5 Important Presentations Skills to Keep the Attention of the Room
Meetings are a fact of life, but they don't have to be a drag. In fact, by adding a few important presentation skills to your toolkit, you'll be on your way to being an effective and energizing presence in every meeting you're in.
On the surface, meetings seem easy. Show up on time, speak when it's your turn, respect others. But if you're trying to present a new idea, close a deal or gain buy-in from a prospect, it's going to take more than practicing polite conversation to make an impression.
The good news is, no matter if you're shy, nervous, scattered or somewhere in between, delivering a good talk is a skill we can all master.
Here are five important presentation skills that will help you hold attention and make an impact.
Keep it simple
A common mistake people make in meetings is to try to accomplish too much in one sitting. When planning your presentation, identify the key takeaway or action point you want people to get from your discussion. This will help you to create an anchor statement to build your presentation around. Limiting your goal to one main takeaway may seem too basic, but keeping your message simple helps people understand what you're saying and doesn't force them to make all the connections themselves.
Remember to breathe
If you're nervous or excited, it can impact your presentation by causing you to rush or jump around in your presentation. One of the simplest and most important presentation skills you can practice is breathing. When you focus on breathing in for one second, then breathing out for one second it forces you to slow down. That's a good thing! Speaking too fast can overwhelm your listeners and cause them to be confused or tune out. Taking deep breaths also helps you relax, and if nothing else, you'll present better as a result.
If you've done any kind of performing, you'll remember learning how to make eye contact with people in the audience and remembering to smile. These small gestures allow you to build rapport with others, and being personable is one of the most important presentation skills you can master. When your audience connects with you, they naturally like you and want to pay closer attention. This in turn allows you to connect with them, creating a more intimate space.
Understand your audience
No matter the size of your meeting, it helps to know who you're talking to. Maybe you won't know them personally, but you can still find ways to understand them and connect on an emotional level.
Think about who is in the meeting and how you can speak in a way they'll resonate with. For example, let's say you know most of the people you're presenting to are parents. In this scenario, it makes a lot of sense to use parenting analogies and anecdotes. You may even consider using a prop they'll relate to.
Find out what you can, and do your best to avoid assumptions. Of course you can't learn everything about a person ahead of time, but the more you understand the kind of people you're talking to then the better you can tailor your approach to capture and retain their attention.
Bring authentic energy
One of the best ways to connect with your audience is by being genuinely interested in what you're talking about. We tend to mirror each other, so if you're excited about what you have to say, so will your listeners. Keep in mind you need to be authentic with your enthusiasm. People can sense when you're exaggerating or trying to make a sale, so make sure to maintain credibility with your audience by being transparent and bringing positive energy to the presentation.
Five presentation skills to keep the attention of the room
Did you notice not one of these tips is about your actual presentation? Whether you're in person in a boardroom or in a virtual meeting, your body language and tone communicates just as much or more than your actual words do. Good presenters deliver a compelling, measured speech. Great presenters keep their points clear, give a relaxed delivery, are personable, take time to understand their audience and are authentic and excited about their material.