If you’ve ever spent time at meetings and presentations that either bore you out of your mind or leave you with so much information overload that you can’t process it, this is for you! You want your meetings to offer meaningful and actionable information as concisely as possible. Whether you’re dealing with colleagues or clients, these tips are sure to help you!
1. Provide Meeting Notes that People Want to Read
No matter how clear and concise your message is, you need people to remember it when they’re reviewing the information. Prepare info packs to hand out at the meeting or presentation and use color printers to make them pop. A touch of color makes everything from logos to graphs look way more interesting. Once you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention, your message can do the rest.
2. Stay on Point
There may be supporting information that you can use to show how you reached your conclusion. If you feel you must include it, add it in an appendix. Keep your message crisp, clean, and easy to understand. If people want to know more about your point, they can check it out. Refer to your sources if you wish, but don’t drown people in information. They want to know what, when, why, and how. And although you could spend hours explaining each of these, you’ll lose focus if you spend time expanding on how you arrived at each of these.
3. Clear Out the Clutter
This tip is related to the previous one, but with a few extras added in. PowerPoint is lovely for highlighting your main points, but make sure to keep your slides uncluttered. Too much verbiage on each slide or too many slides in a series detracts from the basics you want to convey. Your slides should present “headlines” – they shouldn’t go into the finer details. That’s for you to do when explaining each point. Put too much into your slideshow, and you may as well not be there at all. Plus, your readers won’t remember your salient points if you make them too wordy or write a lengthy explanation for each one.
4. Be Aware of Body Language
You may think that physical appearances aren’t as important as what you have to say, but even if you’re right on that point, your audience is influenced by your body language. For example, if you’re constantly fidgeting, adjusting your clothes, or looking away from your audience, you seem to lack confidence. On a subconscious level, you’re sending out a message that says “Please don’t look at me,” and “I don’t have confidence in myself or what I’m saying right now.”
Neither of these nonverbal messages belongs in a professional meeting or presentation. Face your audience. Stand up straight. Project confidence. Engage – don’t close off. Your message is what matters and your physical presence should emphasize rather than detract from it. Don’t be self-conscious. You are not the message – just the messenger.
Sure, you’re going to feel a bit silly standing in front of the mirror talking to yourself, but it’s a great way to get your report or presentation just right. Use your practice sessions to ensure that you don’t exceed time limits and that you don’t go off on a tangent. Record your practice efforts and try listening to them objectively. Would you be interested in what this speaker has to say?
It’s Only Difficult at First
If this is your first meeting report back, pitch, or client presentation, it’s ok to feel a little nervous. Practice these basics to get you presenting your points like the pro you are. In time, it gets easier. So, hang in there, pretend you’ve done this a million times already, and use our tips to make it memorable.