your credibility.
Preparing to Present
You are almost ready to deliver your presentation. What are some final elements you can focus on to ensure a smooth delivery?
To deliver your presentation to the best of your ability, and to reduce your nerves once you take the stage, you need to practise by rehearsing. As you do, try to identify the weaknesses in your delivery to improve on them. For example, do you often misspeak the same words (e.g., pacific for specific; ax for ask) or do your hands or feet fidget? Use your practice time to focus on correcting these issues. These sessions should help you get comfortable and help you remember what you want to say without having to constantly refer to notes. Try practising in front of a mirror, or even recording yourself speaking to a camera and playing it back. It’s also helpful to get feedback from a supportive audience at this stage. Perhaps a few family members or friends could watch you give your presentation and provide some feedback.
Dress for Success
While there are no definitive guidelines for how you should dress for your presentation, your appearance is an important part of your audience’s first impression. If you want them to take you seriously, you’ll need to look the part. While you don’t have to wear a suit each time you present, there are some scenarios where this would be expected; for example, if you are presenting to a corporate audience who wear suits to work, you should do the same. You should dress one step above your audience. If your audience is going to be dressed casually in shorts and jeans, then wear nice casual clothing such as a pair of pressed slacks and a collared shirt or blouse. If your audience is going to be wearing business casual attire, then you should wear a dress or a suit. The general rule is to avoid any distractions in your appearance that can distract your audience’s attention from your message.
Set Up Your Environment
Depending on the circumstances of your speech or presentation, you may have some choices to make about the environment. Perhaps you have a choice of meeting rooms that you can use, or, perhaps you have only one option. If you have some flexibility, it is helpful to think about what sort of environment would best help you get your message across. For example, if you are running a workshop, you might want to assemble participants in a circle to encourage collaboration and discussion. If you are holding a webinar, you’ll need a quiet location with a strong Internet connection and a computer system. It is imperative that you think about what facilities you need well before the day of your presentation arrives. Arriving to find that the equipment you expected isn’t available is not a nice surprise for even the most experienced speaker!
If you have access to the location beforehand, you may need to move tables or chairs around to get things just the way you want them. You might choose to have a podium brought in, if you are aiming for a formal feel, for example, or you may need to position your flip chart. Double-check that you have all the equipment you need, from whiteboard markers to speakers. It is far better if you can get comfortable with the room before your audience arrives, as this will make you feel more prepared and less nervous.
If you are using technology to support your presentation (i.e., PowerPoint slides or a projector), test everything before you begin. Do a microphone check and test its volume, view your slides on the computer you will be using, check any weblinks, play videos to test their sound, or make a call to test the phone connection prior to your teleconference. Your audience will get restless quickly if they arrive and are expected to wait while you fix a technical problem. This will also make you seem disorganized and hurt your credibility as an authoritative speaker.
During the Presentation
You’ve organized your presentation with great visuals and you are ready to present. You now have to deliver your presentation. How do you effectively deliver your presentation calmly and clearly?
Studies have been done to assess how nervous or stressful people typically get during presentations, by examining people’s physiological responses at three intervals: one minute before the presentation, the first minute of the speech, and the last minute of the speech. They discovered that nervousness usually peaked at the anticipation stage that occurs one minute before the presentation. They further found that as the speech progresses, nervousness tends to go down. Here are some things you can do to help you manage your anxiety before the presentation:
- Practice/rehearse in similar conditions/setting as your speech
- Be organized
- Think positively
- Analyze your audience
- Adapt your language to speaking style
During the presentation, there are four main areas where you can focus attention in order to manage your anxiety:
- Your body’s reaction
- Attention to the audience
- Keeping a sense of humour
- Common stress management techniques
Your Body’s Reaction
Physical movement helps to channel some of the excess energy that your body produces in response to anxiety. If at all possible, move around the front of the room rather than remaining behind the lectern or gripping it for dear life (avoid pacing nervously from side to side, however). Move closer to the audience and then stop for a moment. If you are afraid that moving away from the lectern will reveal your shaking hands, use note cards rather than a sheet of paper for your outline. Note cards do not quiver like paper, and they provide you with something to do with your hands. Other options include vocal warm-ups right before your speech, having water (preferably in a non-spillable bottle with a spout) nearby for dry mouth, and doing a few stretches before going on stage. Deep breathing will help to counteract the effects of excess adrenaline. You can place cues or symbols in your notes, such as “slow down” or “smile”, that remind you to pause and breathe during points in your speech. It is also a good idea to pause a moment before you get started to set an appropriate pace from the onset. Look at your audience and smile. It is a reflex for some of your audience members to smile back. Those smiles will reassure you that your audience members are friendly.
Attention to the Audience
During your speech, make a point of establishing direct eye contact with your audience members. By looking at individuals, you establish a series of one-to-one contacts similar to interpersonal communication. An audience becomes much less threatening when you think of them not as an anonymous mass but as a collection of individuals.
Keeping a Sense of Humour
No matter how well we plan, unexpected things happen. That fact is what makes the public speaking situation so interesting. If things go wrong, try to have a sense of humour and stay calm. The audience will respond better if you stay calm than if you get upset or have a breakdown.
Stress Management Techniques
Even when we use positive thinking and are well prepared, some of us still feel a great deal of anxiety about public speaking. When that is the case, it can be more helpful to use stress management than to try to make the anxiety go away. Here are two main tools that can help:
- Visualization: imagining the details of what a successful speech would look and sound like from beginning to end; a way of hypnotizing yourself into positive thinking by using your mind’s eye to make success real.
- Systematic desensitization: Gradual exposure to the thing that causes fear—in this case, giving a speech—can ultimately lead to decreased anxiety. Basically, the more practice you get speaking in front of people, the less fear and anxiety you’ll have about public speaking. Organizations like Toastmasters that help people confront their fears by providing a supportive environment to learn and practise is a good option if you have a true phobia around presenting or public speaking.
Focus on Verbal Communication Techniques
- Pitch : Use pitch inflections to make your delivery more interesting and emphatic. If you don’t change pitch at all, your delivery will be monotone, which gets boring for the audience very quickly.
- Volume : Adjust the volume of your voice to your environment and audience. If you’re in a large auditorium, speak up so that people in the back row can hear you. But if you’re in a small room with only a few people, you don’t want to alarm them by shouting!
- Emphasis : Stress certain words in your speech to add emphasis to them, that is, to indicate that they are particularly important.
- Pronunciation : Make sure that you know the appropriate pronunciation of the words you choose. If you mispronounce a word, it could hurt your credibility or confuse your audience. Your pronunciation is also influenced by your accent. If your accent is quite different from the accent you expect most members of your audience to have, practise your speech in front of someone with the same accent that your audience members will have, to ensure you are pronouncing words in a clear, understandable way.
- Fillers : Avoid the use of “fillers” as placeholders for actual words (like, er, um, uh, etc.). If you have a habit of using fillers, practise your speech thoroughly so that you remember what you want to say. This way, you are less likely to lose your place and let a filler word slip out.
- Rate : The pace that you speak at will influence how well the audience can understand you. Many people speak quickly when they are nervous. If this is a habit of yours, practice will help you here, too. Pause for breath naturally during your speech. Your speaking rate should be appropriate for your topic. A rapid, lively rate communicates enthusiasm, urgency, or humour. A slower, moderated rate conveys respect and seriousness.
Focus on Non-verbal Communication Techniques
- Gestures : You can use your hands or head to help you express an idea or meaning, or reinforce important points, but they can be distracting if overused. If the audience is busy watching your hands fly around, they will not be able to concentrate on your words.
- Facial Expression : Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror to see what facial expressions come across. If you are speaking about an upbeat topic, smile! Conversely, if your topic is serious or solemn, avoid facial expressions that are overtly cheerful, because the audience will be confused by the mixed message. In North American culture, the most important facial expression you can use is eye contact. Briefly catch the eye of audience members as you move through your speech. If you can’t look your audience members in the eye, they may view you as untrustworthy. You’ll want to avoid holding eye contact for too long with any one person, as too much can be unnerving.
- Posture : Try to stay conscious of your posture and stand up straight. This gives the audience the perception that you are authoritative and take your position seriously. If you are slouching, hunched over, or leaning on something, this gives the impression that you are anxious, lacking in credibility, or not serious about your message.
- Silence : Silence is a powerful technique if used well. Pauses are useful for emphasis and dramatic effect when you are speaking. Some speakers are reluctant to pause or use silence because they become uncomfortable with the dead air, but sometimes your audience needs a moment to process information and respond to you.
