Five Techniques That Will Improve Your Business Presentations Immediately

It is a well-known fact that public speaking is one of the most fear-inducing things people are called upon to do in the workplace, yet it has increasingly become a part of our daily work. Whether it is a product demonstration or a training session for new software, most employees at some point have to present to their coworkers, clients, or other company stakeholders. Here are five tips you can start using immediately to help you become a better business presenter and leave more of an impact on anyone you meet.

1. Know how to say your name so others will remember it

Most people say their first name (and especially their last name) too quickly for others to really hear exactly what they are saying and remember it. One tip you can do is always try to put a slight pause between your first and last name. If you have a long name (i.e. more than a couple of syllables), you should emphasize letters that might run together, and also sound out each syllable. The person or people you introduce yourself to will not notice you’re doing this, but they will notice that they remember your name more easily than other names!

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Remember that your audience needs a “roadmap” of where you are headed right from the start of your presentation, and you should always re-emphasize where you have gone and where you are going in your presentation. Repeat your key points to re-emphasize them, remind your audience of what you have said and what you will say next, and then mention your key points again at the end of the presentation. Doing this step along with #1 will help your audience remember both your name and your key points.

3. Engage the audience’s senses

Anything that will make the audience members think, laugh, picture something, or use senses other than auditory will help them to engage in and remember your presentation. Bringing food can engage their senses of taste and smell, using visuals to enhance your key points can engage their sense of sight (along with using lots of eye contact), and providing something tactile to touch, hold, or take with them can engage their sense of touch. Moving around and using appropriate hand gestures also engages the sense of movement—a sort of extension of the sense of touch—which will help hold your audience’s attention as well. 

4. Look fantastic

No matter your size or body shape, the clothes you wear can show that you are putting your best face forward. If you're coming back from a career break or just want a fresh perspective, you can even hire an image consultant to help you see how others perceive you (or, you can ask some acquaintances or even objective family members what impression you put forward with your appearance). If there are things they suggest you could do differently, try them out when you are presenting to a new audience, and see if it works for you.

5. Relax!

If you practice the other four steps above before your presentation, you can relax and shift your attention to your message and the audience instead of yourself. Focusing on your audience members and the message you are trying to get across to them, rather than how you look or whether you will forget your points, can project more confidence and in turn make your audience more relaxed and your presentation more enjoyable.

So, start by just trying these five tips, and you will see your business presentations come to life!