Giving a fantastic business presentation can often be the difference between making a big sale and losing that sale. Business people who can create and give inspiring business presentations achieve more success in their career. Therefore, if you want to be more successful in your career, becoming great at giving business presentations should be a top priority for you.
In this blog post we are going to discuss the top 10 ways you can improve your business presentation skills to help you become a master presenter. We are going to use Steve Jobs as an example as he was considered to be the best of the best at giving inspiring business presentations that led to tremendous growth at the companies he ran, Apple in particular.
Steve Jobs gave astonishing presentations because he knew how to keep his audience entertained, inspired, and informed. We will now discuss the techniques he used for giving presentations.
1. Minimize Slide Content
For starters, only include the core, most essential information in your presentations. The best way to do this is by following the Steve Jobs model where he would get on stage with a single goal in mind. He would then proceed to structure his presentation around achieving that single goal.
Steve understood that presentation slides work best when they only include a few high impact words per slide. As such, he only used 19 words in the first 3 minutes of his iPhone presentation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN4U5FqrOdQ), and he distributed those 19 words across 12 different slides. A big mistake people make when creating their presentation slides is they put every word they are going to say on each slide, which creates very text heavy, boring, and hard to read slides. That is the WRONG way to create slides and give a presentation. The right way is to only include a few high impact words per slide to support the major point you are trying to make. You want your audience looking at you and listening to you — not ignoring you and trying to read the big ugly blocks of text on your slides.
If you follow this model of only using a few high impact words per slide, or a single image per slide, your presentations will always sound more coherent and professional. Audiences will also like and respect you because the information you present will be easier for them to digest and understand.
Therefore, only include the most important content that will help you achieve your core goal and leave everything else out. The key to presentation success is absolute focus and simplicity — not throwing the kitchen sink at your audience and drowning them in information overload.
2. Focus on Your End Goal
Steve Jobs was a master at building companies starting from scratch. He built Apple using his ideas and vision for what he wanted the future to be. His relentless focus on achieving his goals enabled him to deliver very exciting and inspiring presentations that are still being discussed today.
To be like Steve Jobs, always have your core goal in mind and how you can acheive that goal through your presentation before you start crafting your presentation. Then, like a great attorney, use the information you include in your presentation to build a perfect case for why your audience should take whatever action you want them to take to help you achieve your goal.
People often have problems creating and delivering impactful business presentations simply because they don’t focus on achieving one single goal with their presentation, and they instead try to cover too many different topics and they leave their audience confused, bored, and with lost in information overload. To be successful with presentations, focus on achieving one goal and focus every word in your presentation on achieving that one goal.
To ensure that you shine in your business presentations, you need to remain confident, energetic, conversational, and charismatic. People are attracted to an individual who is extremely confident and charismatic, which is one of the reasons why Steve Jobs was such a master presenter. Steve gave his presentations as if he was giving a one-man show on Broadway. He became a master showman. He would rehearse his presentations over and over so he knew his performance would be absolutely perfect. You will also notice that Steve talked slowly during his presentations. He did that because people who talk slower are viewed as being more confident and a leader.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to hide behind your slides and just read the words off your slides. You should be giving the presentation and the performance–not your slides. People don’t want to sit there watching you read text off of your slides. That is incredibly boring and that is how unsuccessful amateurs give business presentations. If you want to be a pro, think of your presentation more like a one-person Broadway show where your slides are more of a helpful background prop than the focus of your presentation.
4. Tailor Your Presentation to Your Audience
Business presentations are an excellent opportunity to engage with your audience while persuading them to see things from your point of view. A good strategy that has helped many business leaders improve their presentations is to meet and greet the audience right before getting up on the podium to speak. By talking with the people prior to the presentation, you will understand their needs better and their current overall mood. This way, you are able to tailor your content so it matches the mood and needs of your audience.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Giving a high quality business presentation that is entertaining and enthralling requires a lot of practice. As was mentioned earlier, you need to view giving your presentation like a professional actor giving a great performance rather than you simply reading boring text off of slides. Therefore, you should set aside a lot of time to practice your presentation. Whatever you do, do not wing it or you will make yourself look like a fool and an amateur. If you have a video camera, use it to record yourself. Go over each recording and observe the mistakes you are making. Then, repeat this process until you have eliminated every flaw in your speaking, body language, voice and intonation, and any other aspect of giving the business presentation.
Steve Jobs always delivered mesmerizing presentations because he understood the importance of authentic messaging. Many people, including those in your audience, find authenticity attractive and endearing. So, how do you achieve this level of personalization?
Most business presentations are technically proficient, but that does not make them good. The problem with most presentations is they lack heart and emotion, and there is no personal connection between the presenter and their audience. This makes the presentation very boring for your audience. If you want your presentations to be amazing and your audience to give you their full undivided attention, then you need to use personal stories as much as possible. People love to listen to good stories, especially if the stories have drama and are emotional. Steve Jobs was a master at story telling. Almost every part of his presentations included personal stories that were entertaining to the audience and endeared them to Steve. You can do the same thing by simply converting your boring technical presentation into a series of personal stories. By simply doing this you will make your presentations much more enjoyable to your audience and you will see your career soar.
7. Get Energized
When giving long presentations, you need to keep your energy level high. If you seem tired or bored, this vibe will be mirrored by your audience and they will feel tired and bored with YOU. Therefore, have a bottle of water with you and take sips of water every several minutes. If you can, do some physical exercise a few hours before your presentation to boost your endorphins, alleviate anxiety, and keep yourself alert.
Another thing you can do, is before giving your presentation, listen to your favorite music to get you pumped up and excited. This is a technique that is often used by top athletes to get them emotionally excited and ready to perform at their highest levels.
8. Bridge Topics
Instead of jumping from topic to topic, use bridging words such as, “finally”, “consequently”, “however”, “meanwhile”, and “furthermore”. These words work well for creating segues, connecting points, and keeping your audiences engaged.
Before giving any business presentation, practice it by yourself in front of a mirror. Observe your body language at each point, and tailor it to match the message you wish to pass along. Then, when you are in front of your audience, apply the same friendly and confident body language to help you connect with everyone.
The most dynamic presenters use eye contact, facial expressions, and their hands to actively keep their audiences engaged. Stage movement will also fully immerse your audience into your presentation. Again, you need to see your presentation as if you are an actor giving a Broadway show and you want to maximize the quality of your performance so your audience remains highly engaged with you for every minute of your presentation.
Last but not least, simplify your presentations so that people can easily follow through with your thought process and understand everything you say. Use simple words, simple explanations, and easy to understand graphics to increase your audience’s understanding of your presentation. A great saying is that nobody every complained that something was too simple to understand. People love simplicity, so keep it simple!
In summary, if you want to give great business presentations, you need to look at them as an actor giving a performance. You are an actor on stage and it is your job to entertain and memorize your audience. Never allow yourself to give another boring presentation where you simply read words off of your slides. Be entertaining. Be a performer. Be a storyteller. Be fun. Give such a great presentation performance that your audience wants to give you a standing ovation. Many of Steve Jobs’ presentations concluded with the audience giving him a standing ovation. You should be creating your presentations to achieve the same response from your audience!
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