As a startup, you need to present to people all the time. You make presentations to customers, partners, investors, potential employees and others. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have never been training in public speaking or presentation skills.
The following is our Top 10 Tips for Presentations.
Have a clear objective. When you are creating your presentation, begin with a clear objective. Entrepreneurs feel like this is “their one chance” so they try to tell the audience everything possible. This approach NEVER works. Focus on just the most important things you need to communicate in order to achieve your objective.
Win the first 30 seconds. The first 30 seconds of a presentation are critical. You need to find a way to “hook” the audience or their minds will wander. Most presentations begin with the presenter giving their name and the name of the company. That is a waste of the first 30 seconds. Tell the audience something that is going to make them say “this is interesting, I need to pay attention.”
KYSS – Keep your slides simple. This is related to point #1 above. Many entrepreneurs keep adding things to their slides because they want to tell the audience everything. Always ask yourself, do I really need this on the slide to make my point? If the answer is no, delete it.
Use really big fonts. One of the simplest ways to KYSS is to use really big fonts. We recommend at least 30-point type. This ensures the text is readable at a distance and it limits the amount of words you can put on a slide.
Don’t confuse the audience with your pictures. Choose your pictures carefully. The audience needs to instantly understand why the picture is there. If the audience has to study the picture to understand it, they aren’t paying attention to you.
Don’t confuse your audience with complex graphics. This is similar to point #5 above. Graphs need to be instantly understood.
Tell them a story. The best presentations take the audience on a journey. One slide flows into the next. The slides can tell the audience the facts. It is your job to share the meaning of the facts. You bring the facts to life.
Connect with the audience as people. This is really hard, especially in large groups. In order to do this, you have to come across as a real person, not a robot on the stage. A presentation needs to be seen as a conversation with the audience. The simplest way to do this is to speak from the heart.
Don’t lie. We should have to say this, but we see entrepreneurs stretch the truth or outright lie all the time. It is not worth it. If you are caught in a single lie in your presentations, the audience will assume everything else is a lie.
Practice and then practice some more. Giving presentations is a challenge for most people. As a general rule, you need to rehearse a presentation at least 10 times before you can deliver it with great confidence. If you are a the point where you can deliver the presentation without looking at the slides, you have practiced enough.