Develop the skills you need to give an informed and professional presentation.
While not essential for every person’s career, having the skills to build and deliver a successful presentation is always a value. The ability to communicate a certain focused subject to an audience requires a lot of work and makes good use of many practical skills. However, presentations can also cause a lot of stress. But a dedicated approach can alleviate a lot of the nerves associated with the task. Find out what you need to prepare, design and conduct an effective presentation.
Know your audience.
Whatever the topic in question, a presentation needs to be tailored towards your audience. They will inform a lot about how you should deliver the content. If you’re speaking to an audience unfamiliar with the subject, how will you effectively explain it to them? If the audience is well-versed in the subject, how will you introduce something they don’t already know? Identify your audience ahead of time and build the presentation that speaks to them.
Create a clear and concise message.
What are the main points that everyone in the audience should know when you are done speaking? Identifying these messages are pivotal in shaping your presentation. Don’t pick a few easy, vague statements that could apply to any number of topics. Understand them absolutely and make them as apparent as you can throughout the presentation.
Outline your thoughts.
You’ll have a million thoughts, too much information and not enough time to say it all. An outline helps you to decide what information is essential and where everything can fit in the big picture. Your outline should follow the basic three-part structure of Introduction, Body and Conclusion. Arranging your presentation to fit this outline will keep things focused and easier to manage.
Visuals can be an effective presentation tool when handled correctly. When mishandled, they can be a distraction. Design your visual elements in a way that communicates best with the audience. Draw their attention but make it easy to read. Consider your font choice, background and colour in terms of how it helps communicate your message.
Start with a hook.
Keeping an audience’s attention for an entire presentation is no easy task. Winning back an audiences attention after losing it is even harder. That is why you need a hook to start your presentation. Don’t build up to big reveal, get it out in the open right off the bat. Let the audience know why you are there and why they should care.
Don’t be caught off-guard.
Presentations can certainly be nerve-wrecking, no matter how often you do them. But while you’re focusing on the content of the presentation, be sure nothing is going to take you by surprise on the actual day. If possible, know as much as you can about the presentation beforehand. Where will it take place? How many in the audience? Where will you be situated? A last-minute surprise can really throw off your process.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
One way to help combat your nervousness is being prepared. Go over your presentation again and again until you don’t need cue cards, then go over it some more. Know your slide cues, know how long it takes and always leave time for questions. Be so thorough with your practicing that you cannot be caught off guard by anything.
Keep these points in mind and soon giving a presentation will just be another skill to add to your roster.