Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Preparing an Effective Presentation

Set the theme. Define very clearly what your presentation is going to be about. If you are marketing a product or an idea the best way is to choose a striking, single headline to the presentation. 

Provide the outline. A presentation without a provided outline is extremely difficult to follow.

Guide your audience through the presentation. If you are opening or closing a section, mention during the transition.

Make sure that the whole presentation is very well structured. This is what a presentation is all about. You have to transfer your idea / results / product / strategy in the most intelligible and comprehensive manner. The key is to break everything down to manageable chunks and produce the cause-effect relationship.

Make your opening original. Most of them are beneign and signal the audience that what they are about to hear is nothing new. You have to capture the audience's attention the moment you begin to speak. Identify why people should need to listen to you (yes, they are self-interested) and then try starting with a related question, giving a shocking fact or telling a story that connects them to your presentation.

Demonstrate enthusiasm. Give interesting facts. Especially adults need to be mentally stimulated every 5-6 minutes. By using some power words, using extravagant images / body language or giving intersting facts you should keep them awake. If you are not passionate about your own presentation, why should the audience be?

Make your numbers, results, graphs meaningful. You might think that your audience is smart enough to read your complicated graphs, and you may indeed be right; but the fact is no one is going to put extra effort into figuring out what you want to imply. Connect the dots for your listeners.

Make it visual. Whilst preparing the presentation, a nice trick is to set the smallest font size to the half of the age of the eldest listener. By doing that you would be forced to use visual things to convey your message. Don't use more than 7 words per slide.

Don't use bullet points. People simply hate them.

Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. If you feel excited or nervous, you are not ready yet. You can say that you are well prepared when you are dying to step out and give people a real show.

If you have the option to choose, do your presentation in the morning. Sessions just after lunch time and late in the afternoon are the worst. Especially on Fridays.

Don't use the word "presentation" in your presentation.