- Movement : You can use your body movements to communicate positively with the audience. Leaning in or moving closer to the audience helps to bridge the space of separation. Moving from one side of the room to the other in a purposeful way that supports your content is a useful way to keep your audience engaged; their eyes will track your movements. However, pacing rapidly with no purpose and no support to your message may quickly distract from your message.
Coping with Mistakes and Surprises
Even the most prepared speaker will encounter unexpected challenges from time to time. Here are a few strategies for combating the unexpected in your own presentations.
Speech Content Issues
What if a notecard goes missing or you skip important information from the beginning of your speech? Pause for a moment to think about what to do. Is it important to include the missing information, or can it be omitted without hindering the audience’s ability to understand your speech? If it needs to be included, does the information fit better now or in a later segment? If you can move on without the missing element, that is often the best choice, but pausing for a few seconds to decide will be less distracting to the audience than sputtering through a few “ums” and “uhs.” Situations like these demonstrate why it’s a good idea to have a glass of water with you when you speak. Pausing for a moment to take a sip of water is a perfectly natural movement, so the audience may not even notice that anything is amiss.
Technology has become a very useful aid in public speaking, allowing us to use audio or video clips, presentation software, or direct links to websites. But it does break down occasionally! Web servers go offline, files will not download, or media contents are incompatible with the computer in the presentation room. Always have a backup plan in case of technical difficulties. As you develop your speech and visual aids, think through what you will do if you cannot show a particular graph or if your presentation slides are garbled. Your beautifully prepared chart may be superior to the verbal description you can provide. However, your ability to provide a succinct verbal description when technology fails will give your audience the information they need and keep your speech moving forward.
Unfortunately, one thing that you can’t control during your speech is audience etiquette, but you can decide how to react to it. Inevitably, an audience member will walk in late, a cell phone will ring, or a car alarm will go off outside. If you are interrupted by external events like these, it is often useful and sometimes necessary to pause and wait so that you can regain the audience’s attention. Whatever the event, maintain your composure. Do not get upset or angry about these glitches. If you keep your cool and quickly implement a “plan B” for moving forward, your audience will be impressed.
Reading Your Audience
Recognizing your audience’s mood by observing their body language can help you adjust your message and see who agrees with you, who doesn’t, and who is still deciding. With this information, you can direct your attention—including eye contact and questions—to the areas of the room where they can have the most impact. As the speaker, you are conscious that you are being observed. But your audience members probably don’t think of themselves as being observed, so their body language will be easy to read.
Question-and-answer sessions can be trickier to manage than the presentation itself. You can prepare for and rehearse the presentation, but audience members could ask a question you hadn’t considered or don’t know how to answer. There are three important elements to think about when incorporating Q&As as part of your presentation:
1. Audience Expectations
At the beginning of your speech, give the audience a little bit of information about who you are and what your expertise on the subject is. Once they know what you do (and what you know), it will be easier for the audience to align their questions with your area of expertise—and for you to bow out of answering questions that are outside of your area.
2. Timing of Q&As
Questions are easier to manage when you are expecting them. Unless you are part of a panel, meeting, or teleconference, it is probably easier to let the audience know that you will take questions at the end of your presentation. This way you can avoid interruptions to your speech that can distract you and cause you to lose time. If audience members interrupt during your talk, you can then ask them politely to hold on to their questions until the Q&A session at the end.
3. Knowing How to Respond
Never pretend that you know the answer to a question if you don’t. The audience will pick up on it! Instead, calmly apologize and say that the question is outside of the scope of your knowledge but that you’d be happy to find out after the presentation (or, suggest some resources where the person could find out for themselves). If you are uncertain about how to answer a question, say something like “That’s really interesting. Could you elaborate on that?” This will make the audience member feel good because they have asked an interesting question, and it will give you a moment to comprehend what they are asking. Sometimes presenters rush to answer a question because they are nervous or want to impress. Pause for a moment, before you begin your answer, to think about what you want to say. This will help you to avoid misinterpreting the question or taking offense to a question that is not intended that way.
A final tip is to be cautious about how you answer so that you don’t offend your audience. You are presenting on a topic because you are knowledgeable about it, but your audience is not. It is important not to make the audience feel inferior because there are things that they don’t know. Avoid comments such as “Oh, yes, it’s really easy to do that…” Instead, say something like “Yes, that can be tricky. I would recommend…” Also, avoid a bossy tone. For example, phrase your response with “What I find helpful is…” rather than “What you should do is…”
Good presentation skills are important to successfully communicate ideas in business. Make sure your presentation has a clear topic with relevant supporting details. Use verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to make your presentation engaging, and don’t forget to practice!
End of Chapter Activities
18a. thinking about the content.
What are your key takeaways from this chapter? What is something you have learned or something you would like to add from your experience?
18b. Discussion Questions
- How can a speaker prepare a presentation for a diverse audience? Explain and give some specific examples.
- How can an audience’s prior knowledge affect a presentation?
- Think of someone you have met but do not know very well. What kinds of conversations have you had with this person? How might you expect your conversations to change if you have more opportunities to get better acquainted? Discuss your thoughts with a classmate.
- While managing a Q&A session following a presentation, if you find yourself unable to answer a question posed by one of the audience members which tactics can you use to maintain control of the session?
18c. Applying chapter concepts to a situation
Presenting for success
Akhil works at a software development company in White Rock called Blackball Technologies. It is a medium-sized company that allows its employees to dress casually and occasionally work from home. Akhil likes this because his preference is to wear t-shirts and jeans to the office or work from home in his pyjamas.
Blackball recently created a new software program that has the potential to make a huge profit. However, they need investors to fund their latest innovation. The new software was developed using one of Akhil’s ideas; therefore, the company chooses him to present their proposal to a diverse group of investors from several countries.
Some of the investors are not fluent in English as it is their second language. Additionally, they each have a busy day ahead as they have to listen to proposals from multiple companies. Akhil fears that the investors will not understand him. He is also nervous about the presentation due to its significance to his career. If he is successful, he will get the promotion that he has wanted for the past two years and a pay raise.
What are some of the things that Akhil should consider when presenting to the investors?
18d. Writing Activity
Watch this video from TED.com on The Secret Structure of Great Talks . Summarize the video. What is the most interesting point made by Nancy Duarte in your opinion?
This chapter contains information from Professional Communications OER by the Olds College OER Development Team used under a CC-BY 4.0 international license.
This chapter contains information from Business Communication for Success which is adapted from a work produced and distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2010 by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative .
Presentation icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com .
Whiteboard icon made by Phatplus from www.flaticon.com .
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Chapter 18: Business Presentations by Venecia Williams and Olds College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Why Presentation Skills Are Essential To Every Business
by Paul A. Slattery NxtGEN EP | Jun 21, 2022 | Presentation Skills
From boardroom presentations to sales pitches and motivational speeches, presenting information is an integral part of every business.
Without strong presentation skills, however, these interactions are not likely to make a lasting impression on your audience. This is because data alone is soulless — it needs context for people to be able to relate to it in a meaningful way.
When you craft a compelling narrative with the data, it is transformed into something else entirely. It gives you the power to influence and persuade your audience, whether it’s colleagues, employees, investors, or prospective clients.
We explored this concept in some recent articles:
- Tips for Effective Data Presentation
- How to Persuade and Influence: The Fundamentals of Corporate Storytelling
- Corporate Storytelling for Boardroom Presentations
At the heart of all of this lies the art of effective communication — the ability to convey your message with clarity and confidence, whether it’s in front of an audience of two or two hundred. This is one of the most vital aspects of business growth, development, and success in the long run.
In this article, we will outline why presentation skills are essential to every business, regardless of the industry or size of the organisation.
Why are presentation skills so important?
Soft skills (often also referred to as ‘power skills’) such as time management, communication, and collaboration are becoming increasingly important in the corporate world, and presentation skills should be top of this list.
Presentation skills are an invaluable asset when it comes to acquiring new clients, as well as getting more work from existing clients, and provide the foundation for any solid, sustainable business.
Strong presentation skills can help you to grow your business on so many levels, including:
Businesses whose team members have strong presentation skills will be able to position themselves as a leader in the eyes of investors, partners, and potential clients. This is crucial for achieving business goals and objectives, thus creating the optimal conditions for growth.
Making a good first impression
As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Delivering a presentation to investors or potential clients is a prime opportunity to make sure their first impression of the business is a good one.
Research suggests that people form judgments about you within seven seconds of meeting you, so you must do everything you can to lay the groundwork for a fruitful working relationship.
Building trust with your employees, colleagues, and clients
A mutual sense of trust is essential for conducting business transactions and building successful relationships. The way you communicate with others has a direct impact on how trustworthy you (and the business as a whole) are in their eyes.
Showing confidence and executive presence
To stand out and succeed in today’s competitive landscape, businesses need to have confident, powerful people on board who can effectively communicate their vision to the world.
