3 Tips for Great Presentations by Jessica Hodges
For some people, there’s nothing more terrifying than having to stand up in front of a roomful of people and deliver a presentation. While it’s only natural to feel some stage fright, there are ways to get comfortable with making presentations that are powerful and persuasive.
The keys to success can be summed up this way: Know the material. Know the audience. Know the room.
It’s all about confidence. To help you get started, here are some things to consider.
Practice Makes Perfect.
A truly great presentation takes a lot of preparation. The place to start is to identify the key objective of what you want to achieve – in effect, what you want your audience to know and/or do after the presentation.
So, always carefully plan it out. Keep it focused on your objective. After you’ve written your presentation, review it several times, seek opinions, and consider ways to edit it to make it more concise and shorter.
As you develop your presentation, think about what needs to be spoken, written, or illustrated. Chances are, you’ll use a presentation software, such as PowerPoint. The thing to remember about using slides is that they should supplement what you’re presenting. YOU and what you say must remain the focus of your presentation.
Above all, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Learn your material, and “time” it out. Know how much time you’ve been given to make your presentation, and be sure you can comfortably deliver it within that timeframe.
Adding Power to PowerPoint.
To really make the visual part of your presentation effective, remember the basic “rules” of PowerPoint.
- Use titles on each slide
- Stay consistent with colors
- Use art, but avoid “corny” clip art
- Try the 6x6x6 rule – six lines per slide, six bullets per slide, six words per bullet
- Type fonts should be large and easy to read
- Avoid overusing bold, italic and ALL CAPITALS
- Charts are a great way to summarize key points
- Try using different transitions between slides
To add interest, try mixing “media” during your presentation. Use PowerPoint, but also write key facts on a blackboard or presentation pad. A laser pointer can help you direct attention, but use it sparingly.
Above all, don’t just read what’s on the screen! Let the audience read it – you explain it or highlight key details.
To Succeed, Always Plan Ahead.
Before your presentation, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about your audience and their expectations. Check out the room where the meeting will be held. Get a sense of the space, and, if possible, arrange the seating to maximize the impact of your material.
Here are some final considerations. Watch your body language; be relaxed. Know the dress code. Maintain eye contact. Always have a back-up of your material – an extra disc or hard copies. And, if something goes wrong, laugh it off – it happens even to the most polished presenters.