Tips to Make a Good Business Presentation

Good Presentation Skills are Essential in Today's Competitive World

Today, it’s not just what you know that counts but how you present your knowledge to the world. In this guide, we'll look at how to deliver a professional presentation to an audience that differentiates you from the crowd.

Delivering accomplished presentations is a vital skill in anyone's armoury whether you're a student just starting out or the head of a large organisation. So, if you want your presentations to be impressive and persuasive then read on!

Here are lots of tips and techniques for preparing successful presentations and how to get your points across. We'll also consider presentation skills training.

Even if you don’t normally give presentations as part of your day-job, one day you'll need to address a hobby group or a community organisation so it pays to prepare and develop those skills now.

These days, public speaking and business presentations are also often a key part of the recruitment and selection process, particularly in education, consultancy or marketing.

What Do We Mean By a Presentation?

Here are a few examples:

A design review
A project brief to colleagues (peer review)
A pitch to potential customers or senior executives
A business presentation
A paper at an international conference or exhibition
Sharing a few tips with fellow hobbyists - for example, other pet owners
How Do I Begin?

First decide what you want to say and how much time is available to do it. If it is a conference or seminar then you will probably be allocated a fixed period of time; typically 15-30 minutes, plus time for questions.

Technical people, in particular, often need to focus on a great deal of detail in their everyday work, so the most common mistake when giving a presentation is to include too much information.

The golden rule is, ‘Keep It Simple’. Think of a presentation as designing an advertisement. You should focus on a few key themes and benefits. You don't fill an advert or a presentation with detail such as circuit diagrams or technical data sheets.

How often have you sat through a presentation where there was so much information on the screen you just couldn't read it all before the slide disappeared from the screen? Remember how it made you feel?

A Good Presentation

A good presentation needs an introduction, followed by the main body and an ending with some conclusions. It is also helpful if the main body breaks into about three key themes. You can leave the detail either for inclusion in your written paper or to be dealt with during question time.

Once you've mapped out what you want to say, you will need some visual material and, if appropriate, a formal paper or maybe a brief the audience can read beforehand. For an informal peer review a whiteboard or a flip-chart is fine. For a more formal occasion, the use of a PC presentation package such as PowerPoint (Power Point) may be more suitable.

How Many Slides?

As a general rule, have about one slide or less for each minute of elapsed time. Most people, when first attempting a 10-minute talk, will find themselves speaking for well over 20 minutes. Remember you are talking about something that is of great personal interest so you will find you have far more to say than you expect.

If you’re doing a marketing-type presentation, remember to present benefits rather than features. For example, the user of the latest mobile phone probably isn’t interested in bandwidths or frequencies, but he or she is interested in how quickly and easily a snapshot or movie taken in London with the new toy will be transmitted to a friend in New York.

Useful Technology

If you don’t know if a projector will be available, lightweight, Portable Projectors are becoming more affordable. Ideally take the presentation on your own laptop. If this isn’t possible, PC presentation packages like PowerPoint allow you to create a self-contained presentation with a built-in viewer. Load this onto a USB Memory Stick or a CD then you will avoid any software compatibility problems. Another useful gadget is a Wireless Laser Pointer which enables you to control the presentation remotely without having your hand on the mouse.

What Should Go on the Slides?

Select a large, readable font. Make sure the colours you choose work well on a big screen. White on a blue background is a safe choice. Even if your company have a designated template it may be worth the risk of using a different one for an internal presentation so you stand out from the crowd.

Keep the number of words to a minimum. If you do use bullet points then keep the number of bullets to a minimum. Avoid 'Death By Powerpoint' (presentations where the audience switches off because of page after page of bulleted text).

Try to introduce visual information - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. For example, if you are talking about a lovable pet then a photo can say far more than words ever can.

If you’re referring to software tools then one or more simple screen dumps included in the presentation might help. Simple block diagrams are good. If the diagram is more complicated then animate the presentation so it builds gradually (controlled by mouse clicks) as you describe it.

You might also consider a short video clip. Even a 'sound bite' is a possibility to make your presentation different. Why not consider a relevant piece of music to start with?

