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Minding your Ps and Qs: 6 ways to respect your audience when presenting

Dmytro Spilka

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London  /  Tue, May 14, 2019  /  11:54 am
Minding your Ps and Qs: 6 ways to respect your audience when presenting

A student gives a presentation in a classroom. (Shutterstock/Atstock Productions)

Presenting can be challenging and rewarding all at the same time. One of the most vital things to consider when conducting a presentation is your audience. Not only do you need to consider putting together a clever and creative array of slides to keep your audience engaged and connected but you also need to consider the way you speak.

Many times when you're putting together a presentation, it follows something of a classic story format. A good PowerPoint typically has a beginning, middle and end. This is how presentations are normally set up, and the end is where you utilize your call-to-action in order to get your audience to respond positively to your content.

Here are a few suggestions to get you through your presentation in a way that will keep your audience glued to you.

1. Don't boast about yourself

One of the most off-putting aspects of a presentation for the audience is when the presenters tend to talk about themselves, which could be interpreted as a bid to inflate their own profile. Avoid doing this at all costs, as chances are you will end up degrading some of the credibility that you may have built up for yourself in the eyes of those who know you. This may leave a bitter lasting first impression for those who are meeting you for the first time.

If you have done something great that you do want to talk about, working it into a story or a short anecdote is the best way to go about it.

2. Do your research

More often than not many hosts go into a presentation blindly without having done a sufficient level of research outside of what they are presenting. It’s essential to do your homework - especially for the Q&A section at the end where audience members may ask questions surrounding the topic you have just discussed, but queries directed at you may not be intrinsically related to your presentation. It’s also advisable to learn as much as you can in relation to your audience before presenting to them.

3. You can never be too prepared

When a host is not adequately prepared, it may be apparent through poor transitions between slides and points. It is therefore crucial to construct a plan of action before going into a presention as not only will it help calm your nerves, but it will also help you look professional in front of your audience. You will not only add value to your presentation because you can pass on knowledge, but it will also boost your professional profile.

Read also: Public speaker Gary Vaynerchuk talks about failure and social media

4. Be more interactive

Preparing for your presentation also means building a connection with your audience. Learning lines and what you are going to say might make your presentation perfect but it also runs the risk of rendering it dull and robotic. Interacting with your audience and getting them to participate, however big or small, makes all the difference as they will find this added level of engagement much more stimulating.

5. Add visuals to make it appealing  

Adding visuals to your presentation is definitely a significant factor to consider. Social media thrives on visual content and so creating slides that appeal to your audience will most definitely keep them engaged and connected to your presentation.

Exploring points in your presentation and using visual content to express your points will also help your audience absorb and digest the information easier. One of the best ways to do this is to use online templates which take the stress out of creating presentations from scratch.  

There are a few tools to help you with that: 

  • Piktochart: a fantastic tool to make bright, eye-catching infographics and presentations
  • PoweredTemplate: a platform with pre-made presentation templates, diagrams and charts 
  • Canva: create engaging infographics, charts and slides

6. Close with clarity and a clear call to action

The whole point of your presentation is to address your main discussion topics and offer a solution with a call to action. This is why it’s essential to be clear and precise with what actions you want your audience to take. Being too vague will result in them not carrying out the task that you want them to do.

Creating a slide with the call to action can help to reiterate the point you’re making. It really doesn’t matter how rich your content is or how well designed your slides are if you can’t get your point across to your audience then the presentation will not be deemed successful.  

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Dmytro Spilka is a tech and business writer based in London. He's also the founder of Pridicto, an AI-powered web analytics SaaS that enables users to forecast website traffic and set visual aims. Currently contributing to TechRadar, ReadWrite, TNW and Entrepreneur.com. 

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.