Within any sort of management role, but particularly project management, you will need to make presentations regularly – big and small. Here we look at how to present information well, in any setting.
When presenting anything to a group of people, or just one person, it is important to make sure the information is necessary and concise. It is a really good idea to truly understand what it is you are presenting, so that the stakeholders, clients, senior management or just your team – all get the information presented in a way that benefits them. You’ll also need to think about things like body language, media, language and projection.
As a project manager, you will probably have already attended various project management courses and programmes to achieve professional qualifications to enable you to perform well at your job. However, no matter how much training you have attended, certain skills need to be worked on, on a personal level. One skill many people struggle with is presenting and unfortunately it’s not something that can be avoided as a project manager, as you will need to do it at various times within your job role – it just comes with the territory.
Here are some key tips for presenting information:
Some lucky souls can leave a presentation until last minute and simply pull it out of the bag on time, every time. However, most people aren’t blessed with that skill, so it always pays to prepare. Set aside adequate time to learn your material, shape your information and really hone in on the key points you are making. The more time you put in – the more prepared you will be and the better the end result.
Don’t Waffle On
Don’t waffle on about anything that isn’t relevant – keep your points short and concise. Go through each point and think about how you can ensure it makes sense, but is as direct as possible.
Don’t Get Bogged Down By Media
Don’t use a million different pictures, graphs and whatever else – your audience will lose interest. Ensure you’re only providing choice images that emphasise the points you are making.
As a project manager, you will be used to using a wide vocabulary of PM jargon all the time – but is everyone in your audience familiar with the terms you are using? Don’t get super technical unless your audience calls for it.
Repeat Key Information
Ensure the key messages in your presentation are repeated to drive the message to your audience; whether that’s a project status update, the results of a business requirements analysis or project resources plans. Include them in your conclusion, go into more detail about them during the main bulk of the presentation and repeat them at the end.
Look At People
Don’t make the mistake of looking at the back of the room, looking down or looking at cue cards the entire time – you need to establish a connection with your audience. Make eye contact with people for a few seconds at a time, this will draw them in and make them more likely to listen to your message.
Practise Good Body Language
Open your chest, push your shoulders back and gesticulate – don’t stand stiff as a board reading off a script. Again, when prepared you will know most of what you need to say, which means you can actually stand in front of people and speak. Don’t be afraid to move around either – if a point requires you walking around to capture people’s attention – do it – own the space.
Make Your Handouts Count
Don’t let your handouts be the ones clogging up the office bin – make them count. Include further information about project specifics, or even project management techniques, to make them useful to people.
Include The Audience
Make sure you include the audience if possible. Allow time for questions to be asked, consider role play or audience interaction to demonstrate key points.
And try and relax…