A business presentation helps you convey your ideas to your coworkers and can help you be an effective part of a team. Knowing how to give an effective business presentation can help you stand out in your career as a valuable asset to your company. With the right tips and preparation, you can give a winning business presentation. In this article, we discuss what a business presentation is, why it is important and how to make and present an effective business presentation.
What is a business presentation?
A business presentation is a demonstration in which the presenter uses public speaking and visual materials to communicate important information to a group of business professionals such as co-workers, supervisors, managers and investors. An effective business presentation goes beyond lecturing and contains elements similar to a story.
Why business presentations are important
Business presentations are important because employees, supervisors and managers often use them as a way to convey ideas, sell a product or service, motivate people within their organization, present requests to banks to finance loans and for other business purposes. The main purpose of any business presentation is to convey important information to others. Having the skills needed to give an effective business presentation is a way to show your communication and organization skills and your knowledge of the business you work for. When giving a business presentation, your audience will likely view you as a subject matter expert (SME).
Being able to create and present effective business presentations can also help you advance your career by helping you develop leadership skills, making you stand out as a potential candidate for a promotion, proving your worth to your employer and gaining valuable experience you can highlight on your resume.
How to prepare a business presentation
Follow these steps to help you create a great business presentation:
- Know your audience.
- Know your material.
- Organize your material.
- Consider the visual appearance of your presentation.
- Practice delivering your presentation.
- Prepare what you will wear for your presentation.
1. Know your audience
The first step to creating any type of presentation is to know who your audience is. Understanding the person or people who will be hearing your presentation is critical to creating a presentation that will be received positively by your audience. It is important for you to be able to have relevant graphics and stories that can capture your audiences’ attention.
For example, you would use a different presentation style and information for a business presentation being received by your supervisor or manager than you would for one being received by your co-workers. While presentations given to your supervisor or manager will likely be more formal than those given to your co-workers, it is important to make sure your presentation professionally conveys the information you are discussing regardless of who your audience is.
2. Know your material
Usually, business presentations are given by someone who is considered an SME about the topic they are discussing. To be a great presenter, you should prepare to show you are an SME by ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of the material you will be presenting, the goals of your presentation and anticipating any questions your audience may ask. Knowing the current trends in your area of expertise is essential. You can accomplish this with a continuous process of reading, learning, developing and attending subject matter conferences.
3. Organize your material
Organizing your presentation material is important for successfully conveying information to your audience. You can do this by researching your topic and using an outline to organize your presentation materials. On the day of your presentation, make sure your presentation’s slides are in order, that you have all the equipment you need for the presentation and that you are certain of the time and place. Being organized and prepared helps you successfully deliver business presentations with ease and confidence.
4. Consider the visual appearance of your presentation
The visual appearance of your presentation will be important to capture your audiences’ attention, engaging your audience in your presentation and maintaining their attention. Whether you choose to use card stock, a whiteboard or electronic presentation software, visual elements can support and enhance your message. Be cautious of using too many graphics or effects to ensure the content of your presentation remains the primary focus.
You can make the visual appearance of your presentation more appealing by using simple graphics, fonts and colors to highlight the content and limiting the amount of text on each slide and unnecessary sounds such as music.
5. Practice delivering your presentation
Practicing delivering your presentation several times leading up to your presentation date will help you feel more confident and comfortable on the day of your presentation. This confidence is important to convince your audience you are knowledgeable about the information you are conveying. You can practice your presentation both with and without your notes and alone and in front of a test audience.
6. Prepare what you will wear for your presentation
As a speaker, you should also be aware of how you are presenting yourself to your audience. When you are giving a business presentation, it is important to dress professionally with neutral clothing tones and textures. Your clothes should also be clean, free of wrinkles and stains and fit you well. If you wear makeup or fragrances, it is important to do so minimally to ensure your audiences’ focus remains on the content of your presentation.
Tips for giving a business presentation
Here are additional tips to help you deliver a great business presentation:
Eliminate fear of rejection
Fear of rejection is common for public speakers. It may help you to remember that the audience is there to learn the information you can teach them and not judge the presenter personally. Delivering presentations is a great way to grow and develop both personally and professionally.
Form a conversation
A presentation is a form of communication that should involve an engaged conversation between you and the audience. Try thinking of your presentation as a personal conversation you are having one-on-one or with a small group of co-workers, family or friends. The only difference is your presentation is on a stage or in a conference room and possibly with a larger group of people.
Control the pace of your speech
Try to remain focused on the pace at which you are speaking to ensure you are not speaking either too fast or too slow. You can do this by pacing your speech with the slides in your presentation, practicing deep breathing exercises that help control nerves and speaking clearly. Your audience will be better able to understand you and the information you are presenting if you control your pace.
Keep your presentation length appropriate
Make sure your presentation length is long enough to fully convey the information you need to present and brief enough to maintain your audiences’ attention and engagement. Most business presentations try to keep a presentation to thirty minutes or less.