Presentation Training and Tips to Engage Your Audience

Presentation skills are just that – learned and honed techniques that help you share ideas with an audience. Skillful delivery, wrapped around clear and concise storytelling, can motivate and inspire the listener to act. Or, you can achieve the opposite with text-heavy, slide-driven monotone monologues that leave your audience scrolling on their phones or wishing for a nap.

Whether you are pitching a new concept, training and motivating employees or delivering essential corporate news to the investor community, the opportunity to deliver an impactful presentation must be treated as a strategic business opportunity.

Preparation Matters

Extemporaneous, stream-of-consciousness presentations are not effective, as your audience doesn’t have ESP and can’t possibly know how to follow your thoughts as you form them. Take the time to prepare your talk – and by time, we mean days and weeks. Not while you’re getting dressed for the event.

Start first with the primary concept, focusing on the audience and why your idea is important to them. From there, establish the most compelling and memorable way to share your idea – find the anecdote or story that converts the idea from words into a mentally-stimulating image. Finally, guide the audience through the detail that supports your primary concept.

Always give context first and details second. Dig for why your audience should care and start there. Simon Sinek’s TedxPuget Sound illustrates the power of “why” beautifully.

Building PowerPoint Last

Only after you develop your verbal story and work through your delivery and technique should you worry about your “slides.” The best visual support for a presentation should be just that – supportive and visual. Use images or tight graphics to illustrate your commentary and the details supporting the main idea.

Work on Vocals and Gestures

So now that you have your main points and details clearly outlined and you have prepared your content both verbally and visually, it’s best to spend some time practicing how you will deliver your message. Paying attention to your pacing, vocals and gestures can make the difference between your audience gobbling up your information or zoning out.

Want to learn more? Common Ground Public Relations offers presentation training for executives and teams, one-on-one or in large groups, to turn them into compelling storytellers.

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