What They Don’t Tell You About Presentations

The ability to present well is a crucial skill for business professionals. Understanding how to captivate an audience in order to deliver a persuasive message can help you land a new job, hit your sales targets, influence decision-makers, or get you that promotion you have been working towards. As a result, there is a lot of advice on how to give the perfect presentation. While these tips and strategies are certainly useful, it can also be helpful to get the insider info on what they don’t tell you about presentations. This information can help prepare you for the task ahead and the reality of giving a presentation. Here are a few of the things you may not have heard about presentations. 

75% of people suffer from a fear of public speaking. 

There are countless tips and tricks for preparing the perfect content, but it’s important to note that you must be able to speak in front of a crowd in order to deliver that content. This can be a challenge for many, considering the staggeringly high number of people who fear public speaking. Therefore, it might be worth your while to focus on overcoming that fear before focusing all of your energy on the presentation itself. 

An inability to present well can impact your career. 

As if the pressure to overcome your fear isn’t enough, now you are faced with the reality that people who have a fear of presenting will make less money and get passed over for jobs. This doesn’t mean you have to give up, it just means it will be well worth your while to invest some time in presentation training. 

Good presentations require loads of preparation. 

As you research tips for giving a good presentation, it might seem simple enough. If you just follow these few important steps, your presentation will turn out great! Wrong! The truth is, preparing a presentation takes a tremendous amount of time and practice. You must make sure your content is thought-provoking, your format is well-constructed, your visuals are engaging, and your delivery is spot on. This takes lots of preparation and practice, so give yourself plenty of time!

You need to talk less to engage more. 

All too often presenters are so focused on what they are going to say and they don’t realize that this is not the best way to engage the audience. Research suggests that presenters who do all the talking lose audience engagement by nearly 20%. Instead, presenters should look for ways to interact with the audience. Provide plenty of opportunities for questions, invited audience members to participate, take polls, or break into small groups.  All of these activities make your presentation more interactive so your audience will be more engaged. 

Adding Humor or ad-libbing can increase audience engagement. 

Many people fear that bringing humor into their presentation because they worry that they aren’t funny or that the topic is too serious. However, audiences respond well to humor. Studies have shown that audience attention levels peak when humor is used. Likewise, audiences appreciate a speaker who will ad-lib a bit and veer off script. It comes across as more genuine and authentic and audiences are drawn to someone who is real. 

Your body language is as important as your content.

Oftentimes, presenters spend all of their time preparing their content and do not pay any mind to their body language. However, no one should ever underestimate the importance of body language when presenting. What you do with your body and how you deliver the content is just as important as what you say. The way you stand, the way you move, the way you hold your arms and hands, and your facial expressions can all have a huge impact on your presentation. It can make you appear confident and commanding or it can cause you to lose your credibility. Therefore, spend time practicing your body language and even film yourself so you are aware of your body language when you present.