Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you are making a presentation:
1. Show passion in your presentation. It was the German philosopher George Hegel who said: “Nothing great has been accomplished without passion.” It is very important for you to show passion when you are presenting your slides. Your future clients need to know that you truly believe in what you are saying and that you have the desire to do the work if they award it to you. They need to know that you have not made the same old boring presentation to 100 other customers and they are now victim number 101. They need to get the sense that your presentation is the most important presentation you have ever made in your career. Your passion must show through. In other words, the best presentations are the ones that carry high voltage. When you present your reasons for your ideas with passion, the combination will work magic. In his book “Moving Mountains – the Art of Letting Others See Things Your Way”, Henry Boettinger states that “passion and reason can cut through the fabric of doubt, inertia and fear” that your audience may have about your idea. Passion and reason are like the blades of a pair of scissors. Neither one can cut the fabric alone.
2. Focus your clients’ attention on you. Do not load the slides down with words that are mostly unreadable. Even if they are readable, you should refrain from using them because the text on the screen can be a great distraction to your audience. You want them to listen to what you and your team have to say rather than try to decipher what’s on the screen. The best way to get attention is to give it. You want your clients’ attention on you. So when you do your homework and demonstrate that you truly understand your clients’ problems, you will get attention from your clients.
Another way of keeping your audience’s attention is to vary your tone of voice throughout the presentation. Never use a monotone. At various stages of your talk, your tone could go from slow to fast, loud to soft, humorous to serious and melancholic to joyful. Use plenty of interesting and out-of-the-ordinary examples. If you are describing an aerodynamic equation, explain to the audience how it describes the flight of a bumble bee. Examples like that would certain keep your audience’s attention on you.
The difference between a presentation with variety and one without is like the difference between a river and a canal. If you are floating down a river, it offers you different surprises at every bend. You may go from farmland to gorges to forest just by floating along. A canal, on the other hand, is a man-made ditch that is straight and not very interesting. A good presentation is a river. A bad one is a canal.
(Note: this is an excerpt from Norman’s book “Connecting With Your Future Clients”.)