Having solid presentation skills will make you seem grounded and self-assured, strengthening the impact of your message and encouraging investors, partners, and potential clients to place their trust in you. It is also a vital part of developing Executive Presence .
A simple misunderstanding can often be the cause of serious issues in the workplace, including stress, feelings of resentment, missed deadlines, and poor performance. Highly-developed presentation skills will enable you to deliver your message with clarity, ensuring that your team understands your message and knows exactly what is expected of them.
This will improve their engagement, productivity, and performance levels, resulting in better outcomes for your business.
Attracting attention and building your morale
Developing effective presentation skills increases your chances of attracting attention from the right kind of people, which is crucial for business growth.
It will also help you to influence and persuade your target audience, driving them to take action (and giving yourself a well-deserved morale boost in the process).
Increasing employee retention
Presentation skills training can lead to improved morale among your team and even increased staff retention. When employees feel they are being given adequate opportunities to develop and grow within the organisation, they experience greater job satisfaction and are less likely to seek alternative employment.
According to research by Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can be anywhere from one-half to two times their annual salary, so focusing on long-term retention strategies is crucial for growing and sustaining your business.
Delivering engaging and compelling sales pitches that truly resonate with prospective clients is a cornerstone of every successful business.
Developing your team’s presentation skills on an ongoing basis empowers them with the knowledge and understanding needed to craft a story and a narrative that your prospect can relate to and can easily understand.
Improving your presentation skills can not only translate into increased sales but also to shortened lead times and higher-value acquisitions in the long run.
Clear, concise communication for better business growth
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of presentation skills in the corporate world. Being able to get your point across clearly and concisely is an invaluable skill, one that can help you acquire new clients, build trust with existing clients, and ultimately foster long-term business growth and development.
At NxtGEN Executive Presence , we specialise in providing comprehensive communication and presentation skills training for corporates, business leaders, managers, and executives.
So don’t wait. Get in touch today and find out if our team can empower you to communicate more effectively, and engage, inspire and influence your audience.
- Communication Skills (3)
- Data Presentation (4)
- Executive Presence (7)
- Leadership Training (15)
- Lunch & Learn (5)
- Masterclass (7)
- Presentation Skills (15)
- Upcoming Events (12)
- Open Programme: Presenting4Success 2024 November 13, 2023
- How To Successfully Avoid Data Dumping On Your Co-Workers June 22, 2023
- Open Programme: Presenting4Success October 2023 June 15, 2023
- A Quick Negotiation Guide – Seven Tips Shared By The World’s Top Experts May 10, 2023
- How To Deal With Objections During A Presentation: A Quick Guide April 20, 2023
If you would like to enquiry about this programme or any of our programmes, please fill out our enquiry form or get in touch using the details below.
+353 1 524 0257
6/7 Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland. A96 V5WA
Team Training Individual Training
Digital Marketing Assistant
Amy is NxtGEN's Digital Marketing Assistant who is involved in creating brand content, and articles and performing general administrative tasks.
Amy first came to us as an intern during her degree and is now working part-time in her final year of Information Communications Studies and Sociology at University College Dublin.
She applies her contemporary knowledge, dedication and lust for learning to her role at NxtGEN. Amy hopes to obtain a master’s degree in Communications in 2024 to further expand her wisdom and expertise.
Head of Marketing & Growth
Gabi Widurek wears more than one hat. She is Brand and Growth Manager at NxtGEN where she contributes to the brand content, teaching curriculum, research, and general daily workings of the Business.
Gabi recently qualified with Master's degree in TESOL from the University College Dublin as a an EFL teacher. She plans to become a language coach. Through her study and professional experience, she developed the expertise and zeal for exploring the Language of Business. Deeply passionate about empowering people, to whom English is not their first language, to speak their minds in any professional situation.
In addition to her Master’s degree Gabi holds a Higher Professional Diploma in Content Writing for Marketing from UCD Professional Academy. She's an ardent yoga practitioner and has been an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher since 2013.
Gabi is a lifelong learner, reader, and a traveller who enjoys spending free time with her family.
Founder, iSpeak Inc
Russ peterson jr..
Russ is the co-founder and Managing Director of iSpeak, Inc. - An award-winning professional development training company. He is a professional speaker, award- winning international trainer, and published author on Professional Sales Communication and Business Communication. He has gained experience as a sales professional, business development manager, entrepreneur, and senior executive from his career.
Over the past 20 years, he has delivered workshops, keynotes, and personal communication coaching services to business professionals in the U.S. and around the world. Russ has a heart for developing leaders and business professionals so they can enter their next challenging situation with greater confidence, an engaging message, and the ability to inspire and influence. He sees every workshop he delivers as an opportunity to serve and every success story from a student as the real payday.
In 2013 Russ co-authored “Corporate Ovations: Your Roadmap to More Effective Presentations” In, 2009 he received the Gold Stevie Award - Best Sales Trainer, and in 2003 he published “Cut the C.R.A.P. and Make the Sale”.
Russ and Paul have been collaborating since 2009 on designing, co-facilitating, and delivering multiple Corporate Communications Skills training initiatives globally for multinational clients such as U.C.C. Academy, Dell, Microsoft, Vodafone, Ornua, Virgin Media, to name but a few.
Consultant Trainer & Coach
Steven’s passion is helping people achieve their goals and dreams. He has over 20 years of experience in building long-term relationships, particularly at C-Suite level, and has led high performance teams with telecoms/technology industry.
Steven is also an energetic and results driven Sales Leader with an exceptional track record in the Corporate, SMB, and consumer segments. He has worked in various sales and sales leadership roles withing technology and telecoms multinationals.
Clients will appreciate his enjoyment of teaching, clear tone and his passion for technology. He will devotedly discuss the impact of digital transformation with business leaders across the Enterprise and Public sector segments.
His collaboration with NxtGEN began in 2017. He is a qualified Business and Executive Coach and holds a MSc in Leadership from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Steven also volunteers his time on a weekly basis to coach and mentor young people in the areas of sport and career development.
Consultant Trainer & Coach, iSpeak
Since 1993, Cynthia Oelkers has been giving keynotes on technical topics (such as telephony and B2B website integration) and communication skills to audiences from CEOs of Fortune 100 companies to college students as an instructor at St. Edward’s and LeTourneau Universities. Fourteen years in the high-tech environment is enough to make anyone long for laughter.
Since 1999, Cynthia has performed improv comedy for The National Comedy Theatre (formerly ComedySportz), In The Moment, and Girls, Girls, Girls! in Austin while working to help Dell, Inc. become an e-business. She is a professional public speaker and has led management training in the corporate and higher-education sectors for over nineteen years. She combines her work as an improv comedian, researcher, and businesswoman to create keynote experiences that are insightful, relevant, and fun.
Cynthia holds a Master’s degree in Interpersonal Communication from The University of Texas at Austin and teaches Presentational Speaking at St. Edward’s and Business Communication at LeTourneau Universities. Along with her 16 years of professional speaking experience, Cynthia is the co-author of workbooks titled Team Productivity, Leading without Losing It, Business Writing, and Conflict Management.
Paul A. Slattery
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Paul A. Slattery is one of only five Certified Master Instructors (iCMI) for iSpeak and the only one in Europe. Paul is an Expert Facilitator in University College Dublin (UCD) Smurfit Graduate Business School, where he delivers a unique team-based presentations skills class to the MBA Students on the Leadership Development Programme. He is also Programme Director with UCD Smurfit Executive Development, where he delivers the Communication and Executive Presence short programme. Today Paul is a Fellow of the Sales Institute of Ireland, the Institute of Directors in Ireland and the Irish Institute of Training and Development.
Paul’s career started as a CATV engineer and project manager however he has gained an impeccable sales record over the past twenty-five years of strategic sales, business development and management experience Internationally. Holding position at Account Executive, Account Director, Global Account Director, Regional Sales Director and Country Manager within the technology sector. He has successfully fronted two international telecom entrants in the Irish market in the past fifteen years.
Paul has been running his own successful business in Ireland since March 2004. Providing executive educational services, executive mentoring and coaching, management training workshops, as well as motivational seminars and keynote speeches internationally. His professional qualification include: IBAT Dip in Psychology, IBAT College Dublin, Successful Case Teaching Accredited by The Case Centre, Cranfield University, UK, iSpeak Certified Master Instructor Accredited by iSpeak, Austin, Tx, USA, DIT Diploma in Management Accredited by The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Ireland, SII/ICM Diploma in Sales Coaching Accredited by The Sales Institute of Ireland and Institute of Commercial Management (UK) and Certificate in Training and Development Accredited by Irish Institute of Training and Development.