Finally, avoid simply writing on the slide what you want to say and avoid too much detail. The slide should simply act as a visual cue to help you get your ideas across. It's not a script!

Sense of Humour Helps

Try to add a little humour or even a little drama. If you're pitching green solutions to a smaller audience then throw some newspapers around with global warming headlines. Generally having something simple to pass around, like a fabric, a component or a sample product, is good.

Paint a bleak picture and look gloomy then break into a broad smile as you pitch your solution. Don't be afraid to sell. If you're passionate about something let it show, There is no substitute for real enthusiasm in getting your ideas across.

What About the Day Itself?

Make sure you are familiar with the venue and your material. Take advantage of any opportunity to rehearse with the equipment you will be using. Don't be afraid to adjust things to suit your needs. Jot down what you want to say over each slide on a printout but don't try to write a script - just a few key words for each point will do.

In practice, by the time you give the presentation, you won't need your notes. But if you do dry up, then the notes are your safety net. Even if you are petrified and feel totally inadequate, make yourself feel confident. Think positive. Try to smile. Dressing up can help. A smart suit or dress can make you to feel more confident (Why not use the presentation as excuse to improve your wardrobe!)

Presentation Skills Training

Presentation skills courses or workshops can be a helpful tool in developing these skills. It is really beneficial to present to a small group of people, in a ‘safe’ learning situation, and share with one another what works and what doesn’t.

Presentation training works particularly well when augmented with a video camera so the presenter can get some idea of how their presentation actually looked to the audience. This enables the trainer to help the presenter to spot any annoying mannerisms, awkward body language or hesitations and hopefully eliminate them.

Presentation Guide - Final Thoughts

People often feel they are selling out when they simplify complex ideas and designs for a presentation. However, the ability to make advanced technology and science accessible and understandable to a wider audience is a vital asset in this increasingly technology-based world.

Delivering successful, effective presentations is an essential skill in increasingly competitive business and career markets.

Public speaking skills and the ability to produce and deliver winning, persuasive presentations helps secure a new job or progress in your current post.

If you're not confident in putting together a presentation or unfamiliar with tools like PowerPoint then either teach yourself, find a colleague to coach and mentor you or look for a suitable course or some training material. You'll find a flair for presentations really pays dividends, particularly in these times of rapid change when even continuing to hold down a job can be a real challenge!

Read more

Tips for public speaking and presentation skills

Have you ever given thought to the importance of public speaking? Do you see areas it can benefit you in the seemingly ‘ordinary’ activities of your daily life? Have you ever considered how effective public speaking could boost your career and help you in your family, school, workplace and social gatherings?

I bet, you might not even have thought of how public speaking could help you during job interview sessions!

Ironically, so many people simply give the importance of public speaking a passing thought. They might even dismiss the thought before it ever sprang up! They reason…

“What the heck is my business with the importance of public speaking? I’m not a professional public speaker and I don’t intend to be the next Martin Luther King… So, why bother my head over the importance of public speaking?!”

BIG mistake!

I’m glad you are not like this set of people. Otherwise you wouldn't have read this far!

Really, like I explained in The Art of Public Speaking, public speaking does not necessarily have to take place in a structured, formal setting as in a hall filled with people listening to a speaker on a podium.

Bottom line? Simple…

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to be interested in the benefits of public speaking. Reason being that public speaking takes place daily even during those things we perceive as ‘ordinary’ activities of life… It’s simply a part of life!

OK, enough of this ‘blah, blah, blah’. Let’s get right into the discussion.

Ready? Then follow me…

The Benefits of Public Speaking

The importance of public speaking to you as an individual and to the society at large is numerous. However, I have come up with the very important ones. Here they are…

It Boosts Confidence and Helps Overcome Fear

Surveys have shown that the number one fear in the world is the fear of public speaking. This means that most people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death!

Alarming! Isn't it? But that is the truth!

However, if you gather enough knowledge about your topic and practice well before you deliver (even your first) speech, it can help you reduce anxiety greatly. Then as you consistently engage in art of public speaking you will horn your skills, build your confidence and gradually take control of your fear.

