You have 4 seconds to make an impression. (The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, in 2015 it was 8.25 seconds!)
Phew, is that a challenge or what! The takeaway is that if you want to make the right impression, you need to be prepared. And making the right impression is something you will be wanting to do at different times of your life, be that in an interview, with your customers, with your colleagues, in a business pitch, making a presentation, on a date – goodness knows!
Delivering a good presentation doesn’t mean standing in front of an audience – you are presenting yourself all the time. Whether that’s in the queue at the supermarket, at a party, or at work. But before you freak out and think you can’t step out of the house without a 3 piece suit on or full battle make-up, take a step back and think about what you already have that makes you interesting and someone to listen to and engage with. We don’t have time here to work through that with you, so spend some time on picking 3 things that work for you.
Now for a few tips to help you master the art of your presenting…
1. Make very sure you are very clear about what you want as a result from your presentation or your ASK. If you don’t have a proper objective, you’re likely to go off piste, flounder and lose your focus.
2. Practice – practice – practice. Unless you are one of those lucky people who is great at impactful improvising, prepare your presentation in advance, rehearse it until you feel fluent and comfortable, and practice it out loud! If possible, get feedback from someone that you trust before you launch yourself on your audience.
3. A top tip from the master of Apple – Make it all about your audience, whether it is an audience of one or millions. Know who you are going to be addressing, think about them as you would your ideal customer, how can you give them some benefit and what hassles can you relieve them of.
4. “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” (Thank you Lily Walters). Back to the preparation and practice piece. With an added peppering of good clear language so there is no confusion or possibility to misunderstand your intentions and your message. Be sure the message you are giving out is the message they are receiving.
And finally, some ideas that might help you….
* For an impactful opening – A discussion of traditional and modern roles within a relationship recently revealed “Oh, we have always had a great arrangement; I make all the small decisions and my husband makes all the big ones.” Shock horror around the table until the speaker continued “And all our decisions are small ones” (accompanied with a wry smile).
* For a good compelling finish – “We are sure you can now see how much your contribution will improve the lives of ….. Before you go, tell us how you would like to make your donation…”
* And some humour, the right sort at the right time, relevant and properly delivered – “ At the very start, let me say that we both have something in common. You don’t know what I’m going to say… and neither do I.” (Thanks to Robert Orben from his Speaker’s Handbook of Humour).