How do you feel when you have to make a presentation? Are you well prepared and relaxed, confident that your performance will have the desired impact on your audience? Or is the thought of standing on a podium, holding a microphone, enough to give you stage fright?
Many believe that good presenters are born, not made. Sure, some people are more relaxed and comfortable speaking in front of others. But the good news about presenting is that you can improve with practice. A great presentation does not just happen- it is planned, rehearsed and delivered with flair. Your desired outcome can be affected by your skills as a speaker, so it’s important to step in front of your audience with your best foot forward.
If you have a fear of public speaking or feel some anxiety you are not alone. Little anxiety actually makes you a better speaker. The fear of public speaking might be with you forever. But your audience does not need to know. Make your presentation fun for your audience and you as well. It should be informative, persuasive and educative. The following guide explains how to prepare and deliver a good presentation.
Many factors affect the design of your presentation. A powerful presenter will acknowledge and address each of the following:
Know your Objective: Why you are making your presentation? Bear in mind what you want to achieve and what you want your audience to take away with them. Once you have decided upon your objectives, you are in a much better position to make strategic decisions about the design and tone of your presentation.
Know Your Audience: Your audience will have a variety of different experiences, interests and levels of knowledge. A powerful presenter will need to acknowledge these and prepare for and respond to them accordingly. If you fail to consider your audience’s needs, you will fail to appeal to their interest and imagination.
Familiarize Yourself with the Venue: Where will you be making your presentation? What will the room be like? What atmosphere will the physical conditions create? A large lecture theatre might create a formal atmosphere. On the other hand, a smaller room might create a less formal tone.
Timing is Important: It is important to understand that different hours of the day will result in different responses from your audience. Two notoriously bad hours for a lengthy presentation are late morning, the hour preceding lunch, and late afternoon, the final hour before the end of the workday. In both situations, it is not easy to keep your audience’s attention.
Organize Your Content: Try presenting no more than three main points in a ten minute presentation. Always allow time for an adequate introduction and conclusion. It is difficult for an audience to follow a more complex argument without significant help from the presenter.
Any evidence can take the form of factual data, points of detail or an explanation of process. It might be presented in imaginative ways using diagrams, pictures or video segments.
Next is to develop the linear flow of your presentation. Linking statements send signals to your audience, highlighting the next point in your argument, linking to earlier ideas.
Build Rapport: Talk about things to which your audience can relate. To build rapport with your audience they must relate to you. Don’t pretend to be perfect. If you pretend to be perfect they will hate you – and not listen.
Open with Something Interesting: You don’t have to grab the audience’s attention at the start. You already have their attention. The challenge is to keep it. Opening with a story helps you to be conversational and establish rapport with your audience. You can start with a quote. Opening with a question creates curiosity and jump-starts the thought process. Also you can refer to shocking statistic.
Conclude Strong: Inform your audience that you are about to conclude. Repeat and emphasize your main points. Tell them what you already told them and ask for questions gracefully.
Remember the 6 P’s: There are 6 P’s to draft an effective content for a presentation. The first P stands for purpose of your presentation and choosing the topic.