Consultant Trainer & Coach
John is a passionate Business Coach with a particular interest in Communications Skills Training, Personal Development and Sales Skills. As a business coach and strategist, he helps executives and professionals to make breakthroughs that take them to the next level. In addition to that, John has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur owning and running a business.
His expertise lies in his communications skills and his passion for helping others to get from where they are to where they want to be. His work experience in Sales and Business Development in multinational and national sales organisations and entrepreneurship have given him the breadth of knowledge needed to pursue his passion for coaching executives and professionals. While working in the industry, he sold and negotiated high-profile contracts for a technology multinational for major national projects. Moreover, by running his own business and negotiating many multi-year services contracts, John gained a more thorough understanding of liaising with stakeholders and decision-makers. For the past 17 years, he has continuously sold and negotiated services in the Irish market to various sectors. His invaluable experience and his unique training methods mean John actively helps teams maximise their potential.
John’s collaboration with NxtGEN began back in 2014. He holds a Professional Practice Certificate in Training and Development from the Irish Institute of Training and Development. In 2021 John was awarded a Higher Education Teaching Certificate from Harvard BOK (The Derek Bok Centre for Teaching and Learning), a green belt in Lean Six Sigma from University College Cork, and a certified Life Coach. He combines his work as an entrepreneur, business coach, and a weekend radio presenter at Limerick City Community Radio to create a unique teaching style and memorable learning experiences.
Consultant Trainer & Coach, Ilaria Consulting
Ilaria lives and works to help people tell their stories. She specialises in Business Communications, Negotiation Techniques, and Professional Development Strategies. She has over 15 years of experience working in multicultural environments. During the past eight years, she’s been teaching training programmes and offering coaching services across a variety of industries in Ireland and abroad.
With a background in Law, she started her career in the corporate Financial Services sector, and since 2015 she has been collaborating with NxtGEN Executive Presence. Ilaria teaches Business Communications courses at the International School of Business (ISB) and Dublin Business School (DBS) and delivers Business Communications, Applied Negotiation Skills, and Professional Development Modules (QQI, Level 8) at ICD Business School, Dublin.
Her approach is structured and action-focused to build the competence and the confidence to influence diverse audiences through consistency and credibility. In addition, Ilaria uses Emotional Intelligence concepts to support improved self- awareness and effective business communications across different channels.
Her professional qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Law (University of Studies of Genoa); Higher Diploma in Business (DBS); Certified Master Coach Practitioner (PSG); Qualified Trainer (IITD); iCPI – iSpeak Certified Professional Instructor (iSpeak Inc). She considers herself a lifelong learner and looks forward to working on new projects. Ilaria has co-facilitated the following projects with NxtGEN: Sales Discovery - Vhi Healthcare, Device Atlas, Vodafone, UCC Academy. In addition, her coaching and content customisation are instrumental in delivering Tools For Influencing, Influence and Negotiation Skills at UCC Academy plus Presenting4Success for UCD Smurfit, UCD CEMS, and Microsoft Ireland, to name a few.
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A Business Encyclopedia
Definition : A presentation is a form of communication in which the speaker conveys information to the audience. In an organization presentations are used in various scenarios like talking to a group, addressing a meeting, demonstrating or introducing a new product, or briefing a team. It involves presenting a particular subject or issue or new ideas/thoughts to a group of people.
It is considered as the most effective form of communication because of two main reasons:
- Use of non-verbal cues.
- Facilitates instant feedback.
Business Presentations are a tool to influence people toward an intended thought or action.
Parts of Presentation
- Introduction : It is meant to make the listeners ready to receive the message and draw their interest. For that, the speaker can narrate some story or a humorous piece of joke, an interesting fact, a question, stating a problem, and so forth. They can also use some surprising statistics.
- Body : It is the essence of the presentation. It requires the sequencing of facts in a logical order. This is the part where the speaker explains the topic and relevant information. It has to be critically arranged, as the audience must be able to grasp what the speaker presents.
- Conclusion : It needs to be short and precise. It should sum up or outline the key points that you have presented. It could also contain what the audience should have gained out of the presentation.
Purpose of Presentation
- To inform : Organizations can use presentations to inform the audience about new schemes, products or proposals. The aim is to inform the new entrant about the policies and procedures of the organization.
- To persuade : Presentations are also given to persuade the audience to take the intended action.
- To build goodwill : They can also help in building a good reputation
Factors Affecting Presentation
Communication environment, personal appearance, use of visuals, opening and closing presentation, organization of presentation, language and words, voice quality, body language, answering questions, a word from business jargons.
Presentation is a mode of conveying information to a selected group of people live. An ideal presentation is one that identifies and matches the needs, interests and understanding level of the audience. It also represents the facts, and figures in the form of tables, charts, and graphs and uses multiple colours.
- Verbal Communication
- Visual Communication
- Non-Verbal Communication
- 7 C’s of Communication
Abbas khan says
October 2, 2022 at 11:33 pm
Thank you so much for providing us with brief info related to the presentation.
February 23, 2023 at 9:45 am
yusra shah says
July 3, 2023 at 2:04 am
it was helpful👍
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Purpose of Business Presentations
by Christine Switzer
Published on 26 Sep 2017
Effective business presentations can help an organization to reduce internal conflict and increase external sales. Business presentations can be used to confirm a company’s financial viability, to cast vision for a managerial staff and to honor the accomplishments of valued employees. Business presentations often take on distinctive characteristics depending on their overall purpose and the audience for which they are intended.
Many business presentations, such as quarterly accounting reports and departmental project updates, serve the primary purpose of communicating information. These presentations provide ideas, opinions and data for a specific audience. In preparing an informative presentation, you seek primarily to teach your audience about your chosen subject. To do so, you need to learn about your audience and how much they already know about the subject, and you need to gather accurate, reliable and credible information. Referencing specific authority figures and providing significant data can also help your audience to better understand your subject.
Some business presentations have a primary purpose of persuading an audience to adopt a certain belief or to make a specific choice. Persuasive business presentations occur both internally, such as when a manager seeks to convince the staff to begin recycling, or externally, such as when members of one company makes a sales presentation to members of another organization. When you prepare a persuasive presentation, you seek to provide credible information in a compelling way, and you seek to craft an effective argument as well. Persuasive presentations often involve proposing a change in belief or action that may either reinforce or change the status quo.
Business presentations may at times serve the purpose of not only persuading the audience to accept a certain perspective, but also motivating the audience toward a specific action. Motivational presentation use persuasive tactics. These presentations, though, focus more extensively on igniting the emotions and feelings of the audience. Sales managers, for example, may give a motivational speech during the annual sales meeting, just as a coach will make a motivational speech to a football team at halftime. Understanding your audience’s priorities, concerns, and motivations will help you to spur your audience to action.
Other business presentations serve the purpose of celebrating some aspect of business culture or some individual or group in a business community. Celebratory business presentations include toasts given at dinners and events, goodwill speeches made on historically significant dates, inspirational speeches given during a memorial or eulogy, and congratulatory messages recognizing achievements. These presentations help to demonstrate an individual’s commitment to the company and his coworkers and to show the company’s commitment to its employees and its ideals. Developing celebratory business presentations often involves researching your subject and practicing your delivery, as well as considering the needs and concerns of your audience.
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Communicating Through Business Presentations
How to Create a Business Presentation
Written by Jason Gordon
Updated at April 15th, 2022
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Table of Contents
What is a business presentation.
A Business presentation is a means of exchanging info for decision-making and policy developing, relating the benefits of the services offered and sharing our goals, values, and visions.
- Formal Presentations Allow time and planning. Ex. Presentation during a scheduled meeting.
- Informal Presentations (Oral Briefings) Less formal presentations that entails a short update on a current project. Ex. Update requested during a meeting with little or no notices. Ex. Informal update in the boss's office.
Back to: Negotiations & Communications
Identify Your Purpose
Understanding the purpose you hope to achieve and conceptualizing your audience will enable you to organize the content in a way that is understood and accepted. Technique 1: At the end of my presentation, the audience will ________. Technique 2: What is my Message? Develop a phrase, single thought, or conclusion you want the audience to take away from the presentation. Imagine your audience summarizing your message what do you want to hear them describe as your central purpose.
Know Your Audience
Don't presume you know the audience find out about them. The audience wants to know, Whats in it for me. Determine what motivates your audience, how they think, and how they make decisions. Who is the audience, and who requested the presentation? Why is the topic important to the audience? (What will they do with the information).
Helpful Info: Age, gender, occupations, education level, attitude, values, broad and specific interests, needs. Keep in mind the occasion or location of the presentation. Environmental factors affecting presentation will reveal whether the environment is intimate or remote; the audience is receptive and alert or non-receptive and tired; whether you will need additional motivation or persuasion tactics:
- # of people in the audience.
