Do you remember when your first presentation was? In secondary school, in high school or the university? Actually it doesn’t really matter when or where, the important thing is that you most certainly faced some kind of difficulties. It is true that with every presentation everyone becomes more experienced and in general a better lector, however what we aim at with this article is to save you some time and awkward situations and give you few useful tips on how to make an outstanding and intriguing presentation.
First of all we should separate the process in two parts – Preparation and Presentation. Both of them are equally important and following certain rules and tips will guarantee your success.
We can bet that you have witnessed some presentations that were boring and you were constantly losing interest or even wanted to fall asleep. In order to avoid such misfortune our first advice will be to build up a story that will intrigue your listeners and keep them interested from your first word to your last sentence. Become the main character or transform your audience into one, but always try to keep everything relevant.
If you need to present yourself, don’t go in huge detail try to cut the intro down to a sentence or two. Furthermore, this will help you make your presentation short – no one likes long presentation. We advise to make it half of what you were considering when you started.
Always use facts, do not generalize, if you use unclear arguments this will harm your credibility as a whole and will most certainly have a negative effect. Moreover, if you decide to use some kind of visualization of data that you cite, always try to simplify it and adjust it to your audience. Remember every presentation is unique in its own way, since the people you are talking to will be different, keep that in mind and adapt according to them.
Last but not least, do not put tons of text on your slides. Always use them not as a source of information but as headlines and reminders of what you want to tell.
Before you start always check and test your equipment, try to avoid the embarrassment of setting it up after your presentation have started, or have technical problems during it. This certainly will bore your audience and make you look unprepared.
During the presentation there are some important rules – Speak to the audience, make them take part in your presentation, make eye contact and focus on them. Don’t look at your slides, or your notes make them follow you and absorb your ideas. Try not to move your slides non-stop, going back skipping forward - they should be logically arranged tracking your thoughts.
Another thing that might knock you down is making jokes, not all audiences like jokes and not all jokes are funny, so we advise you to save yourself the awkwardness and leave the humor to the comedians, especially if you are making a business presentation. It is also advisable to carefully select your vocabulary, certainly you don’t intend to look pompous or the opposite – to speak in slang.
What makes a presentation remarkable is the desire of the audience to ask further questions and give assessments. Be ready and choose few example questions that might appear. Yet another instrument to make your presentation and performance outstanding is to prepare handouts, if you explained some kind of data in your presentation make separate documents and distribute them after you finish.