Presentation is a one-to-many formal verbal communication method. A presentation is the process of presenting an idea or a topic to an audience. It is typically a demonstration, introduction, lecture, or speech meant to inform, educate, persuade, inspire, motivate, or to build good will or to present a new idea or product.
Presentations need to be effective and it must help achieve the expected goal of positively influencing the audience with the new information being presented. Presentations are formal method of communicating your messages in a powerful manner to create the desired impact. There are PMP training, numerous presentation audio visual tools and aids available which can be used to make the presentations more powerful and effective.
One should prepare well for making an effective presentation. For that we need to understand the finer nuances of presentation.
An approach for making effective presentation
The entire process of effectively delivering a presentation can be divided into following 3 phases:
1. Planning the presentation
- It is very important to do the necessary ground work before even we start designing the presentation.
- It is important to clearly define the objectives of the presentation. What are the end messages we are looking at conveying to the audience and what results a successful presentation will lead to.
- We must understand the background of the audience upfront. We also need to clearly understand their expectations from the presentation.
- What are the messages we need to convey to the audience and the priority of the messages
- We also need to be very clear about how the presentation will benefit the audience
- Plan and define the expected take-away for the audience
- Decide the tone of the presentation whether it is informative, inspirational, motivational or educational
2. Preparing the presentation
It is important to prepare an appealing presentation by aggregating the right content in the right format. We can make use of some of the presentation tools to make the presentation visually more impactful.
- Decide the content to be shown in the presentation. Decide additional supporting information that might need to be distributed for consumption by the audience
- Decide the right tools for making the presentation. PowerPoint is one of the most impactful presentation tools widely being used.
- Making use of visual charts and graphs will also enrich the presentation
- Number of slides in the presentation should be limited.
- There are many thumb rules for making presentation slides. Most important is not to have too much text on the slides. There should be mostly important bullet points on a slide
- Prepare the speech script for each slide to explain each point on the slide
- One of the most popular guidelines for making powerpoint presentation is the 10-20-30 rule, which says there should not be more than 10 slides, not taking more than 20 minutes to present and font size of text not less than 30.
- There is also a 7-7 rule which states that each slide should not have more than 7 lines of text and each line should not have more than 7 words
- Signpost the presentation by dividing it logically
3. Delivering the presentation
Delivering the presentation is the most important part of the whole process. This is the real work where you need to establish direct contact with the audience and deliver the presentation to them. This being a live and face-to-face process will involve huge amount of human emotions. It can cause immense anxiety to the presenter. One needs to keep the following points in mind while delivering the presentation.
- Rehearse the presentation with the prepared script very well many times before making the actual presentation
- Start the presentation in a positive and strong note.
- Maintain direct eye contact with the entire audience and make good use of your body language
- Use lot of real world examples which the audience can relate with. Also share personal experience to drive the practical aspect of the message. This will make the messages more relatable and easily acceptable by the audience
- It is normal for a speaker to feel nervous with a new audience. Hence it is necessary to create the initial connect with them. That will help to reduce the anxiety and help you become more comfortable.
- Use humour as appropriate depending upon the audience.
- Conclude your presentation with the key messages
- Make provision for some time for question answer session during the concluding part of the presentation
Making presentation is always challenging. Each presentation is unique as the topics may be different and audience may be different. A good presentation should have a good subject matter, should match with the objective, should best fit the audience, and should be well organized. And it must meet or exceed the expectation of the audience and finally should give something concrete to the audience to take away.