Making a brief presentation at work may seem like a no-brainer, but preparing one can prove to be challenging. It’s always a good idea to iron out the details of your presentation well ahead of time so you can nail it when the time comes. Here are five easy tips that can help you give an informational, inspiring and persuasive presentation in the workplace.
Keep the Audience Interested
Few things are less interesting than having to sit through a presentation that’s given in a monotone voice. Use voice inflections and intonation to emphasize important words and transitions, and pause momentarily to let important ideas sink in. If the occasion is informal or semiformal, you might address the audience directly rather than discussing the topic in third person. Use examples and details that relate to listeners so they can feel included, making references to daily life or demographics that connect with people in the audience. Also be sure to make eye contact occasionally with the audience throughout the presentation.
Pace Your Presentation
Rather than choosing to simply wing it and hope for the best, practice pacing your speech beforehand. Make an outline with key points and rehearse the talk smoothly from one point to the next. Keep an eye on the time to ensure your speech stays on track. A good rule of thumb for giving presentations is that every minute is roughly 125-150 words spoken, so a 5-minute speech would usually require 625 – 700 words. That being said, it’s always a good idea to plan for a few extra minutes in case audience members wish to ask questions afterward.
Incorporate a Story
Everyone loves to hear a good story, so aim to include some type of story in your talk that illustrates one of your presentation’s principles. A good choice is to draw from current events in the news that many in the audience will have heard of and perhaps identify with. You can also use personal experience or observations about the lives of others in certain situations. Using characters, real or fictitious, and a narrative format often encourages the audience to listen more attentively, and it can stoke their interest in your topic.
Like smiling, humor is a universal element that everyone can relate to. Many successful speakers start a presentation with a humorous anecdote or a comical remark about the context for the presentation. Use lighthearted humor rather than a sarcastic tone. However be sure to avoid slapstick comedy, which can dilute the seriousness of your topic and cause the audience to feel more entertained than educated. Self-deprecating humor is another easy way to start the presentation and often helps to put the speaker on par with the audience.
A short talk can feel like it is over much too soon for audiences who enjoy and appreciate what they hear. Practice beforehand and give listeners fun and interesting things to consider. By following these steps you can ensure that your talk will not only be interesting to hear but also have the desired impact on your audience.
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