People ask me loads of questions about presentations. So here are 11 FAQs and answers that can help you transform your presentations.
By doing something engaging at the start. For example:
Keep doing engaging things. Think of all the things audiences like - stories, humour, impressive visuals and so on. And ensure you do at least one of them every one to two minutes.
There are two - the beginning and the end. The start must engage - use one of the starts suggested in Q1 above, deliver it with lots of energy, have a good title and ensure Slide One looks impressive.
And the end must contain a Call To Action. If it doesn't, your audience won't act. For example, if your last slide says "thank you", they'll merely say "you're welcome" and then leave. If it says "Next steps", there'll be some.
The answer to Q3 showed how to start and end. But what about everything in between? Well, there are two structures that work well.
Firstly, to build a logical argument, use the 4Ps:
Or use this structure to build buy-in to change:
One excellent way: don't use them. Or, minimise the words on them, so there's nothing to read. And/or press "B" or "W" to black/white the screen, so they can't see them.
The key rule: avoid bullet points. Trust me on this: nobody loves them. There's always a better way to present information. For example, click on the PowerPoint tool SmartArt (in the Insert tab) and you'll see loads of formats - barcharts, flowcharts etc - you can drop your points into. Also, high-quality images work well. Go to Google images, type in your keywords and you'll find hundreds of them.
Ask questions. Obvious, I know. But people rarely think their questions are part of the presentation. Instead, they prepare their slides, and practise their run-through - but they don't script/practise questions. Which means they tend not to ask any. So it isn't interactive.
Also, when thinking of questions, ensure they're thought-provoking - "Which of these five benefits will your customers find most valuable?"; not bland - "Any questions? Anybody? Please? Nobody? OK then..."
Never, ever finish late. Even if the audience seems to love what you're saying, you finishing late makes them late for the next thing in their diary. Trust me on this: they won't ever be grateful to you for this.
Here's a very handy hint: when you need to jump ahead in your slides, simply press the slide number you want to go to and the Return key - you'll jump straight there. The audience won't know you've jumped. Of course, you need to know what the slide numbers are; so, print them out in advance.
Don't rely on it. Take a paper copy with you, so you have notes to present from.
Use notes. But put these notes on a hand-held card/piece of paper on your desk, not on the big shiny screen that your audience is looking at. Your notes help only you; the screen helps only them.
Lots of ways, including:
Copyright © 2015 Andy Bounds. Andy is a communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips.