‘I assumed it would all be OK’; the immortal words written on the headstone of every failed business presentation.

When it comes to delivering a great business presentation in front of an audience the major rule I would encourage you to follow is to never assume anything, always check everything!

You are not just the Presenter. You’re the Producer and the Logistics Manager; sometimes you’re even the Technician as well! Like it or not, it’s up to you as the presenter to find out about all the relevant details. And the great thing is that it’s totally acceptable to be all of these people and ask as many questions and you like, it’s real A Team behaviour. (Read my blog post on "How to deal with difficult people in business" to understand the different between an A Team and B Team player!)

I’ve listed below the 13 Tips you should consider using the next time you ever be lucky enough to speak in public or deliver a business presentation.

1. Date, time and place: You would assume this information was readily available, but this is not always the case. Even if you’re told this information when you’re initially approached, always ask for confirmation in an email. (I would also ask for confirmation again a couple of days prior to your presentation. It’s amazing how many things change last minute and how many of these details aren’t communicated to the relevant people. By checking twice you’re highlighting any mix-ups before they have the chance to become a real calamity!)

2. Get a second named contact: Along with the contact details of the person who’s asked you to present, ask also for another named contact that you can use to source further information. This second contact can also be used if your first contact falls ill or fails to reply to your requests and queries. This secondary contact is a nice back-up to have on the day of your presentation if you need to get hold of someone urgently.

3. Who are the audience? Find out the demographic of the audience. What’s the gender and age ratio? Is it a national or international audience? And what kind of people are they? All this is key information when known in advance, that can help you deliver a message that is more likely to be absorbed by your audience (without the risk of alienating anyone along the way.)

(Good presenters always consider their audience)

4. What’s the Agenda? Ask for a copy of the Agenda and find out if the event has a theme. Are there other speakers and guest speakers? If so, who are they? Where do they work and what does their organisation do? Referring to other information and speakers your audience have previously seen shows you are interested in the topic of discussion, and most importantly, the audience.

5. How much time do you have? It’s so important that you stick to time! The audience will love you if you do, and never forgive you if you don’t! Knowing this in advance will really help you in planning your presentation.

6. What’s happening before and after? What’s happening before and after you present? Do you need to refer to these people / presentations? Is there an option to refer to a video played out before your presentation, or can you invite the audience to a well-deserved coffee break? Knowing what is happening next stops that awkward moment at the end of some presentations where people are left on stage not knowing quite what to do next!

7. Who will be introducing you? If there is someone presenting before you, or an event MC, will they introduce you on stage? If you are being introduced by someone I suggest you find out who this person is, contact them and introduce yourself, then send them a brief introduction that you’d like then to use. (Again, this isn’t pushy, it shows that you’re organised and it also gives the person introducing you one less thing to worry about!)

To find out more about the Presentation Training that we offer, please do contact us today.

You may also like these posts and pages:

- 10 Tips to Become a Better Presenter

- How to Cure Your Fear of Public Speaking - 10 Easy Steps
How to Improve Public Speaking Skills & Confidence - 10 Tips
How to Stand Still When Nervous or Anxious - Public Speaking Tips Video
- How to Improve Presentation Skills for Business Videos - 10 Top Tips
How to Improve Your Presentation Skills - 10 Tips for the Most Important Skills
Top 10 Presenting and Public Speaking Tips - How Can We Help You?
- 10 Habits of the Bad Business Presenter
- The Presentation Training page of our website

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Rachel Willis