We judge a person within 3 seconds of meeting them. That’s how long you have to make a good impression!
This sounds harsh – I know, and in most situations you have the opportunity to develop a relationship based on who the other person actually is, rather than their physical attributes. It’s not about whether or not you have been blessed with good looks – it’s about whether or not you project a “good look”
So what is a good look? It comprises you as a whole – body language for instance accounts for up to 85% of communication – only 15% is carried through the words you use. A huge portion of what we are judged on then is our body language
which must therefore be open, friendly, confident, inviting. Whether you are presenting to a group or an individual, your success is going to be based on how comfortable you made them feel. If you invite your audience in to participate with you on the journey you are about to take them on, you’ve won half the battle. Remaining aloof and talking at them will most certainly translate into losing their interest.
Here are some of the ‘do’s’ of presentation skills:
• Prepare thoroughly.
Research your subject – you need to have a deep understanding of your subject matter. In fact, the amount you present should be the tip of the iceberg with the vast majority of what you are talking about residing within your brain! This is important because if you need to go off topic or answer questions, you will be drawing from this well of knowledge and your credibility will be firmly established.
• Professionalism does not equate to learning your speech and reciting it verbatim like a robot.
This is a sure fire way of losing your audience. Professionalism is actually about proper preparation, reading your audience and adjusting your presentation accordingly where possible.
• Bring your authentic self into the presentation.
People don’t react well to phoneys. They would much rather get to know you. Bringing yourself into the presentation shows them that you are OK with being a little vulnerable.
• If you make a mistake, tell them you have.
Don’t just gloss over it and hope no one picked it up. Rather use the opportunity to fix it by bringing them on board – often with gentle, self-deprecating humour – then move on.
• Your presentation materials must be ordered and appropriate.
If you are giving a presentation in a sales situation, make sure your card, company information and quotation are all neatly contained in a folder.
• Make a list of the props that you will need.
If you are going to be using any electronic media, find out if there is a projector available, a white board if necessary and so on. Check if all the cables, power points etc. that you will be using are available and compatible with your equipment.
• Dress appropriately.
You want your audience to listen to you and not be distracted by your multi-coloured top!
• Start off with an ice-breaker.
Starting with a game, appropriate joke or an anecdote can be useful.
• Finally, I can’t stress enough the importance of subject knowledge, preparation and relating to your audience
. From this, you will draw the self-confidence you need to get your message across and hopefully have some fun doing so!
Staff Training is a national soft skills training provider. Contact us at 0861 996 660 or drop us an email.