Presentation training for tech firms

More and more tech firms are coming to us for presentation training. They’re asking our presentation writing and delivery experts to help them to talk to investors, new staff, potential customers, and regulators among others.

During our presentation courses for tech companies, we look at content and then delivery. We start by helping the tech execs in our workshops to define what they want to say and how they’re going to say it. We then move onto to give them tips and techniques for better body language and vocal skills. Finally, we look at their PowerPoints to help them make their visual support is the best that it can be.

Whether you’re a senior tech professional with decades of experience or a junior person who has just joined the firm, here are five ways for tech companies to deliver better presentations.

1. Think about who you’re talking to

As we say in our presentation training workshops for tech firms – it’s all about the audience. One of the main reasons why any communication fails is that the communicator has not thought of the person that they’re communicating too. Beyond simply thinking about the job title of the members of your audience, it’s putting yourself in their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes. This means thinking about their hopes and aspirations as well as their concerns and desires.

If you’re doing a presentation you need to think about how you’ll answer the question – what’s in it for me? What can you offer the audience who are giving up their precious time to listen to you. Can you tell him something that will make them more knowledgeable, effective and innovative and will help them to keep ahead of the competition?

The best presentations are those that really connect with the audience. 

It’s also about language. If you’re talking to other people from the tech world, then there will be words and phrases that your audience will understand. However, if you’re presenting to potential buyers of your service or investors in the business, you’ll have to think about the words that you use to express your messages. 

Even if your audience can understand what you’re saying you might not be speaking their language. As we say in our presentation and media training workshops for tech executives, it’s good to use language that people understand – but it’s better to use language they use.

2. Focus on the message with a clear call to action.

Part of our presentation training is stripping away ideas and thoughts so that we can define the key message that the presenter wants to put across to the audience. The less you say in a presentation the more likely it is that those listening to you will remember.

In the checklist that we provide during our presentation training for tech firms we start with the aim. Why are you doing this presentation? What is the message that you want to get across? We also include the word “action”. What do you want your audience to do as a result of watching your presentation? We’ve all sat through presentations, some of which have been quite interesting and entertaining, but afterwards thought: “What am I supposed to think feel and do as a result of that?”

3. Add some stories.

Once you’ve defined and honed down your message, you need to think about how to fix it in the minds of your audience. The best way to do this is through storytelling. According to researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a story is up to twenty-two times more memorable than facts alone. Case studies, examples and even simple anecdotes will all ensure that you grab and retain the attention of your audience.  

There’s also research from the University of Liverpool that suggests that up to 65 per cent of all conversations consist of stories. Given that storytelling is such a natural and effective means of communication why do people forget to do it in a business environment? Perhaps it’s because we tend to do it outside the office that we assume that storytelling will make us look less authoritative.

As we know from tech masterminds such as Steve Jobs, in fact storytelling is the best way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and to show that you’re a great presenter.

People are the centre of any good story.

Here’s the science – storytelling lights up about seven different centres of the brain compared to just one or two when we hear facts alone. As well as listening which fires up the auditory cortex, the emotional engagement of a story activates the frontal and parietal cortices. People are, of course, the centre of any good story. Talking about them can release oxytocin, the feel-good hormone while references to human beings also brings your fusiform into play. Include references to taste and smells in your story and you’ll get the limbic system going. These are some of the most essential, ancient parts of the human brain which are directly related to memory.

In our presentation training for tech companies, we help presenters to identify and tell stories such as case studies and even simple anecdotes to illustrate their points.

4. Think about your opening.

As we all know, we’re most likely to pay attention to a presentation at the very start before we perhaps drift off during the middle and come back into the room at the end.

It’s therefore essential to make your opening powerful and memorable. In our presentation workshops for tech firms we focus particularly on the opening, partly because of the effect on the audience. But we also know that once you’ve delivered a great opening it builds your confidence and sets you up to deliver a great presentation.

One simple bit of advice that we can share with you now is PBS – pause, breathe and smile.

Instead of talking straight away, take a moment. Breathing will help with your confidence and pausing allows the audience to take you in visually before they start listening to you. Finally, a smile signals that you’re a nice person who is happy to be here and will also help you to relax as well.

We look at how presenters can use stories to grab the attention of their audience at the start of the presentation. We’ve worked with tech companies to open presentations with short films. Another tip we give to tech people on presentation courses – and this is especially good if you have the post lunch slot or the final presentation of the day – is to ask your audience a question. Getting people to respond and do things will increase the chances of them engaging with you.

5. Think about the performance element.

In our presentation training workshops for tech executives we look at, what to say but also how to say it. Once we’ve worked with our participants to develop their key messages and stories we look at vocal skills and body language.

We use the techniques of actors and television presenters to help participants on our presentation courses for tech companies to come across as charismatic and passionate professional speakers. These are people who can connect with their audience and “own the space” as we say, to drive home their key messages.

We know that no one – well no average person, anyway – likes to see themselves on camera.

However, we film and playback key sections of the presentations delivered by the participants and work with them to improve their vocal skills and body language. We show how to add emphasis and energy as well as varying the tone, pace and style of delivery. We look at the different tone and emotion connected with various sections of the presentation and help presenters to act it. 

This doesn’t mean going for an Oscar, but it does involve simply sounding as if you mean what you’re saying. The difference between a presentation delivered in the standard, monotone style and one of those given using the techniques we teach is really quite remarkable.

The presentation courses for tech firms that we offer can be tailor-made for a one-to-one session with a CEO. We also create courses for groups of two, three or four people.

6. Will I be able to see the article before it’s published?

The answer to this is almost certainly “no”. We’re quite often asked this question in our Media Training courses for luxury brands. This is hardly surprising given the importance to these companies of brand image. 

Similarly, PR and media relations teams will ask it when we provide Media Training for tech companies. Here the risk is that the journalist, especially if they’re not a specialist, will get the wrong end of the stick or will not understand the detail. We completely sympathise with why PRs and their colleagues or clients would be concerned about this. Therefore, our advice, is to offer – and only offer, don’t demand – to check your quotes. 

You can use a phrase such as “I hope I’ve made myself clear but if you’d like me to check any facts with you, I’d be very happy to do so.” Sometimes journalists are willing to do this especially when the subject is technical.

We hope these questions and answers have been useful.

Presentation training courses

At Communicate Media, all of our training programmes are created from scratch to meet the exact needs of each client. This means that we can develop a presentation training course that will work for you. Come and talk to us. You can follow us on LinkedIn here.

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