How to do a business presentation Motem

What makes a good presentation?

I recently delivered a session to University of West of England’s students on pitching and presenting. And that same evening went along to the first Ignite Bristol. So if you’re in the business of making your ideas stick, you might be interested in some of what I read, said and heard…

Parachute yourself in

How to start a presentation? It’s an important question. Your first mission is to grab attention. Some of the Ignite speakers started with an interesting question or statement, such as,”I’m pissed off!” or “Who feels like they’re in control of their future?” Straight away we’re paying attention.

So often we’re taught to “to tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em then tell them what you’ve told them.” But let’s face it, that can be very boring when you’re in the audience. So how can you grab attention as well as outline what you’re going to talk about?

Now that you we’ve covered how to start a presentation, let’s talk about how you can peak your audience’s curiosity.

Tease don’t tell

Curiosity has got to come before content. Imagine the presenter puts up a slide with 8 bullet points of information. We read all the points and the presenter is still discussing point 1. Now we’re bored. But what if there had been 8 questions instead? Or just 8 letters? We’d stay awake for the answers.

One of my favourite Ignite talks was called Patents, Pending. This was inspired by an old book outlining incredible inventions which hadn’t yet (and were probably unlikely to) make it into existence. From a mother’s modesty bra to a sheep herding device to an air ship lifted by vultures, I was intrigued the whole way through.

Tell stories and give examples

Stories and examples make a good business presentation. But most presenters sprinkle them like garnish.  This isn’t how to do a presentation. The number 1 mistake people make in presentations, the authors of Made to Stick say, is that they’re too abstract. Offering concepts and conclusions but no evidence is a sure fire way to a forgettable presentation.

One of the most memorable talks was the story of two girls rowing across the Atlantic. Another was about the lives that have changed as a result of small loans. So even if your subject matter is a bit dry – resist the temptation to lead with your data. How can you tell a story about it? It’ll be more engaging and memorable if you do.

Focus on your main points

If you say 10 things you say nothing. What’s the main point of your presentation? How much of your speaking time is on those points? The “Unplan your Business” and “Take Responsibility” talk were memorable messages because all the info related to the core idea.

Bring reality into the room

Using small details helps enormously to bring your idea alive. For example, Rachel Kiddey, an archaeologist, packed her 5 minutes with personal stories as she talked about homelessness and heritage (heritage isn’t just posh or old stuff it’s about what’s happening now).

It was also littered with small and memorable details (she owns and dog and smokes, which makes easy for her to befriend some of the homeless people). Ultimately, she really made us care about her subject and the people she talked about.

So next time you’ve got a presentation coming up, run through your content and ask yourself will it stick and will they care? And I urge you to read Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

Public Speaking Courses

If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your presentation skills, look no further than my public speaking courses. This training will help you to connect with your audience and speak with confidence and clarity.

You might also like to read more on how to:

Make yourself memorable

Convey complex subject matter: Technically Speaking

Increase your Personal Impact and Power

Get in touch