- Are there any other presenters?
- Where and at what time does my presentation fit into the agenda?
- How much time will I have?
- How will the audience be seated? And what is the layout? (Podium, microphone, seated.)
Organizing the Content
The standard format is:
The dominant technique is:
- Tell the audience what you will tell them.
- Tell them what you told them.
Goals of the Introduction:
- Capture attention and involve the audience.
- Establish rapport.
- Present the purpose statement and preview the points that you will develop.
Capture attention and involve the audience. Choose an attention-getter that is relevant to the subject and appropriate for the audience. Techniques:
- A shocking statement or startling statistic. Ex. Lack of personnel management costs companies $200 Billion in the US every year, and is among the most wasteful aspects of any business.
- Quotation by an expert. Ex. Attracting quality people to your business is the life of any business - Sir Richard Branson.
- A rhetorical or open-ended question that generates discussion from the audience. Ex. Do you want to spend time building your business, or worrying about payroll administration?
- An appropriate joke or humor. Used to break the ice. Self-denigrating is often the best.
- A demonstration of dramatic presentation aid. Ex. If youre pushing social media optimization, you may want to do a Google search of the company up front to show their poor page rank.
- An anecdote or timely story from a business periodical. Malcolm Gladwell says that there is no such thing as innate talent.
- Involve the audience. Ex. Ask for a show of hands regarding an example.
Show concern that they benefit from the presentation. Share a personal story or share a part of your background that relates to the topic.
Present the purpose statement and preview the points that will be developed. Once you have captured attention for the topic, present your purpose statement directly.
Then, preview the major points you will discuss in the order that you'll discuss. This helps the audience understand how the parts of the body are tied together to support the purpose statement.
If the presentation is long, you may want to use a visual to show the points covered.
In a short presentation (ex. 20 mins) limit your presentation to a few major points. Promote audience attention and absorption.
- Provide support for your points in a manner that is easy to understand. Use simple vocabulary and short sentences that the listener can understand easily and that sounds conversational and interesting. Avoid jargon or technical terms that the listeners may not understand. Use a familiar frame of reference. Draw analogies between new ideas and familiar ones. Use comparisons to past events or relevant stories.
- Provide relevant statistics. Use specific, quantitative measures available to lend authority and credibility to your points. Use techniques to make the statistics easy to remember. Ex. 34.2% of the students work full-time vs. 1/3 of the students work full-time.
- Use Quotes from prominent people. This helps build credibility, particularly if the audience is familiar with the source.
- Use interesting anecdotes. Audiences like and remember anecdotes or interesting stories that tie into the presentation and make strong emotional connections with audiences.
- Use Jokes and humor appropriately. Jokes and humor can build rapport, ease an approach to sensitive subjects, disarm a non-receptive audience, or make your message easier to understand and remember.
- Use presentation visuals. Try to enhance the audiences ability to see, hear, feel, and understand your presentation.
- Encourage audience participation. Reflective questioning, role-playing, directive audience-centered activities, incorporating current events and periodicals into the activity.
The Close provides unity to your presentation by Telling the audience what you have already told them.
The conclusion should be your best line, your most dramatic point, your most profound thought, your most memorable bit of information, or your best anecdote.
Develop the close so that it supports and refocuses the audiences attention on your purpose statement. Tips:
- Commit the time and energy needed to develop a creative, memorable conclusion. In an analytical presentation, state your conclusion and support it with the highlight from your supporting evidence. In a persuasive presentation, the close is often an urgent plea for the members of the audience to take some action or to look on the subject from a new point of view.
- Tie the close to the introduction to strengthen the unity of the presentation. Ex. Take an anecdote from the introduction and answer or build on it as your conclusion.
- Use transition words that clearly indicate you are moving from the body to the close. Practice your close until you can remember it without stumbling.
- Smile and Stand back to accept any audience applause.
- Show eagerness to answer questions if that is part of the presentation.
Designing Compelling Presentation Visuals
Presenter who uses visuals is considered more prepared and interesting. Tell me, Ill forget. Show me, Ill remember. Involve me, and Ill understand. Advantages:
- Clarifies and emphasizes important points
- Increases retention from 14 to 38 percent.
- Reduces the time required to present a concept.
- Speaker achieves goals 34% more often when visuals used.
- Increases group consensus by 21% when presentation visuals used in a meeting.
Types of Presentation Materials
- Boards and Flipcharts,
- Overhead transparencies,
- Electronic Presentations,
- 35mm Slides,
- Objects & models.
Design of Presentation Visuals
The purpose of each visual aid should be clear, and almost speak for itself. A visual aid can provide emphasis, effectively highlighting keywords, ideas, or relationships for the audience. Visual aids can also provide the necessary support for your position. Visual aids accomplish several goals:
- Make your speech more interesting
- Enhance your credibility as a speaker
- Serve as guides to transitions, helping the audience stay on track
- Communicate complex or intriguing information in a short period of time
- Reinforce your verbal message
- Help the audience use and retain the information
Create an appealing, easy-to-read design that supports your main point without overwhelming the audience. Techniques:
- # of Visual Aids. Limit the number of visual aids used in a single presentation. The visuals should direct the audiences attention to major points and clarify or illustrate complex information.
- Slide Content . Limit slide content to key ideas presented in as few words as possible. Remember, you should enhance the audiences ability to grasp your message NOT state the entire message.
- Singular Idea . Develop only one major idea using targeted keywords that the audience can scan quickly, understand, and remember. Use words, not whole sentences. Eliminate (a, an, the , we, you, your, are, to). If you have to put text use no more than 7 words per line, 7 lines per slide.
- Use an effective template that enlivens boring content . Choose an effective color scheme. Limit color to no more than 3 per slide. Background color should reflect formality and tone. Cooler shades for more formal. Lighter shades for former. Use complementary foreground (text) colors that have high contrast the background to ensure readability.
- Use of Type : Use capital letters sparingly- only at begining of a sentence, important words, and property nouns. Choose an appealing font that can be read onscreen easily.
Types of Delivery
After you have organized your message, you must identify the appropriate delivery method, refine your vocal qualities, and practice your delivery. There are Four general business presentation methods:
- Memorized - Written out ahead of time, memorized, and recited verbatim. Benefits: Well planned in content and organization. Lends itself well to ceremonies. Negatives: Limited ability to react to feedback. Forgetting a point (mental block) can damage entire presentation. Can appear monotone.
- Manuscript or Scripted - Writing speech word for word and delivering to the audience. Benefits: Beneficial at technical conference presentations or when accuracy is absolutely critical. Beneficial when several presentations have to be given close together or you dont have as much time to prepare. Negatives: Limit speaker-audience rapport (particularly when the speaker fails to look up from the Manuscript). May use teleprompter to appear that you are speaking extemporaneously.
- Impromptu - Called on without prior notice (off-the-cuff). Benefits: It is a fundamental skill where you can demonstrate your knowledge at key or critical moments. If you can foresee the question arising, you may be able to prepare ahead of time and be very impressive in the presentation. Negatives: Often requires an experienced speak to analyze the request, organize supporting points from memory, and present a simple, logical response.
- Extemporaneous - Presentations are planned, prepared, and rehearsed but not written in detail. Brief words prompt the speaker on the next point, but words are chosen spontaneously as the speaker interacts with the audience and anticipates their needs. Includes body gestures, sounding conversational. Benefits: Can be delivered with great conviction, because the speaking is speaking with rather than to the audience. Negatives: Requires the most preparation. Most difficult type of presentation for teams difficult to coordinate for a uniform presentation style.
Preparation and Practice
Tips for effective preparation and practice include:
- Prepare Thoroughl. It is the best manner to control speech anxiety.
- Prepare Effective Presentation Support Tools . Follow the steps in the graphics chapter to develop a design that works for the presentation. Have a contingency plan in the event something goes wrong (technical glitches).
- Practice, Rather than Rehearse . You are working to deliver the presentation in a style that allows you to talk to the audience. Rehearsing can make the presentation sound mechanical, where practicing makes it more fluid.
- Spend additional time practicing the introduction and conclusion . Remember the conclusion is often the strongest and most memorable portion.
- Practice displaying the presentation visuals . This is very helpful and important in making certain the presentation is effortless and seamless. . Remember, these are just in support of your presentation they are not the presentation.
- Seek feedback from others . This will allow you to polish your performance and improve organization. You can also practice by presenting in front of a mirror.
- Arrive Early . This allows you to become familiar with the setup of the room and to check the equipment.
