Delivering the perfect presentation is key to sealing the important deals and getting your big break. Here, we’ll explain how you can give the killer presentations you need to get ahead in finance.
Make Yourself Heard
There are quite a few things to think about when giving a lengthy speech to an audience. How well you speak will likely make or break your presentation. It’s best to practise on your own in front of a mirror first, because you won’t be able to consciously work everything out about your delivery style during the presentation itself.
You need to speak slowly, clearly and at a reasonable volume. Try to avoid filler words like “like”, “you know” and so forth, and don’t keep going “umm…” or “err…” every time you pause; you’ll appear more pensive and professional if you just remain silent for a second than if you keep making unnecessary noises.
Make eye contact with your audience and smile. If you’re using notes, don’t spend your whole time looking at the text. Face the audience at all times. Don’t try and learn everything you say by heart; learn only a basic outline that you fill in as you go, otherwise you will get stuck trying to remember the details of your script.
Dress to Impress
What you wear is also very important at conveying professionalism. You don’t want your audience to be distracted by your appearance. If you’re making a first impression, try to avoid wearing anything eccentric like brightly coloured socks. Wear a freshly laundered suit with a conservative tie. Polish your shoes. Don’t stuff bulky items into your trouser pockets.
Be clean shaven or trim your beard as neatly as possible. Wash your face and floss your teeth. Make sure your breath doesn’t smell. Get to bed in good time the night before so that you don’t appear haggard. Stand up straight and avoid fiddling with your clothes or hands while you talk.
Have the Right Equipment Handy
Practising your speech is one thing, but delivering a great presentation also means having the right tools to hand. Presentation binders will help you keep all the paper materials you need together, properly ordered and easily accessible. Get a laser pointer so you don’t have to walk up to the screen to indicate things with your finger. Have a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener and whiteboard marker on you. Make sure your phone and any other devices that might make an annoying noise are switched off.
Get the PowerPoint Right
If you’re using PowerPoint slides, you need to make sure you design and use your slideshow in a way that doesn’t distract or detract from the rest of your presentation.
Make your slides look neat and professional. You want to make it look like you’ve put decent effort into it, so don’t opt for the default colours and templates. Keep the font large and don’t put too much writing on each slide; you don’t want your audience ignoring your speech as they squint at long paragraphs of tiny text.
Choose a warm and simple colour scheme. Don’t go for garishness or strange fonts. Stick to only very basic animations or none at all, and try to maintain consistent style throughout. Don’t put anything in the PowerPoint unless you intend to explicitly mention it. And finally: get tech savvy so you don’t waste 10 minutes at the start embarrassingly failing to get the slideshow to work.