At CBC, we have been asked to present at many New Business Pitches over the years, as well as presenting at Local Seminars – sharing PR Advice as part of Business Forums and also internally through our In House Training Programmes.

Here are some tips, which we have learnt over the years and which we hope will be useful for those of you needing to prepare a Business Presentation this Autumn!

1) Keep your presentation short and to the point. There is nothing worse than seeing eyelids drooping in your audience. And, as we all know, yawning really is contagious 🙂

2) Make sure you know who your audience is so you can gauge the level of the content to them.

3) Use the So what? question as you prepare the content for your presentation.
Ensure that your presentation has a true purpose. Why are your audience there? What have you got to tell them? What will they take away from it?

4) If you are using say PowerPoint, break up your text slides with images – and vary the look of your slides – but don’t overdo it. Too many different fonts can be distracting, as can special effects with sound. Keep it simple to ensure your audience listen to you and aren’t reading, but adding a picture/photo works well.

5) Always do a practice run though your presentation – to a group of colleagues, friends or even family. This will help you cut out any unnecessary detail.

6) Confidence is key…This will come from being genuinely passionate about what you are saying and being well prepared.

7) If you can’t handle questions as you go along – invite your audience to ask questions at the end of the presentation (as a group or individually). Questions from the audience can be hard to manage and could put you on the spot unless you are have the information at your finger tips. If you don’t know the answer to any question, be honest and say so but ensure that you get back to that person with the information at a later date.

8) Ask people at the back of the room if they can hear you.

9) Smile and speak slowly – less is more. Give your audience time to listen and think.

10) Don’t fiddle, fidget or move your hands – all of these can be distracting.

11) Pray that the room is free of noise (drills, banging doors, alarms), not too hot or too cold. Sometimes this is out of your control, make light of it if that is the case.

12) Bring an electronic copy (on USB), charged laptop and hard copy of your presentation with you in case there is a power cut – or equipment is not there that should be.

13) Start by engaging your audience – by getting them to think about the subject in hand – and if appropriate get a couple of comments from your audience to set the scene. This will test their knowledge and start the basis for comparison with what they know and what you are telling them.

14) If you feel confident, add personal anecdotes – but don’t otherwise. If you do… don’t over do it. Some people are much better at telling a good story than others.
Think of the AIDA acronym – Attract them, Interest Them, Create the Desire and then the Action. Think of it as if you are selling an idea and getting buy in from your audience.

15) Have a good first slide – summarising the main points. A good presenter will only need that to jog him/her as to the content he/she needs to be covering.

16) As you go though the content – at intervals, refer back to what your audience may be thinking, and reflect back to them what their needs are.

17) If there are say 5 steps to something – try and elicit from the audience what they might be – again this will engage them into listening to you so that can compare their knowledge with yours.

18) Summarise at the end – And tell your audience what you have told them to reinforce your presentation.

19) Thank your audience and provide them with handouts should that be appropriate.

20) If you say you will email the presentation or provide a link to it, make sure you do.

Hoping that you all had a lovely Summer too!

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