Your ability to present is a really important skill you need to master. You’ll be required to present your ideas and service on many different occasions – during sales meetings, investor pitches and even when doing your sales calls.

When most people hear “presenting”, they imagine a Power Point presentation and a person speaking while the slides are changing. Even though this is what presenting can be to an extent, there are many other aspects of it that you need to consider.

Let’s start with a few tips around traditional presenting with slides:

  1. Try to reduce the visible text as much as possible. You can have bullet points as a reminder of what you will have to say on the particular slide, but don’t provide too many details.
  2. Use simple pictures or short videos that’ll instill emotion in the viewer and will make what you’re saying feel complete and satisfactory. We are visual beings and will understand far more something if we not only can hear it, but see it as well.
  3. You need to make sure you’re properly prepared. Having less text on your slides means you need to remember things that you would’ve otherwise left as text. “How many times do I need to rehearse?” you may ask? As many as it takes. Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as too much preparation.

Why is preparation important? Because it makes you appear more confident when you deliver your message. People buy into confidence more than they buy into a scientific explanation, or a perfectly aligned Power Point presentation.

Because people want see a visual representation of what you’re saying, your body language is of an paramount importance. Try to use your hands to “paint” what you’re saying while you’re saying it. Get interested in to the topic of body language and start researching it. Read up on it and social dynamics.

Before you’ve even started preparing your presentation, you need to research your audience. In today’s world this is a really easy task, as you can simply visit their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page and see what they’re posting or how they’re commenting on other people’s posts. You can paint a picture of what their overall views and beliefs are based on this information. And you can make your presentation revolve around that, so they can really empathize with you and feel as if you have the same views as them.

This also gives you a chance to find out if there are some taboo topics that you need to avoid touching on.

Last but not least – keep in mind that you have about 10 seconds in the beginning that’ll determine whether the other person or people will really listen to what you have to say. You can start with a shocking fact that will help sell you later on. Or with a question that’s relevant to the audience and their interests. You can say your name and what your freelancing business does after this, but you should never start by introducing yourself.

You can close your presentation with a call to action. What do you want your audience to do after you have delivered this presentation? Think carefully on how you can present this at the end, so people can actually make the decision and act upon what you’re asking from them to do.

You need to make the people who’re viewing your presentation trust you. When they trust you, they’ll be really engaged in your ideas.

So be honest with yourself – how well did you prepare for your last presentation?