Planning perfect presentations involves preparation, planning and practice. A powerful presentation is about so much more than the message it is delivering. Of course the message is vitally important but unless you are able to deliver an engaging presentation, the message could be lost.
Ideas for presentations:
Know your audience
Start at the beginning. Who are you presenting your ideas to and why? Define your audience. This will help you tailor your message to them. What will they be hoping to gain from participating? How can you make this a good use of their time?
Always avoid making assumptions. Put yourself in the position of your audience. They may not understand this topic as well as you. The more you know about them, the more you can tailor your language, tone and style to suit the people you need to communicate with.
Know your topic
Nobody wants to sit and listen to a long rambling message with no direction and little focus. Make sure your purpose is clear. Your message should be well ordered, correct and factual. Ideally you will know your subject well before you conduct a presentation. However, sometimes you may be requested to present on something you are not familiar with. In this instance you must take time to do your research and formulate your ideas.
Consider this as the foundation of your credibility. A teacher conducting a presentation on heart surgery is unlikely to have the credibility of a surgeon. Likewise a surgeon conducting a presentation on primary school reading targets will not have the credibility of a teacher. That’s not to say they can’t do it successfully, we just need to know how and why they are a credible source for this message. Your audience are much more likely to listen to what you have to say if they know you are credible.
Once you’ve established your credibility its important to keep reinforcing it with your supporting material. So the surgeon presenting reading targets may keep referring back to research already conducted, statistics or quotes from well respected figures. This reinforces the credibility of the presentation. You can also directly address your credibility by saying you understand that they may be surprised or be sceptical, but you have done your research and you know what you are talking about.
Choose a method
Of course, there is more than one way to deliver a presentation. Take time to consider which one is the right fit for your message. How you present is almost as important as the message itself. Your aim is to interest the audience and influence them. You have taken the time to get to know your audience, now consider which method of presentation will appeal to them the most.
Consider using strong images and quotations. Provide a powerful visual for the message. Some people respond much better to imagery than words. By providing both you are covering all bases. This will also help to keep the message stuck in people’s minds and it breaks up the presentation, preventing it from becoming stale.
Make sure your slides and powerpoint presentations are snappy and not long winded and wordy. Always remember less is more. Don’t use 20 words if 10 is enough. Keep your information short and sharp.
Be mindful of time
Understandably the topic you are presenting on will often be of great interest and importance to you. You could spend all day thinking and talking about it. This is unlikely to also be true of your audience. You need to give a reasonable timescale to you presentation and make sure this does not run over. Take time to practice your presentation. Time yourself. Always make sure you allow time for others to feedback and ask questions. Around 80% of the time can be given to the presentation with 20% for questions and feedback.
Engage in Learning provide online courses to help you make perfect presentations. Our Planning a Powerful Presentations course will help you structure your ideas clearly, be aware of your audience and their needs, and use visuals that impact to enhance your presentations.