Think HBR

Presenting at a business function

Conference Room mics
A presentation by one or more people is the primary function of many business functions. Making a presentation that is of interest to the audience and also of value to the presenting organisation can be a difficult task.
The following tips are designed to help.
Venue – Ensure you have an appropriate venue. Make sure there is an appropriate sound system and other facilities that may be required, such as a data projector.
The room should be comfortably large enough, but not too large or it will feel empty. Reasonably comfortable seating should be available in sufficient quantity for attendees, but not so many that most are unused. The temperature should also be comfortable.
Preparing the presentation – One of the keys to a good presentation is preparation. The presentation should be kept short and to the point. Long company or personal histories may be of interest to you but are likely to bore much of the audience. Apart from very short presentations, it is often good to use a data projector where useful, but don’t overdo it. Projected images should be readable by all visitors, even at the back. Projected data, video or audio are also a good way to break up the presentation and maintain audience interest. A sprinkling of humour and a human touch now and then never goes astray. If it will be a longer presentation, it is advisable to mix up the oral and electronic presentations so that each portion is easily digested by the audience. A presentation rehearsal works well for many people to ensure you are properly prepared.
If there is going to be a question time then make sure that you are prepared to answer them.
On the day – Arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare and have the sound system and data projector/computer tested and ready to go.
There is nothing worse for both the audience and the presenter than a presentation beginning with an equipment problem. Some people are natural born speakers, whilst others find it very difficult. When delivering the presentation try to present in a calm manner but with enthusiasm. If there is a question time then answer concisely and don’t let it drag on. Inform the audience that you are also happy to talk after the presentation. If appropriate, gather forms or contact information from the audience.
After the presentation – Review how the presentation went. Were there any problems or ways you could do better? If the same presentation will be used again then think of ways to improve it. If there are people to contact following the presentation, ensure it is done in a timely manner.