My personal experience has proved this to be true. Naturally, I was a very shy person. I found it hard to make new friends and keep old ones. Public speaking? Nah! Nah! Nah! Don’t even go there… it was one of my greatest fears!

But the story has changed now. Today, I can confidently stand in front of thousands of people and give a captivating speech!

You ask me how? Hmm…One of the things that helped me was consistently engaging in public speaking. I got better and better with every speech I delivered.

The moral of the story is…

One of the importance of public speaking is that it can help boost your confidence and help you reduce anxiety when you have to face a group of people.

It Improves Communication Skills

You must have heard statements such as: “the error was as a result of breakdown in communication” or “it was due to communication gap”. At times, the consequences of such ‘communication gaps’ could be very, very costly!

Nothing is more frustrating than trying hard to pass across valuable information and the recipient doesn't seem to ‘get it’. Surprisingly, the problem might lie with you and not the recipient!

Why? You are not communicating effectively!

Public speaking is a form of communication. The more you engage in public speaking, the more you sharpen your communication skills. Such good communication skills you develop can help you connect with people’s emotions and pass your message across in a way that is easy to understand.

It Improves Interpersonal Skills and Relationships

Imagine you at a party or any other gathering. And there is this person who relates well with people— even those she is meeting for the first time. she is able to easily start conversations, carry people along and make new friends. (Don’t get me wrong… I’m not taking about the irritating, lousy ‘show offs’)

How do you see such a person? No doubt, you will almost form a liking for her instantly.

Such skills and confidence can be developed through public speaking. And such interpersonal skills will help you maintain good relationship with your family, friends, classmates or workmates.

It Leads to Better Image and Perception

Why do you think people respect great personalities like Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Dale Carnegie and others? It is because of their public speaking abilities. It’s as simple as that!

So, what’s my point?

Mastering the art of public speaking helps you to make a good impression on other people. Your friends, classmates, teachers, workmates, bosses and others will come to respect you. And this will positively affect their perception of you.

It Fosters Feelings of Self-Worthiness and Self-Esteem

Have you ever given a successful speech or made a nice presentation before? How did you feel after such exciting occasions?

I can confidently say that you had a strong feeling of satisfaction and inner joy that words could hardly describe! Such moments in life give you a sense of self-worthiness. This boost to your self-esteem will make you successful in other endeavors of life.

It Serves As A Career Booster

The communication skills, confidence and improved self-esteem you develop through public speaking can help you excel at job interviews. It can also aid in getting deserved promotions at work.

Talking about job interviews, the interviewer looks beyond your qualifications. Otherwise, your resume is enough to do the job. You won’t need any interview! But it doesn't work that way…

Your ability to communicate effectively, your interpersonal skills, confidence and comportment play a very important role in the decision making process. Thus, the importance of public speaking to your career cannot be over-emphasized.

It Makes You More Knowledgeable

Public speaking increases your knowledge base. One of the key success factors in public speaking is to know your subject inside out. That makes the delivery flow naturally and makes you relax. Often times this calls for doing extensive research on the subject. Such research adds to your reservoir of knowledge.

For example, when I wanted to write the page on the history of public speaking I had to do more research to add to my knowledge of the subject. I now know more about the history of public speaking than I did before. That’s exactly what I’m saying!

It is a Way of Giving Back to the Society

How? You may wonder. Through public speaking you share your knowledge with others. You can inspire people, lifting up their dampened spirit. You can motivate people to take certain ‘profitable’ action that impact positively on their lives or the society. By so doing you are giving back to the society.

For example, the world today boasts of great names that changed the world with their public speaking abilities. Even though many of them have died, the world still finds it hard to forget them.

It Helps Improve Academic Performance

The discipline plus the knowledge you acquire through public speaking can help improve your performance in school.

As you can see, the importance of public speaking cuts across all walks of life. There is hardly any area of life it cannot be applied. And to think that it is only meant for certain set of people is one of the worst mistakes one can ever make on the surface of the earth!

