Your presentation method—that is, the way in which you deliver a presentation—is just as important as organizing your material ahead of your presentation. How you deliver your message is actually a vital component of the message itself. Your goal is to engage your audience and compel them to listen and act on what you’re saying. For that reason, you really do need to invest some time into selecting the best presentation method.
Presentation Methods Matter
We talk a lot about connecting with your listeners. That’s because there’s little value in giving a presentation if no one pays attention to what you’re saying. When you connect with your audience, you command their attention. They can’t help but listen to you, because you’ve sparked something within them that makes them want to hear what you have to say. And sometimes, what grabs their attention is not the words you’re speaking, but the way you deliver them.
What exactly do we mean by a “presentation method”? Well, consider the presentations you’ve given or the ones you’ve been witness to. And remember a presentation comes in many shapes in sizes: a business pitch; a church sermon; a stand-up comedy act—basically, just about any transfer of information between two or more people can be considered a presentation. And certainly your pastor’s presentation method differs quite a bit from that of a corporate CEO.
Assuming you’ve already plotted and organized your presentation, now is the time to consider how to deliver it. You may have aspirations of pumping the air full of rocking tunes before wowing your audience with show-stopping visuals, but wait a minute: Does the venue have the equipment for all that?
And so, as you begin to map out your presentation method, you’ll need to consider these:
- What’s the Occasion?—Every presentation is unique. Even if you’ve given the same talk a dozen times before, remember that while your message may be relevant in more than one situation, the occasion dictates your presentation method. A sales pitch to a familiar group of colleagues will have a different approach than a sales pitch to a board of directors. Match your presentation method accordingly.
- Who’s in The Audience—Again, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve presented on the same topic, you have to tailor your presentation to the audience of the day. Are you familiar with the people in the group? What’s their knowledge on the subject? While a formal event to an audience with little knowledge of the topic may warrant slides, a small, informal group who has extensive knowledge on the subject may only require an infographic.
- Where Will I Be Presenting?Imagine preparing your presentation with the expectation of giving it in a small 12×12 office, only to show up and find out you’re actually giving it in a lecture hall. The delivery method you choose is absolutely relative to the room in which you will be presenting. Acoustics, range of view, even the ambiance is different. Know ahead of time where exactly you’ll be presenting and plan accordingly.
- What Sound Equipment is Available? — A good presenter always tests his equipment before launching a presentation. Whether you’re just using a mic or you require more sophisticated sound equipment, make sure you know before choosing your presentation method what is available to you and how to operate it.
- Will I Be Set Up for Visual Aids? You would expect most conference rooms in America are now equipped with audio-video equipment, but do a double-check on that before putting together a presentation that relies on Powerpoint slides.
- Is This an Interactive Presentation? — If you expect to involve your audience through audience participation, your presentation method needs to be selected accordingly. If you will be invited audience members to share their own experiences or participate in role-playing games, you may want to go out into the audience or at least not remain on stage the entire time. Consider how you will be interacting with your audience before choosing an appropriate presentation method.
Leave Nothing to Chance
An effective presentation is one that is carefully prepared based on where it’s happening, who’s in the audience, and your objectives. Your goal is to deliver a speech or presentation that will leave a favorable lasting impression, so be strategic in choosing a presentation method and do some investigation before you make your choice.