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First impressions count…and business presentations epitomise this daily.  The hard-fought opportunity to present your message is only half the battle – things can quickly go downhill if you and your presentation don’t deliver from the moment you open your mouth.

Yep, the stakes are high.

So, how do you go about making a great first impression with your presentation?

Consideration 1 – Audience

Great presentations are built around how you engage with your audience (obvious but so often forgotten). Take a moment to review your current presentation – is it all about you? (Hint: it shouldn’t be. You should be aiming to prompt a conversation with your audience by demonstrating just how well you understand their challenges.

Remember, they are the important ones, not you.

Consideration 2 – Design

An obvious one – your slides need to be visually impactful. Ditch the bullets and focus on developing fresh and engaging slides that connect with your audience (we call these ‘valuable visuals’).

However, don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over the design of your slides to the detriment of the other vital ingredients – great presentations are much more than a collection of fancy slides and interesting graphics.

Consideration 3 – Value

The ‘why’ is a critical element in any presentation – what does your message mean to your audience? What problems are you solving? What difference would adopting your approach make to their lives? Simple questions that will uncover powerful messages…

Once you’ve figure that out, ensure you deliver these in a way that resonates with your audience. Case studies, testimonials and worked examples are great storytelling techniques that bring your message to life.

Consideration 4 – Being a bit, um, boring

Too many presentations suffer by trying to cover every detail known to man. Inane company facts, run speeds of products, dimensions of hardware…we’ve seen it all crow-barred into a presentation.

Irrelevant detail will gum up your presentation and is the biggest cause of Death by PowerPoint. If it’s not delivering value or insight to your audience, ditch it.

Consideration 5 – What next?

All presentations should prompt an action. These can be obvious (signing on the dotted line) or a little more esoteric (winning approval to build a new team culture). In the absence of a clear call to action, you run the risk of your presentation being a waste of your time and more importantly, a waste of your audience’s time.

What To Do Now…

Take time to review your current presentation against these considerations – what does it really say about your business? Self-centred? Boring? Unfocussed? It may be time for a change…

These are deliberately simple tips and ideas that you can easily apply to your next presentation however their simplicity belies their power. Each of them will have a direct impact on that all-important first impression so take time to make changes where needed.

Of course, we’re on hand to cast our collective eyes over your current presentation and offer advice on what you may wish to tweak to improve on that first impression. Simply drop us a line or give us a call on +44 (0)1455 826 390.

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