Business Presentations

The Complete Guide to Making Great Business Presentations

You have been to some business presentations that left a lasting impression. You can’t help but admire the confidence of the speaker. You loved the clarity with which he delivered the messaging. To date, you have an excellent recall of what he said.  

An excellent business presentation requires preparation. A speaker must know the audience. 

You then communicate with them in the language they understand. Yet, many people struggle with making business presentations.  

Our article will give you a complete guide to making business presentations. You never know what will happen afterward. An audience member may congratulate you on a fantastic delivery. 

1.Do a Little Research On Your Audiences 

Imagine walking into a room full of strangers, and you know nothing about them.  Yet, you are supposed to stand in front of them and talk.  Let’s take the example that you are presenting to a group of investors.  

One of them asks you what you know about them. You start to stutter because you know nothing.  How successfully do you think the presentation will be? Take a little time to do some research. It will help you shape your presentation in a way that resonates with them.  

2.Plan To Make a Great Presentation

You may be guilty of not planning well for a business presentation. You do not decide to work on the presentation on the night before the big day. It will result in the haphazard placement of content.  

Take the time to plan the presentation. Give yourself sufficient time to research and collect relevant data. Organize your thoughts well so that you have total clarity. 

The most important sign of a great delivery is really quite simple. You should be able to summarize everything in one sentence. That one sentence will guide every step you take thereafter.  It becomes like a compass, without which you will lose your way. 

3.Ask Yourself What You Want the Audiences to Remember

You don’t stand in front of a room full of people for the sake of it. At the end of your delivery, you want the listeners to have specific takeouts. If they were to forget everything else, you would be fine as long as they remember what you want them to. Think about it this way:

  • The summary is like the trunk of the tree
  • The takeouts are branches shooting from the trunk.

Have at least three key takeouts and build your presentation around them. 

4.Start Putting Your Slides Together

As a listener, how many slides would you be willing to put up with during a presentation? How long before you start drumming your fingers in frustration. 

The 10/20/30 rule is one of the best methods to use.  What does it mean?

  • Restrict yourself to 10 slides maximum. Within the ten slides, you should have:
    • The problem 
    • The solution
    • Steps to achieving the solution
    • The team
    • Timelines 
    • Summary

If you are an entrepreneur looking to build brand awareness, add two extra slides. The first slide should have your logo and company name. 

The last slide should have your logo, company name, and contacts. If you don’t already have a logo, use a logo maker or talk to a logo designer. It is a powerful branding tool for any business.  

  • Allocate yourself only 20 minutes and go through the ten slides. Even if you have 2 hours, do not use one and a half to talk.  Human beings have a brief attention span. Before long, their minds will start to wander. At some point, the only person who will be listening is the one who has to take notes.  
  • 30 refers to the font size. You don’t want the people at the back of the room straining to read your slides.  

Is the rule achievable? Initially, you may struggle with it because it requires a high level of discipline. But eventually, you will get it right. See how much more people interact with the presentation.  

5.Decide On the Visual Cues 

Visualizations are an essential part of presentations. Humans are visual creatures and will digest and retain information better if there are images.  

Visuals also allow for the simplification of complex data. Use cues that resonate with the audience. Young people want easy to digest information. Use pyramid templates to create slides that inform at a glance. Try using hard to understand charts and tables with this group, and you will draw many blank stares.  

6.Rehearse the Presentation

A great presenter takes time to rehearse. You get an idea of how you will sound during the presentation.  Get a brutally honest friend or colleague to sit in.  See how they interact with your delivery.  Be accepting of criticism and make the relevant changes. Remember, in that room, you will not have the opportunity to correct the presentation. Also, take note of the following:

  • Modulate your voice during the presentation. With tone variations, the audience remains engaged a bit more. Great orators know when to raise their voices or lower them accordingly
  • Make your presentation relatable by telling a story instead of presenting hard facts. 
  • Great presenters also know when to crack a joke to lighten the mood. Again it goes back to understanding your audiences. The jokes you share with the boys at the bar may not work in a business presentation. If jokes are not your thing, throw in some interesting titbits. 
  • Be fresh, dress well, and exude confidence. If you come across as unsure, the listeners may doubt what you are saying. 
  • Have cue cards that you refer to so that you do not keep looking at the slides. You come across as knowledgeable, which builds confidence. 
  • Allow sufficient time for Q&A after the presentation. 

Final Thoughts

Making great business presentations requires some practice. Many will fail because of a lack of preparation. Delivery and presentation style could be terrible.  

Others will design the presentation without considering the audience. Eventually, they will not relate to it at all. It helps to have a clear thought process. 

Next, know what you want to communicate very well. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Honestly evaluate whether you would want to listen to the presentation. Finally, do not bore the audience with too much information. 

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