- Communicate confidence, warmth, and enthusiasm . Confident appearance with alert posture. Smile genuinely throughout the presentation. Maintain steady eye contact with the audience in random places throughout the room. Refine gestures to portray a relaxed, approachable appearance. Move from behind the lectern and toward the audience to reduce the barrier created between you and the audience.
- Exercise Strong Vocal Qualities - To maximize vocal strengths, focus on three important qualities of speech: Phonation, Articulation, and Pronunciation. Phonation The production and variation of the speakers vocal tone. (3 Primary Factors). Pitch The highness of lowness of the voice. The pitch should rise and fall to reflect emotions. Lower pitches are perceived to sound more authoritative. Higher pitches convey less confidence are can be perceived as whining. Volume Loudness of tones in your voice. Vary loudness to hold the audiences attention, emphasize words or idea, and create a desired atmosphere (energetic, excited, solemn, serious, etc.) Rate The Speed at which words are spoken. Vary the rate of speech with the demands of the situation. Speak at a lower rate when emphasizing an idea that is complex or a process. Use pauses to add emphasis to key points. Articulation Smooth, fluent, and pleasant speech resulting from the way a speak produces and joins sounds. Faulty articulation results from not carefully forming individual sounds. Dropping word endings, Running words together, Imprecise enunciation. This is not dialect (accent) which is a variation on pronunciation, usually of vowels. Techniques to improve clarity in your voice, educe strain and voice distortion, and increase your expressiveness with the following guidelines: Stand up straight, shoulders back, speak from diaphragm rather than head voice. Focus on completing the endings of all words, not running words together, and enunciating words correctly. Pronunciation - Use principles of phonetics to create accurate sounds, rhythm, stress, and intonation. A well-articulated word can still be mispronounced. There is often a preferable and acceptable pronunciation for lots of words. The key is choosing word pronunciation that is acceptable to the audience.
- Watch Your Audience - Read your audience to view the interest level.
- Use Your Visuals Effectively . Step to one side of the visual when you intend for the audience to see it. Paraphrase the visual rather than reading the text from it.
- Handle questions form the Audience . Be prepared to field questions that arise when you are giving the presentation. Keep Within the Time Limit. Be prepared for a question and answer period. Answer questions in a calm and non-combative manner. If you have a team, always have a moderator.
- Distribute handouts - Only when needed in the presentation. Try not to give out at beginning it distracts audience. Use to provide additional information at the end of the lecture.
- Culturally Diverse Audiences - Focus on the individual, rather than stereotyping a specific culture. Speak simply. Avoid words that trigger negative emotional responses. Enunciate each word precisely. Use jokes or humor cautiously. Learn cultures preference for a direct or indirect presentation. Adapt to subtle differences in nonverbal communication. Seek feedback to determine whether the audience is understanding our message.
- Team Presentations - Selecting your team members who are complimentary in skill and ability and have a social fit with other members. Agree on the Purpose and Schedule. Avoids lack of coordination. Submitting off-topic material. Practice ahead of time - Preparing an entire team is much for difficult than preparing oneself. Decide who will deliver what portion of the presentation. Work on transitions between segments of each presenter. Deliver as a team and field questions as a team.
- Communicating via Memoranda or Letter
- Electronic Communications
- Writing Business Reports
- Writing Business Proposals
- Business Presentations
- Digital Divide - Explained
- Determining Ethical Behavior in Negotiations - Explained
- Persuasive Tactics in a Negotiation - Explained
- Distributive Negotiation - Explained
Effective Presentation Skills for Business Communication
Professional presentation skills matter, and not just in the obvious way that you stand in front of the class and give your presentation. They matter even more in business communication, where you must be able to get your point across, persuade your audience and move them to action.
Your presentation skills can make or break your success as an entrepreneur, whether it’s getting investors on board or closing a high-stakes contract with another company.
These are the top 10 reasons why presentation skills matter in business communication and why they should be front and centre in any business communications strategy.
Why Presentation Skills Matter in Business Communication
1) you have to be clear.
You may have heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words. This could not be more accurate than when you are trying to communicate with your audience.
The power of visuals can convey the message you want to share and demonstrate how your product or service solves its problem in seconds.
A presentation should be thought of as a conversation, where you are talking with your audience. You want them to feel engaged and excited about what they see and you want them to know that there is a solution for their need. But if they don't understand what's being communicated, it can be confusing and frustrating for everyone involved.
2) You have to be concise
In business communication, presentation skills are vital. This is because you only have a short window of time to make a lasting impression on your audience.
With this being the case, it is important to ensure that you use your words and body language to convey your message. To do this, you need to be concise with your words as well as ensure that your posture and gestures match up with what you're trying to say.
Doing so will help ensure that the person listening will understand what you're trying to convey and feel confident in making a decision based on it.
3) You have to be credible
This may seem like a no-brainer, but credibility is crucial to everything you do. If you're not credible, your business will never get off the ground.
There are many ways to build credibility, and you can start by being honest with yourself and others about what you don't know.
Honesty earns trust and leads to opportunities for growth. It's also important to avoid blaming others when things go wrong; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn how you can improve.
If possible, provide feedback that doesn't hurt feelings. Lastly, be realistic about where you're at in life and your career so that you stay motivated rather than discouraged.
4) You have to be able to connect with your audience
No matter how good your product or service is, if you can't effectively communicate the value proposition to a potential customer, you're not likely to make a sale. To do this, you'll need to have excellent presentation skills so that people can connect with what you're saying and understand why they should buy from you.
To start with, your message must resonate with your audience. This means understanding their background knowledge on the topic and what interests them so that you can speak to these interests.
You should also be able to draw similarities between your product or service and something of interest to them - such as showing how it benefits both parties involved in a transaction.
5) You have to be able to control the room
Presenting your pitch is an opportunity to show the world what you're made of. It's not just a way to get your ideas across; it's a chance to sell yourself, and show people why they should believe in you.
You have to be able to control the room and make them understand what you're saying. The best way to do that is with strong presentation skills.
That means speaking, succinctly, and without rambling or going off on tangents. You also need to know how to handle objections: What if someone brings up some flaw in your business plan? How will you counter their point?
Know how to answer these questions before you start presenting so you can keep the conversation on track while still addressing their concerns.
6) You have to be able to handle questions
You will always be faced with questions about your business. There is no way to avoid it. You have to be able to handle them so that you can maintain your composure and control of the conversation. If you answer with confidence, you'll come across as confident and professional, which will make the prospect more likely to buy from you.
Another important skill is being able to close a sale: When a prospect comes into contact with your company, they're already interested. But not all prospects are going to buy right away. A good salesperson knows how to close a sale at just the right time so that they can get their commission and leave happy knowing they've sold something.
Presentation skills in general are crucial for any profession: These days, presentation skills matter for any profession--not just public speaking or marketing, or teaching--to attract potential clients or customers to hire you or visit your company or class.
7) You need to know your material
Knowing your material is a big part of having strong professional presentation skills . This is one of the most important skills to develop as it shows you have confidence and know what you're talking about.
For example, if you're presenting at an event and someone asks a question that you don't know the answer to, this will show. You want to practice answering all questions so that you feel comfortable and confident when speaking about your topic or company.
And it's always best to have some backup facts handy just in case someone throws a curveball at you! You need to be able to effectively communicate with people: For communication to happen, you need good listening skills and verbal communication skills.
It's easy for us humans to get carried away with our thoughts and not listen to what the other person is saying, but successful communication requires active listening - hearing and understanding both verbal language (words) and nonverbal cues (body language).
Sometimes we find ourselves caught up in our own emotions or thoughts and forget about others' feelings too. To communicate successfully, try asking open-ended questions that invite conversation like what do you think instead of closed-ended ones like do you agree?
8) You need to be passionate about your topic
Whether you're presenting to a small group or a large crowd, your ability to capture and maintain the audience's attention is crucial. Communicating effectively is all about getting your message across.
The way you deliver that message, with enthusiasm and the appropriate tone of voice, will have a direct impact on how well people can understand what you have to say. You want them to walk away from your presentation feeling empowered and excited about what they've learned – not confused or bored.
And when it comes down to it, isn't that really what any good speaker wants? A big part of being an effective presenter is understanding the needs of your audience.
How much background knowledge do they have on the subject at hand? What are their questions and concerns? Do they need to know more about a certain topic before diving into your main idea?
That requires deep research before going into an important meeting or speech - as does tailoring content specifically for an audience, whether it's adapting some existing material to fit their needs better or coming up with new examples that speak directly to their challenges.
9) You need to be prepared for the worst
You never know what will happen during a presentation, so it's best to be prepared for anything. You may need to speak on your feet and inform the audience of something that just happened, or you may need to step back from the podium and take an important phone call.
Whatever the scenario, you'll want to be able to handle it as smoothly as possible. That's where presentation skills come into play.
