Communication skills

Part 1: Three hacks for a killer presentation

- August 27, 2014 2 MIN READ

No one is born a natural public speaker. It takes a lot of learning, unlearning, tweaking and trialling. So let’s look at five hacks to a killer presentation.

According to a recent survey, 23 per cent of people rated public speaking as their greatest fear. Yep, they did not fear death as much as they fear speaking in public, which is known as glossophobia.

What glossophobic people are really afraid of is making a mistake or looking foolish in front of others.

No one is born a natural public speaker. It takes a lot of learning, unlearning, tweaking and trialling. Let’s start with some unlearning first.

What’s wrong with your presentation

Most people create presentations with many slides that are packed with facts and content. The problem is that the audience gets bored within minutes. The stock photos are hardly persuasive and the slides contain too much tightly-squeezed information.

With this approach, you’re giving too much importance to things that don’t matter. The slides are hardly your presentation – it’s you who makes your presentation unique and useful.

Also, if you have to read the slides word for word, you’re not presenting, you’re reading. Your audience will soon stop paying attention. Don’t make the mistake of blurring the lines between you (the presenter owning the space) and the slides.

With that out of our way, let’s look at three presentation hacks you can use immediately.

Want more articles like this? Check out the presentation skills section.

1. Make a connection

Always start with an intention to engage with your audience.  Setting a simple intention of how you want the presentation to go, works wonders. It gets your subconscious mind on your side. With that intention, build a rapport as soon as you start. You’re in deep rapport with someone when your words become their thoughts.

A great way to start your presentation is by using humour. Jokes (yes, even bad ones) are great for building rapport from the start.

Throughout the presentation, keep asking questions and involve your audience to keep them fully engaged.

2. Choose a cool design

You found a cool, free theme on the internet with a crisp blue background. The only problem? Your audience cannot read a thing because your text is black.

When choosing a theme, keep it simple and conservative. Make sure the colours are in good contrast with each other. At the same time, avoid white backgrounds because it may be too bright for some people. Tone it down with a soothing grey or beige. Free web-based app, Visme, is a good tool for creating online presentations.

3. Break states

Breaking states is an important concept of Neuro Linguistic Programming. When you find your audience drowsy or disinterested, try this technique to break an unwanted state and bring them back. Crack a joke, weave a story or say something that’s completely out of context. If you prefer to go the old-fashioned way, just say “Let’s take a coffee break here”.

In this article I’ve offered three hacks for a killer presentation. In my next article I’ll offer seven more.

Do you have tons of presentation ideas swimming in your head now?

Go on, share them in the comments below!

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"