The quality of a presentation mostly depends on the person presenting. If the way you speak doesn't hold the audience's attention, the message will not come across, no matter how strong your text is. But how do you keep the audience's attention? Staffing Specialist Walters People offers six tips on how to deliver a powerful presentation.   

1. Start strong 

You have probably heard it before; the first impression is very important. To make a good first impression during a presentation you need to realize that your non-verbal communication - your posture and facial expression - is almost as important as what you say. Enter the room with enthusiasm, make eye contact and possibly tell a joke to break the ice. 

The start of the presentation gives you the chance to draw your audience into your story. Give people a reason to keep listening. Introduce yourself, explain the purpose of the presentation and the elements that will be dealt with. This way, people immediately click: 'hey, that's interesting', they know what to expect. 

2. Make sure you know your story  

Make sure you know your text through and through. Reading out loud really kills your powers of persuasion. PowerPoint can help to give your presentation a clear structure but avoid reading out the slides. So only show the broad outlines or figures in your PowerPoint presentation and deal with the subject verbally. Think up a few appealing examples (case studies) that make your story come alive. One of the pitfalls of being too busy with your presentation is that you will lose contact with your audience. If you are busy with your slides, so is your audience. And you want their attention to be focused on you! 

3. Keep it short 

Especially if you are very committed to the topic, it is easy to get bogged down in less relevant details, which can make your story too long and turn the listener off. Go through your presentation and ask yourself at each point whether the information adds anything for the listener.
Always test your presentation with someone from the target group. This way, you can find out if there are things in it that are not so important for your audience, or things that need more explanation. 

4. Speak slowly 

Speaking too quickly is often a sign of nervousness and can make it difficult for the listener to follow your story. Pay attention to your breathing. If you breathe from your belly, you will notice that you are less likely to get out of breath. If you notice that you are losing your natural rhythm, there are tricks to regain control. You can take a sip of water every now and then. This will give you the few seconds you need to regain control. Also keep asking your audience questions: 'what do you think of this, do you have an example of this, who has a different opinion?'. This gives you some space to catch your breath and keeps your listeners engaged in your story. 

5. Keep moving 

We never stand still, so if you stand in the same place during a presentation, it will come across as unnatural. Use your hands, step aside or point at something on the screen. Look at different people in the audience to make a connection. In the beginning, you will have to be very conscious of this, but you will see that after a few times, it will come naturally. The most natural position is with your two legs slightly apart and your hands next to your body. Of course, you alternate this with movement. You can hold something in your hands if you like, but be careful not to click with a pen, for example. 

6. Pay attention to the use of your voice 

There is nothing as annoying as a speaker who cannot hear you well. Even if you use a microphone, it is still important that you pay attention to the volume of your voice. But also, your intonation - the natural use of high and low notes - and clear articulation make sure that you keep people with your story. Many people tend to speak in one tone of voice. They lose their natural intonation. The trick is to stay energetic - then intonation comes almost naturally.


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