They're essential for anyone who needs to get their message across in a public setting - whether that means delivering an oral report or giving a speech at a conference.
10) Practice, practice, practice!
Practice, practice, practice! In the words of the famous American football coach Vince Lombardi, Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Practice your presentation skills with a friend or in front of a mirror to get feedback and see what parts need more work.
You'll also want to rehearse your slides and make sure they work on your computer before you present them to an audience. Avoid reading from the slides, as this can lead to a lack of eye contact with your audience.
Effective Presentation Skills Every Business Person Needs to Know
Do you have an upcoming presentation at work? Whether it’s in front of your boss or customers, giving a great speech can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. By being prepared, taking control of your fears, and engaging with your audience, you can give yourself the best possible chance of nailing that presentation! Here are 10 skills that will help you do just that.
1) The ability to capture and hold the attention
The ability to capture and hold attention is essential for any presentation. This can be done through the effective use of PowerPoint slides, voice inflection, and eye contact.
Slides should be designed with a clear message in mind and they should be kept simple so that the audience doesn't get bored or confused. Voice inflection is important because it allows the speaker to emphasize certain words or sentences which helps keep the audience engaged.
Eye contact is key because it allows the speaker to make a connection with those watching and makes them feel like they are being heard.
Effective communication skills are needed for this type of interaction because there need to be good listening skills as well as the ability to understand how another person is feeling based on their tone, body language, and facial expression. Good communication also means being able to say no without offending someone if necessary.
2) Strong eye contact
Strong eye contact is one of the most important things you can do in a presentation. Making eye contact with your audience will make them feel like they are being listened to and respected. It will also help keep their attention on what you're saying.
One way to maintain strong eye contact is by looking at the person who asked the question first and then glancing around the room before answering so that others can see that you're acknowledging their presence.
3) A clear, strong voice
To have a strong, clear voice, it is important to use proper breathing techniques and speak from the diaphragm.
This will allow you to speak loudly without straining your voice. To practice speaking with a strong voice, try this exercise: Stand up and place both hands on your stomach. Now exhale all of the air in your lungs (don't force the air out).
As you inhale, push your stomach out against your hands as though you are inflating a balloon. Keep pushing until you feel that your lungs are full of air and not empty. When you are ready, start speaking in an assertive tone.
If this exercise doesn't seem like it is working for you, try reading aloud from a book or magazine for about five minutes.
Many skills are important for business success. Knowledge of the industry, excellent negotiation skills, and knowing how to navigate a tricky situation can all come in handy. However, there is one skill that trumps them all: effective presentation skills .
There is nothing more important than being able to communicate clearly and effectively with others. You need to be able to speak with confidence and sound like you know what you are talking about even if you don't have a clue what's going on!
What should I do? I'm so nervous! What's my audience going to think about me? These are just a few of the thoughts that run through one's mind during the lead-up to a presentation.
It's understandable and important that people should be nervous when it comes time for them to present, but it can be detrimental if they let those nerves get the best of them. For this reason, here are some tips on how you can help your business presentation go off without a hitch.
Practice oral presentations in business communication in front of friends or family before presenting. Make sure you have all your materials and notes in order beforehand so you don't have any distractions while presenting.
One of the most important aspects of presentation skills in business communication is being confident. It's not enough that you have a well-thought-out idea and are prepared to back it up with facts and figures, if you don't believe in your presentation, then why should anyone else?
To make a great first impression, stand up straight with your shoulders squared. Smile when you make eye contact with people, even if it feels fake at first. When speaking, don't mumble or rush your words. Speak clearly and slowly so that people can follow along easily.
Poise is the most important aspect of a presentation. It's what keeps the speaker calm, confident, and in control. Here are a few tips for maintaining poise:
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back, looking at the audience instead of your notes. This will make you feel more confident and poised.
- Try not to shift around too much and keep your hands at your sides or on the podium unless they're gesturing while you talk.
- Use an even tone of voice that is neither too loud nor too soft. -Don't move around excessively and avoid distracting movements like fidgeting or chewing gum. Practice making eye contact with the audience, but don't stare them down since this can make people uncomfortable or nervous.
8) The ability to handle questions with ease
No matter how well you have prepared, there is always a chance that someone will ask a question you haven't anticipated. This is where your presentation skills come in handy.
Be sure to always have an answer and be able to present it confidently. You don't want your audience wondering if you know what you're talking about. Furthermore, if someone asks a question that is outside the scope of your topic, redirect them back with a solid response.
Before you can even begin the presentation, your preparation will determine the quality of your message and how it resonates with your audience. To ensure that you are ready for any situation, we recommend:
- Doing some research about the company or organization to which you are presenting. Understanding their core values and what they do makes a big difference in how you deliver your message.
- Practicing in front of a mirror or with friends and family until you are comfortable enough with what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- Dressing appropriately for the occasion by wearing clothes that won't distract from what you're saying but also fit into the culture of where the event is being held.
It's important to be natural when you present. Practice your presentation in front of friends and family members and get their feedback on how you're coming across.
When delivering a presentation, make sure that you are making eye contact with the audience, not looking down at your laptop screen or phone screen, standing up straight, and projecting your voice so that the audience can hear what you are saying.
There is nothing worse than a presenter who walks around the stage or fidgets in place during their presentation because it distracts from the message that they are trying to convey.
It is also important to have good posture when presenting as it will help make you look confident and authoritative. If you find yourself feeling nervous before a presentation, try practicing some deep breathing exercises before going on stage.
As a business person, you know how important is professional presentation skills to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
Of course, professional presentation skills can also be useful in everyday life, whether you’re selling yourself on the job market or asking your partner to babysit the kids for one more night so you can go out with friends.
Our School of Meaningful Experiences (SoME) creates and delivers transformative communication programs designed to meet the workplace challenges of the post-pandemic 21st century. Effective communication is an essential skill for today's modern professionals and leaders. With it, you can confidently manage conflict, collaborate with others and successfully develop yourself.
We offer both onsite and online training programs based on the needs of your organization; from one-day workshops to three-month diploma programs. Our instructors are highly experienced professionals with extensive backgrounds in different industries such as law enforcement or even diplomacy! They will teach you how to handle difficult conversations in a way that is respectful but also gets results. Whether it's dealing with an argument with a spouse or having difficult conversations at work—we have something for everyone!
What are effective presentation skills?
Effective presentation skills are what every businessperson needs to know. They are a crucial aspect of the business world, and without them, someone may not be able to succeed or thrive in their field. While there is no one right way to give an effective presentation, there are some basics that can help make it as successful as possible.
Why is presentation skill important in business communication?
If you are a business person, you must have strong presentation skills. A presentation is a way for you to tell your story, and it's an opportunity for you to establish credibility with the people in the room. You want them to feel engaged and entertained, but most of all, you want them to feel like they can trust what you say.
What is a presentation in business communication?
A presentation is a short speech delivered in front of an audience. Depending on the type of presentation, the audience may be composed of your coworkers or clients, or a mixture of both. Effective presentations are well-organized and planned with an objective in mind.
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Chapter 10. Designing and Delivering Presentations
In this chapter.
- Strategies for developing professional oral presentations and designing clear, functional slides
- Discussion of what makes presentations challenging and practical advice for becoming a more engaging and effective presenter
- Tips for extending the concepts of high quality presentations to creating videos and posters
Presentations are one of the most visible forms of professional or technical communication you will have to do in your career. Because of that and the nature of being put “on the spot,” presentations are often high pressure situations that make many people anxious. As with the other forms of communication described in this guide, the ability to present well is a skill that can be practiced and honed.
When we think of presentations, we typically imagine standing in front of a room (or auditorium) full of people, delivering information verbally with slides projected on a screen. Variations of that scene are common. Keep in mind, though, that the skills that make you a strong presenter in that setting are incredibly valuable in many other situations, and they are worth studying and practicing.
Effective presentation skills are the ability to use your voice confidently to communicate in “live” situations—delivering information verbally and “physically,” being able to engage your audience, and thinking on your feet. It also translates to things like videos, which are a more and more common form of communication in professional spheres. You will have a number of opportunities during your academic career to practice your presentation skills, and it is worth it to put effort into developing these skills. They will serve you well in myriad situations beyond traditional presentations, such as interviews, meetings, networking, and public relations.
This chapter describes best practices and tips for becoming an effective presenter in the traditional sense, and also describes how best practices for presentation skills and visuals apply to creating videos and posters.
