A couple of weeks ago Google’s co-founder and new chief executive, Larry Page, presented to market analysts the company’s results for his first full quarter as CEO. Among the topics addressed was the subject du jour, Google+, the company’s biggest launch under the new CEO’s leadership. For the first time the company showed statistics on the new social network that has been one of the trendiest topics on the Internet since it was released. Talk about an important presentation!
According to The New York Times, unlike other occasions, “it seemed as if he (Larry Page) had attended corporate charm school, as he repeatedly said how excited he was (…).” The presenter’s positive attitude helped convey Google’s exciting outlook.
Speak from the heart
So it’s no news that the ability to communicate well and engage the audience is a high-value asset that impacts a company’s image and can make or break product launches or sales pitches. Good presenters manage to deliver extraordinary presentations that not only have rational appeal but also emotional. This is important because people make decisions with their minds and hearts.
A ubiquitous example in the corporate world is Apple’s CEO. Needless to say, besides the cutting-edge, ingenious products Apple develops, the highlight of Apple’s rollouts is Steve Jobs and his storytelling techniques.
But is Jobs’ presentation style the magical recipe one must follow to make successful presentations? It is not that simple. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently presented his company’s new Skype partnership with a Jobsian approach. It didn’t quite work as expected. On his column on CNN.com, John Sutter explains the key features imitated by Zuckerberg and why it doesn’t do anything for his presentation. Sutter’s main point is that, while Jobs speaks in a captivating, appealing way to a broader audience, Zuckerberg is too technical and resorts to expressions and graphs that only resonate with tech geeks.
This perfectly exemplifies how important it is for the presenter to know the audience and adjust his speech accordingly. Although Zuckerberg tried to channel Jobs’ coolness, he missed it by a mile.
Follow these tips to deliver a good presentation:
1. As you saw, the presenter must know his audience and prepare a presentation that appeals to it.
2. Know your story flawlessly.
3. Study the presentation flow and its sequencing.
4. Practice. Practice. Practice.
5. Be spontaneous.
6. Speak concisely, clearly and simply.
7. Avoid clichés and jargons (especially you, Zuckerberg!).
8. Improvise as needed – have a few backup stories based on your personal experience to share if you feel it is appropriate and will help your presentation.
9. Convey enthusiasm in your voice.
10. Make visual contact with your audience, one person at a time – it indicates you are trustworthy and engages people.