Six Simple Tips That Will Make Your Presentations and Talks More Compelling

Public speaking and giving presentations is an implied part of running a small business, but it's rarely discussed directly. Often, events that require it are discussed, such as board meetings and networking events. Few ideas are capable of being compelling regardless of delivery. For your company to succeed, you must present your thoughts in a manner that reaches the audience in the most efficient way possible.

1.    Present To the Whole Room

Many presenters often target the most important people in the room, and it's easy to see why. Targeting bigwigs like influencers and bosses seems efficient. If you get them, you maximize value for your effort - at least in theory. 

What actually ends up happening is the majority of your audience gets bored. Properly catering the presentation to a specific person means it only appeals to them. If you capture someone else's attention, it'll be an accident.

Target the entire room.

If they're in the meeting or event, they're important. There's nothing wrong with catering a small part of it to someone special, but the foundation of the presentation must be for all attendees.

2.    Utilize Visuals Only When Necessary

Pictures may speak a thousand words, but if you use them wrong the only message you'll send is that you didn't think things through.

Too many pictures and people will have trouble interpreting your intent and message.

Don't add a graph or a picture unless it will help clarify your points or make them easier to understand. If you do add something, make sure it's understandable. A highly detailed graph may seem informative up close, but on a projector you'll just overwhelm the audience.

3.    Stick to Large Fonts

Big font sizes may look silly when you're putting slides together, but they're necessary for a readable slide. The audience won't be looking at your slides from their computers, they're going to see it from their seats.

Bigger fonts will not only make things more readable, it'll make statements pop and look more important.

4.    Keep It Short

People have more in their lives than your presentation. They have their own agendas, small businesses, and meetings to attend to. While your audience clearly found the idea of your presentation compelling enough to attend, it doesn't mean they're willing to sit for hours just to listen to you.

Brevity is not only the soul of wit, but the heart of an effective presentation.

No one ever said "That was a long meeting" in a positive tone. Don't muck about. Get straight to the headline. Respect the audience's time and they'll give you the time of day.

5.    Use a Little Humor

Running a business is a serious endeavor, but that doesn't mean you can't have a few laughs along the way. Very rarely is the topic or content of a presentation so grave that humor would be out of place.

A little bit of humor will not only keep people paying attention, it'll make your message more memorable.

6.    Be a Storyteller

While there is immense value in brevity, there is also value in taking a moment to tell a story that helps emphasize your point. Many times, the content of your presentation won't get people jumping out of your chairs, and that's OK. Most presentations are about profit margins and other such numbers. It's boring but necessary information.

However, nothing should stop you from punching up the presentation with a good and related story. The story of how the case study proved a product's viability, for example, is far more compelling that telling people that it works. There's no need to throw it out there in one go either. Weave the story into the presentation. Not only will it make it more compelling, it'll improve its flow.

Aside from these tips, practice is the only thing that will improve your presentations.

Applying these tips may get overwhelming at the start, but the more presentations you give, the easier it'll get. Study your audience after you give the presentation so you know if they took it well. Don't be afraid of experimenting either - what works for others may not work for you.

-- Chetan