How to Build a Powerful Presentation From Scratch – Part 2 of 2
In this segment, we’ll show you how to polish your speech for maximum professionalism and efficacy.
1. The Takeaway
The “takeaway” refers to the key point or points you want your audience members to remember (and possibly take action on) long after your talk is complete and you take a bow. Speakers who master the art of the takeaway are the ones who tend to have the most lasting impact on their audiences – sometimes for years to come.
2. To thine own self be true
Perhaps Shakespeare said it best, and his wisdom still rings true after all these years. If it’s one thing an audience can spot a mile away, it’s a phony. Be authentically you and you will win your audience over every time – even if the “real you” isn’t witty, funny, or outgoing. Being yourself means incorporating humor that suits YOU, using a delivery style that fits your personality, and presenting information that you personally believe in. Additionally, when you are being yourself, you will find that presenting becomes easier and more natural, since trying to be anything else can only serve to increase your nervousness. Go for it!
3. Effective use of humor
As mentioned in the prior paragraph, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. If you’re not a funny guy, don’t feel as though you need to pepper your presentation with jokes and humor, if merely one powerful joke – that you can tell masterfully – would suffice. If you have a wry, or dry sense of humor, work that angle. If sarcasm is your thing, use it – but be sure people know when you’re being ironic or sarcastic (you’d be surprised). If you’re a funny person, don’t over-do the humor; make sure you only apply humor when it’s relevant to the material (or during a segue – see our recent post on mastering the segue), and don’t let the humor upstage the material itself and the takeaway. Humor should enhance your talk and engage your audience.
It’s so simple, yet so powerful. Take several deep breaths while working on creating and polishing your presentation – it will keep your head clear and ensure a true focus. Practice deep breathing just before you stand up to present, to relax your body, sharpen your focus and calm your nerves. Remember to breathe during your talk, and if should you stumble, lose your place or otherwise become flustered, remember to take a moment to breathe before you proceed.