You don’t have to be the greatest showperson or a natural-born star to be able to host a successful presentation.
However, adding a little personality and charm to your pitch, presentation, review, or training session will profoundly impact your audience’s enjoyment and engagement and ability to recall knowledge afterward.
So how can you add some captivating stage presence to your presentation? Here are just a few pointers.
Table of Contents
Create a Well-Paced PowerPoint
First, a well-paced, quality PowerPoint presentation that captures all the salient beats of your message can keep you on track, and your presentation succinct and to the point.
Many people are unaware of the nuances of creating a compelling PowerPoint presentation. Often this is due to a lack of training with the platform and technology or simply a lack of time. If this sounds familiar, connect with professional presentation designers to see how they can help you organize your content and to create an elevated design that encapsulates your message, tells a vivid story, and captures your brand.
Outsourcing to professionals leaves you time to focus on your presentation skills, body language, voice, and understanding of audience engagement.
Start with a Strong Opener
A strong opening sets the tone for the rest of the presentation; it’s a great way to capture your audience’s attention and put them at ease, creating an immediate connection by requesting their engagement from the start.
Here are just a few powerful ways to open your presentation:
- A question: “When was the last time you did this …?” “How many of you have seen this …?” Simple answers are great, but if you want participation, go with open questions that don’t have yes or no answers, like: “What would you do if …?”
- A compelling fact or statistic. This ‘fact’ is even better if it’s a problem that your pitch or presentation will solve. For example, “Do you know how many people do [negative behaviour] every year?”
- A promise: “At the end of this presentation, you’ll know how to do x, y or z.”
Consider Body Language
Body language is vital. First, it helps your audience relax — a slouched, stationary host with an unhappy vibe will immediately put people on edge.
Body language also helps you emphasize important points. Never underestimate the power of movement, hand gestures, how your stand or sit, and your facial expressions.
Here are four ways to hone the power of body language in your presentation:
- Smile: Smiling creates an immediate bond and a positive perception of the host.
- Move about the space: Walk around the area. Doing so allows you to reach and make eye contact with every person in your audience. Eye contact builds respect and displays trust and honesty.
- Use hand gestures: Emphatic movements of your hands during crucial moments of your presentation allow you to express feelings and passions. For example, you could count on your fingers through your top five victories. It can also stop you from fidgeting — which may be interpreted as a sign that you lack confidence.
Think About Your Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice can keep your audience enthralled or send them to sleep. Avoid monotone or humdrum tenors; use a strong, empowered, cheerful voice that shows conviction and passion in your subject matter.
It can also help you feel better about your work. A recent study found that when participants spoke positively, they felt happier. By addressing your audience with levity, enthusiasm and excitement, you will surely build your confidence for the rest of the presentation.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Last, rehearse your presentation several times over, testing it on friends, coworkers, or family — whatever’s appropriate. You can even film yourself and review the footage. Doing so will allow you to flag areas of confusion or ambiguity and areas needing more oomph.
Rehearsing will also let you know your content like the back of your hand, meaning you can smile, relax, and enjoy the presenting experience when the time comes. A relaxed mind will also help you field difficult or unexpected questions.
The Bottom Line
We can all learn how to become better presenters. However, commanding and entrancing your audience through a captivating stage presence begins with creating a paced and pro-looking PowerPoint. Doing so will help keep you on track, stay ‘in the moment,’ and enjoy the experience of presenting to any audience.