Leave nothing to chance with your appearance
When you face your audience with your presentation, you should leave nothing to chance. This applies to the design of the slides, your text and, of course, the way you present yourself to the audience. A confident appearance does not only include mastery of the subject matter.
People will also take note of your physical appearance. Here you can quickly lose persuasive power if form and content somehow do not match. We give you tips on how to avoid embarrassing slips.
You probably know sayings like “clothes make the man” or “the eye eats with you”. This is the popular way of describing the fact that we usually have a good sense of whether the external impression matches our expectations. You may have seen one of those before-and-after shows on TV, where rather inconspicuous candidates were suddenly turned into real “eye-catchers” with appropriate clothing, hairstyle and make-up. Appearance is important for positive impact, and presentations are no different.
Here’s what you should consider before you make your entrance:
Nothing is worse than going into panic mode before stepping on stage. Half an hour before your presentation, you remember that you pulled your presentation onto a flash drive yesterday, but where did you actually put the thing? Or you realize that you don’t have the cable for the projector with you. Or, as you just discover, your tie has a distinctive stain and you were going to clean your shoes too, but now it’s too late. This is almost bound to happen if you make your preparations at the last minute. There’s a good chance you’ll miss something at the last minute.
It is advisable to keep a checklist that you also keep adding new points of your experience.
Conscientiously go through this list 1-2 days before your performance and complete your preparations in peace:
– Is my presentation up to date? Do I have all the notes with me?
– Is the technical equipment in order?
– Do I need reserve utensils if something is missing at the venue (e.g. pens for the flipchart)?
– What do I wear and is the clothing in top condition? Does the clothing also fit the target group?
Here’s what you should keep in mind during your performance:
Think of shooting a movie scene: the director goes over the whole scene in theory with the cameraman and actors before it starts. You should keep it that way. At larger events there is usually a technician and a moderator. Clarify whether your technology is fully compatible with the stage technology on site and whether there may be any special features to consider. Again, talk to the presenter about how you want to be announced.
If you are already in the auditorium before the performance, always remember that you are being watched. The film actor only has to concentrate fully on the time between the command “Action” and “Cut”. Before and after that, the star can shuffle around hunched over and scowl. It does not matter, the camera will not run. When you are about to go on stage, the situation is not like in a movie, but like in a theater. The audience sees you all the time. It also sees you as you walk to the stage and later when you leave. Everything you do is part of your external image. If you stumble to the stage with your head singed, the corners of your mouth down, and your hands in your pockets to give a talk titled “Techniques to Always Be Fully Motivated,” your audience may react with some irritation.
Remember: Your performance starts before the show and it does not end with the last slide, but only when you have left the audience hall. The audience is watching you all the time. Be friendly to waiters, technicians, your previous speaker who you may still encounter on stage, watch your posture and facial expressions.
Before you begin your presentation , deliberately make eye contact with your audience. Also, during your presentation, keep seeking direct eye contact with the audience during particularly important sections. This builds a connection that makes you more credible and adds a personal touch to your talk.
Here’s what you should keep in mind at the end of your performance
When you have finished your presentation, also end your entire presentation thoughtfully. Avoid general phrases like “thank you for your attention” at the end . Try to create a little climax again with your last sentences. It is usually a good idea to briefly summarize the main theses once again. In most cases, presentations are not an end in themselves, but pursue a specific goal. The audience should be convinced and ideally also moved to action. At the end of a presentation, professional speakers like to build a direct call to action into their presentation. They tell their audiences directly what to do.
Your last sentence should make it clear from its content and tone that your presentation is now over and may be applauded. Do not leave the stage frantically while applause is still going on. Bow in a friendly manner and quietly pack up your papers. Even if your presentation is over, your performance continues, because the audience will still see you now, of course. If there are still questioners approaching you, make sure you don’t block the stage for your follow-up speaker, but take the time to answer questions. Still say goodbye to the organizers and supporters, such as stage technicians. Only when you have left the room completely is your performance really over.