Here are a few guidelines to make an effective presentation; this is presented in 2 sections:
Start with the end in mind:
Before you even open up PowerPoint, really think about the day of your presentation. What is the real purpose of your talk? Why is it that you were asked to speak? What does the audience expect? In your opinion, what are the most important parts of your topic for the audience to take away from your, say a 20-minute presentation?
Know your audience as well as possible:
Before you begin to prepare the content of your presentation, you need to ask yourself many basic questions with the desire of becoming the best possible presenter for that particular audience. At the very least, you need to answer the basic “W questions.”
No matter how great your delivery, or how professional and beautiful your supporting visuals, if your presentation is not based on solid content, you cannot succeed (this does not mean that great content alone will be sufficient).
Great content is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one. Ensure that your presentation preparation starts with solid content (appropriate for your audience) which you then build into a winning story that you’ll use to connect with your audience.
Outlining your content:
Rather than going right into PowerPoint (or Keynote), the best presenters often write down their ideas and objectives with a pen and paper to outline your ideas and set them up in a logical fashion.
Write down key points and assemble an outline and structure. This will also help you to identify where you may need visuals to support a particular point such as charts, graphs or photos that will later appear in the PowerPoint.
Keep it simple:
Concentrate on your core message which you should be able to communicate with your audience.
Do not try to over explain a point while preparing (writing) the presentation, present the explanation while delivering the talk during the presentation to the audience.
Have a sound, clear structure:
If you took the time to outline your ideas and set them up in a logical manner, then your thinking should be very clear. You can visualize the logic of your content and the flow of the presentation.
This way you will be ready to prepare your presentation on PowerPoint (or Keynote) and will have a good connect with your audience.
Choose/Use your fonts well:
Use the same font set throughout your entire slide presentation, and use no more than two complementary fonts (e.g., Arial and Arial Bold).
Use San-serif fonts which are generally best for PowerPoint presentations. Some people often choose to use Gill Sans as it is a professional yet friendly and conversational font.
Regardless of what font you choose, make sure the text can be read from the back of the room.
Use colour sparingly:
Bright colours can dazzle, but too many can be off-putting. Use the colours most relevant to your message.
It is recommended to sticking with one or two (not counting black and white) for your slides so it has a consistent look and feel.
Show your Passion and Connect with your Audience:
It is hard to be relaxed and be yourself when you’re nervous. But time and again, a great presenter says that the most important thing is to connect with your audience, and the best way to do that is to let your passion for the subject shine through
Be enthusiastic and honest with the audience about what is important to you and why it matters and the audience will respond
Focus on your Audience’s Needs:
Your presentation needs to be built around what your audience is going to get out of the presentation.
When you prepare the presentation, you always need to bear in mind what the audience needs and wants to know, not what you can tell them.
While you’re giving the presentation, you also need to remain focused on your audience’s response, and react to that. You need to make it easy for your audience to understand and respond.
Smile and Make Eye Contact with your Audience:
This sounds very easy, but a surprisingly large number of presenters fail to do it.
If you smile and make eye contact, you are building rapport, which helps the audience to connect with you and your subject. It also helps you to feel less nervous, because you are talking to individuals, not to a great mass of unknown people.
The beginning of your presentation is crucial. You need to grab your audience’s attention and hold it.
They will give you a few minutes’ grace in which to entertain them, before they start to switch off if you are not interesting. So don’t waste that on explaining who you are – keep your introduction appropriate but brief and start by entertaining them.
Remember the 10-20-30 Rule for Slideshows:
This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple. He suggests that slideshows should:
This last is particularly important as it stops you trying to put too much information on any one slide. This whole approach avoids the dreaded ‘Death by PowerPoint’.
As a general rule, slides should be the sideshow to you – the presenter. A good set of slides should be no use without the presenter. The slides should definitely contain less, rather than more information and to be expressed in a simple manner.
Use your Voice Effectively:
The spoken word is actually a pretty inefficient means of communication, because it uses only one of your audience’s five senses. That’s why presenters tend to use visual aids, too. But you can help to make the spoken word better by using your voice effectively.
Varying the speed at which you talk, and emphasising changes in pitch and tone all help to make your voice more interesting and hold your audience’s attention.
Humour can be great for giving a presentation, but stop if it feels like a stretch. Telling a humorous story can break down any barriers, make you more likeable and make your message more memorable and people are surprisingly generous with laughter.
Use your Body Too:
It has been estimated that more than three quarters of communication is non-verbal.
Make sure that you are giving the right messages: body language to avoid includes crossed arms, hands held behind your back or in your pockets, and pacing the stage.
Make your gestures open and confident, and move naturally around the stage, and among the audience too, if possible.
Relax, Breathe and Enjoy:
If you find presenting difficult, it can be hard to be calm and relaxed about doing it.
One option is to start by concentrating on your breathing. Slow it down, and make sure that you’re breathing fully. Make sure that you continue to pause for breath occasionally during your presentation as well.
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