I am very sure that if you think hard you can come up with more benefits of public speaking. The points I discussed above are not all inclusive.

So dear, my candid advice (as usual) is…

Whenever you have the opportunity to develop your public speaking skills, please don’t throw it away… Grab it with both hands! Read all the ‘read-ables’, watch all the ‘watch-ables’. Practice, practice and practice!

Then someday I strongly hope to have the privilege to listen to you as you confidently and masterfully make a powerful, captivating delivery!

Did I hear you say “really?’’

Read more

How to be a successful freelance makeup artist?

As a freelance makeup artist, you're the core of your business. Therefore, it is up to you, and only you, to ensure that each aspect of your business is functioning as it should. This includes bookkeeping, invoicing, collecting testimonials, working on clients and marketing your makeup business. One of the most tedious tasks that most makeup artists dread is marketing their businesses. You market your business by using various methods of promotion to spread the word about your business in a positive manner to get clients on a consistent basis. This is quite possibly one of the most important aspects of your business, as without clients there is no business to speak of.

If you're a full-time freelance makeup artist, your livelihood depends on your ability to successfully attract clients. Even if you're a part-time freelance makeup artist, the more diligent you are in marketing your business right now, the sooner you will be able to make the leap to becoming a full-time makeup artist. Therefore, implementing some of the following tips just may be the key to developing a steady stream of income as a freelance makeup artist. Of course, there's no need to stop just at this list. Marketing requires consistent efforts. Implement additional promotional ideas into your marketing plan. It's always better to over-promote, than to under-promote.

Makeup Artistry Business

Business Bookmarks. Rather than simply creating an ordinary business card, create a business bookmark and use it to insert into relevant books in the library. On this business bookmark, include your business information and a photo of one of your best portfolio shots. Then, head out to the library and insert your business bookmarks into random pages of relevant books. For example, a bridal makeup artist would insert her bookmarks into wedding planning books, bridal makeup, wedding craft books, books about prom, modeling, photography, etc.

Film YouTube Videos. Millions of people head to YouTube for beauty advice, makeup reviews and makeup tutorials. Develop a following for yourself as a professional makeup artist by creating high quality makeup tutorials, reviews and giving tips to combat common issues, such as concealing under-eye circles, acne, and making small lips look plumper. When creating your videos use good lighting, speak clearly and opt for a true video camera rather than using one that may be built into your computer. In addition, if you make partner on YouTube (your videos must be quite popular), it'll be an effective way to supplement your income while still following your passion in makeup.

Join Model Mayhem is a website where creative professionals, such as photographers, models, and of course, makeup artists, can connect with one another. You can network with talented professionals in your area and work together to develop all of your portfolios simultaneously. And, photographers, models and interested clients can contact you for paid work through your profile. It's necessary to add value to the Model Mayhem community. Spend time creating a professionally written bio and uploading quality pictures. Also, take the initiative by reaching out to local talent to proactively network your way to success.

Create a website. Most prospective clients research makeup artists before deciding to hire them. If your portfolio isn't online, you very well may lose potential clients to the competition. Create a website to showcase your portfolio, and also add pages that display your bio, and rates. Many makeup artists choose to quote on a case by case basis, therefore you may choose to simply implement a contact form and ask prospective clients to contact you for a quote.

Write a blog. Writing a blog in addition to your website is one of the most effective ways to promote your business. Write blog posts about previous work you've done including photos of the process/client if possible, post tutorials and reviews. Readers generally like list-based blog posts, such as “Top 10 NYX Products” or “My 5 Favorite Lipsticks of all time. As always, write your blog posts in a professional voice as this is an avenue in which you promote your business, rather than rant about your everyday life.

Wear your work. Each time you leave the house, do your makeup in a professional, interesting and awe-inspiring manner. Soon enough, people at the grocery store, mall, school or wherever you seem to be, will begin to approach you to complement you on your makeup. Take this opportunity to inform your admirers that you're a makeup artist, and hand them a business card.