Process for Planning, Organizing, and Writing Presentations
Similar to any other piece of writing or communication, to design a successful presentation, you must follow a thoughtful writing process (see Engineering Your Writing Process ) that includes planning, drafting, and getting feedback on the presentation content, visuals, and delivery (more on that in the following section).Following is a simple and comprehensive way to approach “writing” a presentation:
Step 1: Identify and state the purpose of the presentation. Find focus by being able to clearly and simply articulate the goal of the presentation—what are you trying to achieve? This is helpful for you and your audience—you will use it in your introduction and conclusion, and it will help you draft the rest of the presentation content.
Step 2: Outline major sections. Next, break the presentation content into sections. Visualizing sections will also help you assess organization and consider transitions from one idea to the next. Plan for an introduction, main content sections that help you achieve the purpose of the presentation, and a conclusion.
Step 3: Draft content. Once you have an outline, it’s time to fill in the details and plan what you are actually going to say. Include an introduction that gives you a chance to greet the audience, state the purpose of the presentation, and provide a brief overview of the rest of the presentation (e.g. “First, we will describe the results of our study, then we’ll outline our recommendations and take your questions”). Help your audience follow the main content of the presentation by telling them as you move from one section of your outline to the next—use the structure you created to keep yourself and your audience on track.
End with a summary, restating the main ideas (purpose) from the presentation and concluding the presentation smoothly (typically thanking your audience and offering to answering any questions from your audience). Ending a presentation can be tricky, but it’s important because it will make a lasting impression with your audience—don’t neglect to plan out the conclusion carefully.
Step 4: Write presentation notes. For a more effective presentation style, write key ideas, data, and information as lists and notes (not a complete, word-for-word script). This allows you to ensure you are including all the vital information without getting stuck reading a script. Your presentation notes should allow you to look down, quickly reference important information or reminders, and then look back up at your audience.
Step 5: Design supporting visuals. Now it’s time to consider what types of visuals will best help your audience understand the information in your presentation. Typically, presentations include a title slide, an overview or advance organizer, visual support for each major content section, and a conclusion slide. Use the visuals to reinforce the organization of your presentation and help your audience see the information in new ways.
Don’t just put your notes on the slides or use visuals that will be overwhelming or distracting—your audience doesn’t need to read everything you’re saying, they need help focusing on and really understanding the most important information. See Designing Effective Visuals .
At each step of the way, assess audience and purpose and let them affect the tone and style of your presentation. What does your audience already know? What do you want them to remember or do with the information? Use the introduction and conclusion in particular to make that clear.
For in-class presentations, look at the assignment or ask the instructor to make sure you’re clear on who your audience is supposed to be. As with written assignments, you may be asked to address an imagined audience or design a presentation for a specific situation, not the real people who might be in the room.
In summary, successful presentations
- have a stated purpose and focus;
- are clearly organized, with a beginning, middle, and end;
- guide the audience from one idea to the next, clearly explaining how ideas are connected and building on the previous section; and
- provide multiple ways for the audience to absorb the most important information (aurally and visually).
Developing a Strong Presentation Style
Since presentation are delivered to the audience “live,” review and revise it as a verbal and visual presentation, not as a piece of writing. As part of the “writing” process, give yourself time to practice delivering your presentation out loud with the visuals . This might mean practicing in front of a mirror or asking someone else to listen to your presentation and give you feedback (or both!). Even if you have a solid plan for the presentation and a strong script, unexpected things will happen when you actually say the words—timing will feel different, you will find transitions that need to be smoothed out, slides will need to be moved.
More importantly, you will be better able to reach your audience if you are able to look up from your notes and really talk to them—this will take practice.
Characteristics of a Strong Presentation Style
When it comes time to practice delivery, think about what has made a presentation and a presenter more or less effective in your past experiences in the audience. What presenters impressed you? Or bored you? What types of presentation visuals keep your attention? Or are more useful?
One of the keys to an effective presentation is to keep your audience focused on what matters—the information—and avoid distracting them or losing their attention with things like overly complicated visuals, monotone delivery, or disinterested body language.
As a presenter, you must also bring your own energy and show the audience that you are interested in the topic—nothing is more boring than a bored presenter, and if your audience is bored, you will not be successful in delivering your message.
Verbal communication should be clear and easy to listen to; non-verbal communication (or body language) should be natural and not distracting to your audience. The chart below outlines qualities of both verbal and non-verbal communication that impact presentation style. Use it as a sort of “rubric” as you assess and practice your own presentation skills.
As you plan and practice a presentation, be aware of time constraints. If you are given a time limit (say, 15 minutes to deliver a presentation in class or 30 minutes for a conference presentation), respect that time limit and plan the right amount of content. As mentioned above, timing must be practiced “live”—without timing yourself, it’s difficult to know how long a presentation will actually take to deliver.
Finally, remember that presentations are “live” and you need to stay alert and flexible to deal with the unexpected:
- Check in with your audience. Ask questions to make sure everything is working (“Can everyone hear me ok?” or “Can you see the screen if I stand here?”) and be willing to adapt to fix any issues.
- Don’t get so locked into a script that you can’t improvise. You might need to respond to a question, take more time to explain a concept if you see that you’re losing your audience, or move through a planned section more quickly for the sake of time. Have a plan and be able to underscore the main purpose and message of your presentation clearly, even if you end up deviating from the plan.
- Expect technical difficulties. Presentation equipment fails all the time—the slide advancer won’t work, your laptop won’t connect to the podium, a video won’t play, etc. Obviously, you should do everything you can to avoid this by checking and planning, but if it does, stay calm, try to fix it, and be willing to adjust your plans. You might need to manually advance slides or speak louder to compensate for a faulty microphone. Also, have multiple ways to access your presentation visuals (e.g., opening Google Slides from another machine or having a flash drive).
Developing Strong Group Presentations
Group presentations come with unique challenges. You might be a confident presenter individually, but as a member of a group, you are dealing with different presentation styles and levels of comfort.
Here are some techniques and things to consider to help groups work through the planning and practicing process together:
- Transitions and hand-off points. Be conscious of and plan for smooth transitions between group members as one person takes over the presentation from another. Awkward or abrupt transitions can become distracting for an audience, so help them shift their attention from one speaker to the next. You can acknowledge the person who is speaking next (“I’ll hand it over to Sam who will tell you about the results”) or the person who’s stepping in can acknowledge the previous speaker (“So, I will build on what you just heard and explain our findings in more detail”). Don’t spend too much time on transitions—that can also become distracting. Work to make them smooth and natural.
- Table reads. When the presentation is outlined and written, sit around a table together and talk through the presentation—actually say what you will say during the presentation, but in a more casual way. This will help you check the real timing (keep an eye on the clock) and work through transitions and hand-off points. (Table reads are what actors do with scripts as part of the rehearsal process.)
- Body language. Remember that you are still part of the presentation even when you’re not speaking. Consider non-verbal communication cues—pay attention to your fellow group members, don’t block the visuals, and look alert and interested.
Designing Effective Visuals
Presentation visuals (typically slides, but could be videos, props, handouts, etc.) help presenters reinforce important information by giving the audience a way to see as well as hear the message. As with all other aspects of presentations, the goal of visuals is to aid your audience’s understanding, not overwhelm or distract them. One of the most common ways visuals get distracting is by using too much text. Plan and select visuals aids carefully—don’t just put your notes on the screen, but use the visuals to reinforce important information and explain difficult concepts.
The slides below outline useful strategies for designing professional, effective presentation slides.
- Write concise text. Minimize the amount of reading you ask your audience to do by using only meaningful keywords, essential data and information, and short phrases. Long blocks of text or full paragraphs are almost never useful.
- Use meaningful titles. The title should reveal the purpose of the slide. Its position on the slide is highly visible—use it to make a claim or assertion, identify the specific focus of the slide, or ask a framing question.
- Use images and graphics. Wherever possible, replace wordy descriptions with visuals. Well chosen images and graphics will add another dimension to the message you are trying to communicate. Make sure images are clear and large enough for your audience to see and understand in the context of the presentation.
- Keep design consistent. The visual style of the slides should be cohesive. Use the same fonts, colors, borders, backgrounds for similar items (e.g., all titles should be styled the same way, all photos should have the same size and color border). This does not mean every slide needs to look identical, but they should be a recognizable set.
- Use appropriate contrast. Pay attention to how easy it is to see elements on the screen. Whatever colors you choose, backgrounds and overlaid text need to be some version of light/dark. Avoid positioning text over a patterned or “busy” background—it is easy for the text to get lost and become unreadable. Know that what looks ok on your computer screen might not be as clear when projected.
- Create a structure for your presentation or video that clearly supports your goal.
- Practice effective verbal and non-verbal communication to become comfortable with your content and timing. If you are presenting as a group, practice together.
- Use visuals that support your message without distracting your audience.
Fundamentals of Engineering Technical Communications Copyright © by Leah Wahlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.