6 Tips on preparing important work presentations
by Yellow 332 Days
Take everything into consideration
Your presentation will be successful if you manage to communicate the right message to your audience. To do that, you need to think about every aspect of your presentation as you're preparing for it. Identify your objectives, the topics that you want to present, and the kind of audience you're expecting. It's also important to consider the place, time and length of your prospective presentation. But remember that, no matter how many things you try and cater for in your mind ahead of your presentation, you need to be flexible enough to adapt to anything else that might end up happening.
Organise your content
The content of your presentation has to be totally relevant to your audience. It needs to be solid, easy to understand and strongly attention-grabbing. List down everything you want to communicate to your audience, and translate those points into accurate but inviting messages. Adjust your content according to how your audience might best perceive it. And whatever you do, do not dump endless data onto your audience. Drive the most important messages home without being overly complicated.
Bonus tip: As you're building the content of your presentation, always ask the question 'so what?'. If, based on what you're planning to present, you find it difficult to answer that question, you need to remove the fluff and make your content more relevant.
Keep it simple and clear
Maintaining a simple structure for a presentation is not as easy as it sounds. Watering down the complexity of all your thoughts and ideas is challenging, but your audience will appreciate it. Ask yourself what the essence of your presentation is, and stick to it. Your audience will not remember every single thing you tell them. Instead, they will mentally sum up your presentation in a few key take aways, according to what strikes them the most. For those take aways to be positive and in your favour, you need to explain your information in a clear and straightforward manner.
Start strong, and finish stronger
Come up with a simple but exciting opening to your presentation. It needs to grab the attention of your audience instantly, and effectively enough to hold it for as long as possible. Explain the purpose of your presentation in one sentence, without any complicated jargon. You can try being humorous, but keep it tasteful. Conclude your presentation in a way that matches your beginning, making sure it summarises your key points and reinforces your objectives.
Be dynamic and engaging
Make your presentation memorable by making it compelling. Project enthusiasm and talk directly to your audience, rather than at them. Avoid relying heavily on notes, or using your slides as cue cards word-for-word. Use them merely as a guide to illustrate your main points. Retain a natural pace throughout, and show that you're open to immediate feedback or questions. And of course, don't forget eye contact.
Bonus tip: Story telling is a great presentation technique, especially if what you're presenting is technical. Telling stories, perhaps even personal (but not embarrassing) ones, is guaranteed to keep your audience interested.
Believe in yourself
To a certain extent, being nervous before a presentation is healthy. The important thing is to use those nerves to your advantage, by channelling them into an energetic delivery. Be on top of your material, and approach the flow of your presentation logically. Your anxiety will decrease if you eliminate as much as you can from the unknown. So know your slides and content well, rehearse your delivery and anticipate potential questions from the floor. This way, confidence can naturally replace anxiety. And remember to never apologise for stumbling during a presentation. We're all human after all. Just breath and try to overcome your stumble with poise.
Doing something relaxing, to ease the stress of an upcoming presentation, could be the perfect boost towards success.
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