Present with confidence – make your presentation a success!

The clock is ticking, it’s almost time. Your pulse is racing, your mouth is dry and all you want to do is jump up and make a run for it… but it’s time to get up on that stage and deliver your presentation. A presentation like this can be a lot of pressure for you, but if you are properly prepared then you will have already put the most important building blocks in place to win over your audience. So, what should you do if you want to give a presentation that will get your audience on their feet? Read our tips for a successful presentation to find out:

Be prepared – good preparation is half the presentation

Just picture it: you’ve turned up in jeans and a t-shirt, but everyone in the audience is wearing a suit. Or you have prepared a video, but there is no technology on hand to play it. Uh oh. That can’t be good. With these scenarios in mind, you should always do your research in advance and prepare your presentation accordingly. Consider the following points:

  1. The target group: you need to know your target group inside out in order to include the most important and relevant information for your audience.
  2. The event: what is the presentation area like? Is it a bustling conference or a relaxed environment? The presentation should be prepared accordingly.
  3. The time frame: How much time is available to you? Be generous when calculating it so that you don’t get put under time pressure on the day.
  4. The technology: What technological options are available to you? What tools do you want to use?
Frau zeichnet eine Mindmap auf ein Whiteboard

If you know who the presentation is for, then it’s much easier to work out what should be in it. A brainstorm or mind map can be a good way to get into a topic. Write down the overall theme on a whiteboard or flip chart and note down all of the facts that come to mind. This will give you a quick overview of the important content for your topic, which should be covered within the time frame. 

Keep it simple – how to avoid “death by PowerPoint”

Whether at your job, work or at a job interview – PowerPoint presentations are commonplace everywhere. It goes without saying that you should know your way around the program and be able to use it well. In many jobs, this is just a part of daily business. When creating a slide, you should consider the following:

  • Don’t write too much on the slides, ideally it should be no more than seven lines per slide.
  • The minimum font size is around 24 pt, so every slide is clearly legible.
  • Use an easy-to-read font.
  • Ensure that the writing stands out against the background.

Bullet points can make lists and slides easier to take in.

Of course, it is also important not to let the number of slides get out of hand. After all, nothing is more likely to put your audience to sleep than countless slides full of text. To loosen up the presentation or to find an introduction, you can always have a small brainstorming session or get ideas from the room. For example, ask your audience what they already know about the topic of the presentation and write the key points on a flip chart with colourful pens.

Stay clear – stick to the path

It is essential to stick to the key message of the presentation. You can only make sure that your presentation stays right on point when you know exactly what the key takeaway for your audience should be. As a rule, a presentation should include: introduction, main content, conclusion, and perhaps also background, objectives and measures. Stick to this structure and you won’t stray too far away from the point. You can also build up tension over the course of the presentation to keep your listeners gripped.

Top tip: work out a key takeaway for every slide and use it as a headline or connection between slides. Putting all of the takeaways in a row should then give the narrative of the presentation. If questions mid-way through the presentation put you off your train of thought, then all it takes is a look at the slide to see where you are and get back to where you were.

Be confident – the first few seconds are the most important

Be aware that you will have an effect on your audience from the very first moment of your presentation. This includes your tone and choice of words, but also your expression and body language. It is therefore important to consider these things as soon as – or even before – you get on the stage. The following give of a sense of self-confident charisma:

  • Straight posture
  • No slouching or relaxed limbs
  • A friendly facial expression
  • Eye contact with the audience

If your nerves are getting the better of you, don’t panic. Virtually every public speaker – no matter how professional – feels a bit of stage fright. Be confident in what you are presenting, as you have spent some time delving into the topic and can address it as an expert. Your audience will notice this: after all, the content of a presentation only accounts for 60% of how it is received by an audience – the rest comes down to the way in which you present. You can only convince others of what you are saying if you are convinced of it first.

Our tip is to absolutely nail your opening remarks and introduction. Putting down key points on flash cards can be a really helpful tool here. It’s best to start out a little louder and more energetically than your normal levels. If you start out lacklustre and dull, you’ll lose listeners right from the off.

Raum mit Whiteboard, Flipchart, Tisch und Lampen

Be different – get the audience involved

Nobody likes staring blankly at a boring presentation. Dry, theoretical concepts are much better explained using practical examples. Ideally, you should throw in some funny experiences or anecdotes – storytelling rocks! Be careful, though, don’t try too hard to be funny. Be authentic and your presentation will take on a natural, convincing quality.

The audience can be invited to participate even in large presentations. Interact with your listeners by asking them something, or surprise them. For example, you could just throw your visual material out into the audience. That is sure to get their attention!

Presentations on a smaller scale are often more geared towards convincing your colleagues or a select few listeners. As such, it can be helpful to work on the ideas and solutions together. Here, whiteboards, flip charts or pinboards can be a great way to encourage interaction within the group.