More often than not, we find ourselves having to give presentations in the business world. But what separates a great presentation from a boring one? Regardless of your topic, these presenting skills listed below provide the fundamental basics of turning a tedious boring presentation into a great one!
You never want to start a presentation by just going right into it. Rather, you want to engage with your audience to get them warmed up to your topic. You accomplish this by using a cascading question. You start with a broad question and then continue with more focused questions as your audience begins to answer them.
For example, if your topic was speeding up wait times in the emergency room, you would use cascading questions as follows:
- Who here has ever been injured?
- Who has gone to the emergency room for their injury?
- How long did you have to wait in the emergency room for?
- Were you in a great deal of pain while you waited?
Then you would proceed to talk about how your presentation holds the keys to success to reduce the wait time in the emergency rooms. Now your audience is engaged in the topic of discussion. has been engaged with and now they know what the topic you are about to talk about.
Sense Rich Messages
The key to any good storyteller teller or presenter is the use of sense rich messages. This means engaging your audience with the use of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch within your presentation.
Continuing with the example of reducing wait times in emergency rooms, For our example of speeding up wait times in the emergency room, you could use phrases such as:
- You can hear the ambulance sirens as the new admissions arrive at the hospital.
- You can smell the bleach from the sterilized floors and countertops in every room you walk in to.
- You can hear the patients moan in agony at their injuries.
A simple tip you can implement right away into presenting skills is pauses. Pauses allow your audience to absorb all the information you just gave them either verbally or what was on the slides. Pauses also allow you to regather your thoughts and keep you from speaking too quickly. Often times as presenters we get nervous and speak too fast for our audience. Taking multiple pauses throughout a presentation can help with the audience’s retention of your topic.
One of the biggest cringe moments of any presentation is the “thank you” slide at the end. If your presentation is executed correctly, you will not need a “thank you” slide. Instead, after you have gone through your conclusion, end with a cold closing. A cold closing is a statement that tells your audience that your presentation has concluded, without saying “in conclusion” or “thank you”. The best statement to use at the beginning of any cold closing is “so the next time”. Read the following examples using the cold closing to see this phrase in action.
- So the next time you are in the emergency room, look around and see all the people who are in desperate need of care, but a long emergency room wait time has delayed them from getting help in a timely manner.
- So the next time you get injured, be critical about going to the emergency room because you may find yourself delaying the help of someone who is in urgent need of assistance, while you may have just a minor injury.
Using cascading questions, sense rich messages, pauses and cold closings are the difference between an average presentation and an elite presentation. The more often you present, the more you will begin to feel more comfortable you will be in front of an audience. performing these skills. So the next time you are presenting, try using just one of these elite presentation skills and you will notice a significant difference. As you begin to master that one skill, add another one until you have mastered all four. Don’t be an average presenter, be a great one!