I recently took on the challenge of presenting a Marketing Master Class for Women on Wednesday a networking group that I co-run.  Now the challenge was not speaking as I am a confident speaker, the challenge was that I had just 10-minutes. 

In preparing for my presentation it got me thinking about the tools and techniques that I use; some I picked up at a presentation training day … without giving too much away about my age … over 15-years ago and perhaps less than 20!

So, here are my top tips to presenting with confidence!

1. Preparation is key – find out who you are presenting to, what the audience is expecting and ask how long you will be speaking.  Understanding your audience will ensure that your content is appropriate and understood.

2. Keep it simple - if you are not a confident speaker but have decided to use PowerPoint don’t use flashing images and lines sweeping across the page, as this may distract you and will result in you losing your way. 

3. Use short, sharp bullet points if using PowerPoint and not long winded sentences or paragraphs that you might be tempted to read.  This might work once or twice in your presentation if appropriate but not for every slide!

4. Eye contact – even if you have decided to read your presentation keep making eye contact with your audience to engage them.  I have read speeches, as opposed to presentations, when for example I have been presenting at award ceremonies and time is very tight but I still adlib a little and keep looking back up at the audience.

5. Timing is everything – when I attended the presentation training all those years ago I was told one card equals one minute (really showing my age now)!  I still use this today and have just replaced card with slide.

6. Dress to impress – you need to feel and look confident even if you are not on the inside.  Take a little extra time with your appearance and even put your clothes out the night before so you are not stressing on the morning.  I always wear heels and usually a suit or dress … although this may not work for the males.

7. Talk slowly and clearly – easier said than done but if you have rehearsed your presentation and are confident about your timings you can relax.  Stick to your notes and don’t waffle or go off on a tangent, which may result in your presentation flow being lost and most likely rushing to finish.

8. Always end with a call to action - it might be to offer a FREE 30-minute telephone consultation or taster session if booked on the day or simply asking the audience to sign up to your newsletter.  It is about continuing the engagement that you have begun through your presentation.

I chose to give a Master Class over a presentation solely about me and my business because I wanted to do something different and made it a little fun by asking someone to time me.  I knew my audience well (I should do after 10-years of managing the group) so used examples that were appropriate and was able to engage them by using their name or looking directly at them when mentioning their business sector.

My last tip is to stand up, even when I attend a networking group where elevator pitches by others are done from a sitting position I always stand; as I then feel in control and can actually better concentrate on the task in hand.

In case you are interested my presentation lasted 13-minutes (well I did have 13-slides) .. not bad!

"Breathe life into the presentation, make it alive, tangible, exciting.  Don't start unless you do it with the utmost passion." Carmen Taran