Network with other makeup artist. Networking with other makeup artists opens the door to you receiving their overflow, and vice a versa. When your makeup artist acquaintance has too many clients contacting her for work, she may refer them to you rather than turning them away altogether. This is an I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch mine type of agreement. When you have overflow, send it her way, and when she has overflow she just may send it your way. To truly maximize the potential of this technique network often with a large number of other makeup artists to hopefully receive regular overflow.

Car Decals. Use car decals to promote your makeup artistry business. Car decals are valuable forms of advertisement for your makeup artist business as everyone that sees your car on the road will become aware of your services. Everyone on the road is a potential customer or knows someone that may need your services. Therefore, drivers that are stopped at red lights and spot your car decal may take down your number to contact you or to pass onto someone that they know that may be in need of your services. In order to enhance the visibility you receive through your car decals, have additional car decals made and ask your spouse, parents and best friends to place one on their vehicles. By doing so, you'll have four or more cars on the road simultaneously promoting your business rather than just one.

Participate in social media. Social networking is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your freelance makeup artist business. Promote your business on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and any other social networking websites you're active on. The best way to promote your business is by offering a discount, sending a link to a blog post or YouTube video or updating your fans on the current happenings of your makeup artist business.

Form local alliances. Teaming up with local bridal businesses (if that's the niche of makeup artistry you're in) can be highly profitable for your business. You can simply ask local bridal shops, accessories shops, bakeries and wedding planners to pass out your business' information if they have a bride that is yet to hire a makeup artist. In exchange, you can hand out their information to your clients as well to reach a mutually beneficial partnership. Or, you can offer them a commission for every bride that they refer to you and becomes a client. Both options are equally attractive to complementary businesses as they both result in additional revenue for the shop.

Join local business associations. Though it is unlikely that you'll land clients on-the-spot at local networking events, becoming a part of your local business associations can prove to be an effective way of getting clients as a makeup artist in the long-run. Being an active member of such associations will cause word of mouth promotion of your business on a local level, and this is one of the purest forms of advertising your business can receive. A real estate agent or lawyer may contact you down the road to do their makeup for their head shots. Or, a daughter of one of the members may be getting married or attending prom in the upcoming months. This is an especially effective tactic if you're in a small town, as you'll likely have very little competition from other makeup artists.

Post an ad in the newspaper. Posting ads in the newspaper is a severely underrated method of marketing your business. Brides often look through the newspaper to find advertisements for local businesses, such as wedding venues and makeup artists while planning their wedding. Therefore, it's up to you to ensure that your ad appears in the paper. Contact your local newspapers to inquire about their rates.

Ask your current customers for referrals. Offer your customers a 5% to 25% off coupon for every new client that they refer to your business. To sweeten the deal, you can also offer a discount to the client that is referred to you. This offers a greater incentive to spread the word about your business. If you feel as if you're losing money by offering such a discount, you can choose to totally skip this tip or alter it to your liking.

Advertise on blogs. Find relatively popular blogs that are tailored towards your demographic and purchase advertising. Nowadays, most independently owned blogs will offer their sponsors an introductory post which tells their readers about your business in addition to placing a button to your website or blog on their sidebar. The cost of this form of advertising is unpredictable. A new blog may charge $10 to $35 per month. While a more established blog may charge $50 to $300 per month, or even $700 in some cases. You'll likely be able to get more bang for your buck by choosing to advertise on a blog that is tailored towards your local audience or a location you're willing to travel to.

Host a giveaway. Contact a local blog or business and offer a prize to every reader or customer that enters your giveaway. In exchange for the prize you're giving away, collect e-mail addresses from those that enter the giveaway so you can update them on the happenings of your business through an e-mail newsletter. This is also an effective way of increasing your YouTube subscriber count in order to help your makeup channel increase in popularity and make partner.

Finding clients as a makeup artist can be done by using rather frugal methods that are indeed effective. It is better to slowly build up a following for your business by implementing proven methods than to take out loans or spend thousands of your own dollars on methods that may or may not positively impact your makeup artist business. Remember, you're running a business – it's up to you, and only you, to ensure that you receive a steady stream of clients in order to make your business a success.

Read more