What does it take to be a great presenter?
What do the world’s greatest presenters have in common?
How can the average person apply the principles the world’s greatest share?
These are questions I’ve been deeply considering for over 13 years now. These are the questions I ask myself when I see a great presenter.
The answer to the questions is what I call ‘The 7 Principles of Presentation™’, the presentation system that shares the 7 secrets of the world’s best presenters in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-apply way.
I truly believe that if you can excel at these 7 principles you can truly call yourself a great presenter.
What is the most important thing for any presentation? First and foremost, you have to focus on your audience. If you don’t know your audience well enough and more importantly if you do not connect with them, your presentation is doomed to fail, not matter how prepared you are. Try to think in terms of what your audience wants and then do your best to give it to them. If you can win over your audience, you’re 90% at your goal.
What is the key message of your presentation? What is the main purpose? What is the one thing you want your audience to get, to remember and to act upon? Your audience and your purpose become the foundation for planning your presentation. Do NOT start the planning process before being clear about your purpose.
Next, you want to plan your presentation well. You want to include structure, facts, stories, examples, and opinions. Also, make sure to balance logic and emotion. To persuade an audience you need both. A presentation that is too logical can be good, but is often too boring. A presentation that is only focused on emotion but lacks logic might lead to your audience not fully trusting your ideas. Again, plan for both.
How passionate are you about your presentation? To convince your audience, you first have to convince yourself. Great presenters are passionate, exciting, energetic, confident or convincing depending on the topic of their presentation. But one thing great presenters are definitely NEVER is being boring. How can you make your presentation exciting for you and your audience?
Your presence is your body language. To convey your message more effectively, you must also have a convincing body language. Many average presenters are too nervous and that nervousness expresses through their body language. Bad body language often leads to the audience not trusting what you are saying. To master your body language work on good eye contact, natural gesturing and a proper stance.
What is the one area of presentation that Steve Jobs has not fully mastered yet? It’s this, participation. One of the most difficult things to do is to get your audience to participate, to be involved in your presentation by asking questions and letting them DO something. Yet, if you master this principle and do it well, your presentation will be remembered long after your audience left its seats.
PowerPoint and other slide software is mostly rather ABUSED than used. Most presenters cram too much information into their slides. Actually, bad slides can kill even a great presentation (= death-by-PowerPoint-syndrome). Great presenters keep their slides not only simple, but more importantly they connect all the other 7 principles of presentation with their slides. Great presenters make their audience the center of their presentation, NOT their slides.
So, there you have it.
Whenever you have any question or problem about presentation, look through the 7 principles and find the answer/solution.
Also, I strongly recommend reading the 7 principles when preparing your next presentation, so you get in the right mindset and create a more persuasive presentation.
On a side note: The 7 Principles of Presentation always work. They work for everybody. I’ve used them for people from over 15 different nationalities (each applies them slightly different though based on their culture), with CEOs of large companies, with small business employees, with designers, with doctors, with engineers, with marketers, with salespeople, with managers, with people from all walks of life, and they always work.
So, the question is not “Do they work for you?” (They do.)
But “Will you use them for your NEXT presentation?”
To your presentation success,
Ben A. Ratje