Presentation Skills 101 – Five Preparation Tips

The key to a great presentation is in the preparation, if you spend the time and energy on getting ready to deliver by the time you come to making your speech it will be the way you want it and need it to be.

Here are five simple ways to make sure you’ve laid the groundwork for a talk that leaves a lasting positive impression on your audience.

Practice Your Delivery

It’s time to rope in some friends or colleagues and use them as guinea pigs. If you want to know how people will receive what you say there’s no better way to find out than to talk to some people. When you do this get feedback, and more importantly act on that feedback.

You can also video yourself, but don’t try and evaluate your performance by yourself. We tend to be too tough or too easy on ourselves, and videos can make us extremely self conscious. So ask someone else to go through it with you.

Focus on: Content and Style

Check the Venue

Spend some time in the place (if you can) where you will be delivering, look at the set up particularly where the audience will sit in relation to you. Look at how you will get to the space in which you present and keep an eye out for obstacles, there’s nothing worse than tripping over a cable prior to a big speech.

Focus on: Access and Comfort

Don’t Over Do It

If you over prepare you can end up with a formula but no magic. It can leave you stilted and robotic and people will perceive you as “going through the motions”. Trust in yourself and rely on the principle that once you feel 90% ready, you’re ready. The other 10% isn’t big enough to worry about and is almost certainly tiny detail that no-one else notices.

Focus on: Maintaining the flow and keeping it natural

Check the Tech

Look at the projector; make sure you’re familiar and comfortable with it. Practice with any controls and ideally learn to use them without looking. Make sure your PowerPoint keeps within style guidelines and isn’t full of annoying animations and swoosh effects.

Focus on: Avoiding distractions on the day

Visual Aids

Keep words to a minimum and use your visuals to enhance and maintain your talk. You’re the source of the speech not the slides. So graphics that illustrate and improve the content are great, thousands of type written notes – are not.

Focus on: Complementing not replacing your speech

Create Win-Win Negotiations – Make People Want to Negotiate the Deal with You

If you can learn to create win-win negotiations, then you can make people want to negotiate the deal with you. You negotiate the deal by asking questions, uncovering needs, and positioning what you bring to the table as a solution to some of those needs. Whether you’re looking to be a better real estate negotiator or just get a better deal on your next high-end purchase or get some attention at work, this is for you!

Win-win Negotiation Tips

61. Use metaphors to make your point. “I’m sorry but you can’t just give me the car with no engine. I won’t even be able to start it…how am I going to drive it?” Appeal to their sense of fair play/

62. Your silence should make THEM uneasy and leap to fill the silent space….but YOU should take THEIR silence to mean ASSENT. “Great, now that we’re in agreement on…let’s move on to..” If they don’t challenge you on that right then and there, they most likely WON’T. If they don’t it wasn’t important enough of a point for them to need to get it in order to feel a win.

63. “You made the RIGHT decision talking with me today”. People want to be right, tell them they are. This is a great way to create win-win negotiations.

64. Good real estate negotiators learn to use “Subject to buyer’s partner’s approval” in addendums. Who is your partner? Could be your goldfish for all they know. Be honest that you want a buyer’s partner’s approval. They don’t necessarily need to know who it is, as that doesn’t come into their consideration of winning the deal or not.

65. Master the art of comparing values oranges to apples…if you can make them see oranges AS apples…you can get a lot of value for what you offer comparative to what they now think you’re offering, and they’ll be happy with the trade too (because you built so much value). There’s some real Zen-level verbal judo in there for you if you can catch that…

66. Do real-world research into what motivates people to buy/sell/make a decision the most. Offer it to them positioned in with what you bring to the table. They get it, they win.

67. Read Abraham Maslow’s book The Hierarchy of Needs. It’s kind of academic and dry in places but you will not find a better description ANYWHERE of how to establish yourself at the top of the pecking order in any social or business situation.

68. Smile. Winners smile even when they’re losing. They just bite their lip too.

69. Show someone the courtesy of an in person visit ESPECIALLY when they wouldn’t expect it (long distance). It makes an impression that won’t be forgotten. And an impression goes a long way to creating a win-win negotiation.

70. If you’re meeting with someone for the first time, know exactly how to pronounce their name. If you don’t know or can’t find out, when you see it written say “Wow that is a very UNIQUE name…how would I properly pronounce it?”

71. Learn how to use framing and reframing. If you don’t know what this is, you need to reframe your brain; your window to the world is blocked. You can’t give a person a winning scenario while receiving one yourself if you can’t see the world through their eyes as well as your own.

72. You’ve decided you’re going to buy a property. Now work up a. Anticipated costs of various items b. Nature and cost of available financing c. Estimates of income d. A projected timeline indicating when expenses will be incurred and when income will be received…go back and RE-NEGOTIATE when the numbers don’t work, and strive to make the solution work for all parties involved.

73. Drop a dead deal if the deal won’t work (but remember, leave the door open). No negotiation tactics or focus on win-win solutions can save you if there’s nothing to deal.

74. Create the aura of exclusivity. “I’m the only game in town for you.” You can’t create a win-win for them if they go somewhere else to deal.

75. Don’t be misled by the aura of legitimacy. Just because someone is clever enough to put “Standard Contract” across the top of a piece of paper doesn’t mean it’s LEGITIMATELY “standard”. What is “standard” anyway?

Should You Customize Your Presentation?

In other words, do you need to make sure that each time you talk about one of your ‘power’ topics, does it need to be custom fit to that specific audience?

Well, yes and no.

In other words, it depends. I’ve seen speakers that go to great lengths to make sure that they are relating to a specific audience.

For instance, when I saw Tony Robbins address the audience at the Natural Products Expo West a couple of years ago, his presentation had a lot to do with that specific industry. But he had a lot invested in it – financially. One of his companies had an interest in new FDA rules that might affect them, so his knowledge of the industry was extremely high. And because of that, his presentation was specifically tailored to the audience – even though his core message could have been delivered to virtually any gathering.

I’ve also seen keynotes that were ‘cookie-cutter’ and could have been virtually cut-and-pasted to any group without changing a single word.

Both went over quite well.

So what’s the answer?

In those cases, the audience was large – a few thousand at least. The speakers were well known, and the audiences quite receptive.

If you’re speaking to a smaller audience, your payoff will be worth it if you can tailor your presentation.

Let’s say you’re speaking to a group of fitness trainers. Before the presentation if you take some time to chat with some of the audience (either in person or with one of the organizers ahead of time) and learn a bit about the group, you’ll have some good ammunition to add to your speech.

For example, perhaps you speak with Carol, who’s been training and helping clients who are recovering from auto accidents. You tell her that an acquaintance of yours was in an auto accident recently and is in need of some direction. In your conversation you may uncover a couple of tidbits that might help your friend. If you find a way to work a few elements of that conversation into your presentation it does a couple of things:

First, it shows that you took the time to talk to and learn a bit about your audience. It shows them that you care.

Second, when you mention Carol’s name, several members of the audience will perk up a bit more because they’re sure to know who Carol is. So you’ve got them paying closer attention.

Both of those elements will make you more attractive to the audience as a good speaker. It wouldn’t surprise me if a number of them took mental notes and remember to call you when a group they’re associated with needs a speaker.

So all the way around, customizing your presentation – whether a full-blown speech written specifically for the group, or adding some elegant personalization touches – makes a lot of sense.