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Top 10: Presentation Tips

So you've got an important presentation coming up.

What are the key things you need to think about in order to make it a success? These are my top 10 tips for a successful presentation:

1. Gather key information

Start with basics: who will be there, how long have you got to speak? Who is involved from your team? How long between now and the presentation itself? Take control of the situation by starting to plan it out.

2. Start to sketch out your structure

What do you want to say, to who and what does it mean to you. Then, how are you going to say it?

3. Develop your content

When you have your structure, think about 1) Your slides and 2) Your script. Give equal attention to what you're going to show and what you're going to say. Don't expect to wing it and be successful. Because you need to be able to repeat it when you rehearse.

4. Practice

Get everyone in a room and rehearse. This means going over exactly what you're going to say. And doing it at least twice. The first time will be painful. That's a good sign. Better to be painful there than at the presentation.

5. Cover off any practical aspects

Make contact with the IT guru where you're presenting. Introduce yourself, ask if you can see the room. This removes any hidden obstacles that could disrupt your calmness.

6. Arrival

Arrive on time. This means arrive so the meeting can start on time. So this usually means somewhat earlier than the start of the meeting. At least 10 minutes before if not 15 minutes. Especially if there are IT issues to resolve and set up time. Your aim is to start the presentation on time, not arrive in reception for the start time of the meeting.

7. Start strong and end strong

These are the two parts of the meeting that are most valuable but most often overlooked. How you start, introductions, purpose, roadmap, gives you and the client confidence. And how you finish creates the forward route and checks you're on the same page.

8. Budget your words

If you're presenting, work out how long you're going to speak for. This will tell you what you can say. Then lose some of it so you have time for questions and interaction.

9. Follow up afterwards

Send a short note of thanks and something that may support your client's thinking going forward.

10. Debrief your performance

What went well? What would you change? Make each meeting or presentation a learning opportunity as well as a live exercise. That way, whatever the outcome, you'll gain value from the experience.

Do you want to learn how to start your presentations right? Read Presentation Skills: Start Right. Want to further improve your presentation skills and develop your confidence? Then check out the IDM's Innovate You: Become a Modern Marketing Leader.

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