When the iPad was launched Steve Jobs spent countless hours fussing over the details. Not only the details of the iPad but also the details of the packaging of the iPad. He wanted to ensure that the customer enjoyed the experience of buying Apple products from the moment they lifted the box off the shelf, through taking the iPad out of the box, to using the device.
You can leverage the lessons from Apple to package your presentations to ensure your audience enjoys the experience of your presentation. There are three elements to packaging a presentation; they are your appearance, your slides, and your delivery.
Your appearance can put your audience at ease, or it can make them feel uncomfortable. To effectively package of presentation your appearance should match your audience. You don’t want to be over dressed and you do not want to be under dressed.
So for example if you were speaking to a group of employees at Google you could reasonably wear a T-shirt and jeans without appearing out of place. Matching the dress standards of your audience has two benefits; firstly it puts you at ease because you know that you are not under dressed (and failing to meet the expectations of your audience) and secondly it puts your audience at ease with you because they are not concerned and focussed on what you are wearing.
If you were speaking to Google staff t-shirts and jeans is acceptable, if you are speaking to a group of Insurance professionals who are slightly more old-fashioned in a thinking they may expect you to wear shirt and tie. And if you turn up wearing T-shirt and jeans you are going to look out of place and put a barrier between you and your audience.
Your audience judges how well you had prepared for presentation by the slides that you display. At a minimum they expect your slides to be clean tidy and professional. However that is only a base standard. What you should be presenting to them on the screen is well thought out graphics, well thought out images, and slides with minimum text.
Sadly it is not uncommon to see slides that are text heavy, have no graphics, or no images to visually stimulate an audience. To effectively package your slides you need to ensure that you have dedicated enough time to source appropriate graphics and images and that you haven’t refined the ideas and messages you want to share on your slides to a minimum so that your slides project professionalism and care for your audience.
Your body language
The most important element of packaging your presentation is how you deliver it. This incorporates areas such as your posture, your movement, good use of hand gestures, your eye contact, and any facial expressions you utilise. A well-written speech or presentation is undermined by poor delivery.
You will look nervous and unsure of yourself if you move excessively with nervous energy, or you have to hand gestures that the belie nervousness –impeding your ability to sell your presentation. Your audience will also look to your facial expressions and more importantly into your eyes to gauge authenticity. To sell yourself and your presentation you need to ensure that your delivery will enable you to project confidence to sell your message.
The words you say are product of your presentation. But, like Steve jobs realised with the iPad it is how you package in that will go along way to determining if that product is a success or not. Apple spends significant time and money ensuring that a customer enjoys the experience with their products from the moment they pick up the box in the store and take it out of the box. You can apply the same principles to your presentation. Take the time to ensure that your appearance, your slides, and your delivery is a complete package for the audience to enjoy.