27 September 2023

Stand and deliver: How giving a presentation is as easy as ABCD

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Ian Crocker* has some sound advice for those who lose sleep every time they are asked to make a presentation.

Giving a presentation may be a nerve-wracking experience, but it can actually be an excellent opportunity to further your reputation.

As your career develops, there is a greater likelihood that you will have to present to an influencing audience.

You might be asked to make a presentation as part of your application for promotion; you might be required to present at a team meeting.

Or you might be asked to make a presentation at a retirement do.

In some of these situations you might not be given much notice.

Therefore, it’s important to have the skills ready so that you can really maximise this opportunity.

Here is the ABCD of introductions.

A is for Attention:

Never take it for granted that you have the full attention of your audience.

It’s quite likely that they are thinking about what they need to pick up on the way home for their dinner.

You need to be able to help people to tune in to what you are saying by using an opening line that really makes them sit up and listen.

B is for Benefit:

Be crystal clear about what the benefit of listening to your presentation will be to your audience.

Tell them that “this will be useful for you in the future because …” or that “this will make your life easier because …”

C is for Credibility:

Explain why you are good at what you do, how long you’ve being doing it, and the breadth and depth of your experience.

Explain why you have been asked to give this presentation and who invited you to take to the ‘stage’.

Keep it short — the audience has not come to hear your life story.

D is for Direction:

Your presentation isn’t meant to be a magical mystery tour.

Your audience will want to know that you’re going to cover X and Y and that you’re going to finish off with Z.

Starting any presentation with this ABCD — whether at a networking group or to work colleagues — means that it will get off to a flying start.

Take some time to prepare your ABCD, even if it’s only a few minutes, and you will find the whole presentation much easier to deal with.

It’s fair to say that most people get nervous when they stand up in front of an audience.

However, by the time you’ve followed the ABCD of introductions, your nerves will have faded and you’ll be ready to dive into the content of your presentation.

It’s also useful to remember that most of the people sitting in front of you are just really pleased that they’re not where you are.

They’re on your side and they are not the enemy — they want you to be successful.

The next time you’re asked to give any sort of presentation, use the ABCD for your introduction and see how you get on.

*Ian Crocker runs Absolute Learning helping organisations, teams and individuals achieve more. He can be contacted at www.absolutelearning.co.uk.

This article first appeared on Ian’s blogsite.

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