5 Tips for Giving a Memorable Presentation

5 Tips for Giving a Memorable Presentation

Delivering a memorable presentation is simple. You need to make sure you have content the audience will remember and deliver it in a way that projects confidence, credibility and competence. It’s simple, but not easy. It takes time, skill and practice to master skills to pull it off like a pro.

Here are some simple tactics that will let you leave a lasting impression:

It all Starts with Your Content

  • Define and communicate your purpose, objectives and intended outcomes. Why are you talking to this audience and what do you want them to do when you’re finished? Answer the audience question ‘Why am I here?’ before they ask it.
  • Create an audience-centered structure.Make it easy for them to follow, understand and act on. Everything you say is for them, not you, and is aimed at helping them accomplish the objectives that brought them in the room to begin with.
  • Identify your main point. That’s the single message you’d deliver if you only had 10 seconds to talk to the audience. Everything else you say should support your main point. Focusing in makes it easier for the audience to understand – even when the subject is complex.
  • Use specific language they can all understand and relate to.
  • Make it a conversational dialogue, not a monologue. Say Today, we’ll discuss ,rather than Today, Ill tell you –  even if you do all the talking.

Get Them at Hello

  • Spend lots of time crafting a concise and focused intro. It may be the most important part of your presentation. It will set the tone and expectations for what is to follow. The audience will be influenced most by what they hear first.
  • Indicate your main point and sub-points that will support it.
  • Stress why this information is important to them, their organization, the world.
  • Don’t introduce yourself and your credentials unless no one introduced you already and the audience doesn’t know who you are. Then, make it short and simple. Work it into the presentation to reinforce your expertise. But don’t start with your resume.
  • Let the audience know the format of the presentation and when to ask questions.

Nail Your Ending

  • The audience will remember most what they hear last, so don’t end with your last answer.
  • To project more confidence and audience-centricity, invite questions anytime. This tactic demands skill on your part to stay on task and on time and not let the questions throw you off.
  • If that won’t work for you, indicate that you’ll invite questions at the end of each main sub-point. This still takes skill and focus.
  • If questions during your presentation won’t work, ask the audience to hold questions until the end. After finishing your last sub-point, but before your summary or conclusion, invite questions. Watch the time and indicate when there’s time for one more. Answer it, pause and go into your show-stopping ending.
  • No matter how you approach Q & A, anticipate as many questions as you can and have concise answers thought out ahead of time. The fewer the words, the better the answer.
  • With the real important questions, include that content in your message.

Sound Like a Pro

  • Slow down. Talking slower will make it easier for the audience to follow your content and process your message. Remember that this is the first time they’re hearing it and some people may be translating it into their primary language.
  • Speak up, even with a mic. Louder volume projects confidence and credibility. It also slows you down. Audiences respond to that.
  • Harness silence. Pause longer and more often at appropriate points in your content. Pauses slow you down, allow for comfortable glances at notes or sips of water and also project confidence and credibility.

Look Like a Pro

  • Smile and look like you belong up there and are having fun. Don’t show fear or stress on your face.
  • Sustain eye contact on each person or group for a thought. One or two short sentences work well (8 to 10 seconds). Then, move to a new face or group IN SILENCE and begin talking again. Don’t scan.
  • Stand or sit comfortably, but look like you’re in charge and energetic. Don’t sway, rock or walk around without a purpose.
  • Gesture above your waist for emphasis or expression. Avoid nervous fidgets, holding your hands together, holding them behind your back or putting them in your pockets.

Mastering these steps will enable you to give a presentation that will make you stand out from the pack.

Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication and empowers business leaders to communicate confidently. A popular trainer and executive coach on workplace communications and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.  See Phil Stella's full bio here.