Presentation Skills

By Ashraf Al Shafaki

Know your Audience

A key factor to the success of a seminar or presentation is to know your audience. Depending on your audience and their needs, you should craft your presentation or seminar.

Tell Stories

The best way to make your audience engaged and leave a strong favorable impression on them is: to talk about real incidents you had passed by and real stories that had happened to you or someone you know, related to the subject of discussion of course.

This is the best way to make your audience engaged and leave a very strong favorable impression on them after your seminar. The stories do not have to be perfect ones, but you may also talk about problems you faced and how you have solved them or mistakes you had fallen into. Talking about ones own mistakes can only be done by the real professional and needs a lot of strength to be able to do. Bottomline: do not give a polished seminar talking about theories, but give a down-to-earth realistic talk about real things that did take place. This will engage the audience much more and make them really satisfied and will also keep their interest during the seminar.

No Apologies

Of course never fall into the mistake of apologizing before, during or after the seminar. For instance never ever say "sorry for taking from your valuable time". Some inexperienced people fall in this mistake. Instead, always present yourself and your seminar as something fun and interesting that people would enjoy listening to.

Ask Questions

Another piece of advice is to try and make your talk interactive. Ask questions to the audience. For instance, before talking about each point, ask the audience what do they know about it, or what is their opinion about it. This gets them involved and raises their interest level in what you say after listening to some of their responses first. Remember that a seminar is not about feeding people with raw information, they can do that by reading a book or an article anyway, but it's about changing their minds through asking them questions, giving them real life stories and guiding their thoughts towards your conclusions. Remember that they are not machines that should be fed with data, but rather are humans that need to think, feel and imagine situations in order to buy your ideas and in order for your ideas to really make a difference in their behavior in life after the seminar is over.

Visualize

The above mentioned tips talk about what to do during a seminar. To be able to give a good seminar, you must be well prepared before the seminar. One key method for getting prepared is to visualize yourself giving the seminar. Do this a day or two before the seminar day. Imagine yourself actually giving the seminar, imagine the audience asking you questions, imagine yourself answering them. The more you visualize the better prepared you will be. At the time of the seminar, you will find yourself talking fluently with ease as if it all happened before. This can be specially beneficial for a seminar you are giving for the first time. You might even be surprised to find that some of the questions you have visualized answering are being asked during the actual seminar.

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