Best Practices Tips - Presentations


How do you begin to prepare for a presentation?

The answer is, start with the 'WHO', and the 'WHAT' will follow. If you do not know and understand your audience, you risk the ability to fully engage them. Presenting is not about delivering content, but ensuring that the content is connecting. Arrange to meet, call, or e-mail a cross-section of the group.

  • Investigate your audience profile: status, gender, age, values, personality types.

  • Determine their expectations re: content, speaker style, and level of participation.

  • Research their challenges, goals, and achievement.

  • Ask for any relevant resource material, visit their website.

  • Submit an outline for their review.

The 'less vs. more' factor in creating engaging presentations.

In developing your presentation consider the following:

  • Less slides, more anecdotes.

  • Less lecture, more conversation.

  • Less bullets, more images.

  • Less topics, more elaboration.

  • Less effects, more effective delivery.

Stage fright is normal.

If managed well, your nervousness can help keep you energized and focused.

Here are few ways to quell those nerves.

  • Plan your presentation at least 3 days prior to the delivery.

  • Be absolutely familiar with your slide content and remarks.

  • Visualize your success and use positive self-talk.

  • Do relaxation exercises, and a vocal warm up before you speak.

  • Recite opening remarks aloud.

  • Mingle with the audience.

Presenting is more than just being the messenger.

Often presenters focus primarily on the delivery of information. This is only half of the role. The audience response to the content is very important in gauging the impact of the presentation. For best results, observe and listen as much as you speak.

  • Allow your eyes to sweep the entire audience.

  • Be aware of signals communicated through body language and facial expressions.

  • Listen for the rustle factor: restlessness, fidgeting, leafing through handouts.

  • Monitor attentiveness by asking the occasional question or inviting the audience
    to imagine, reflect, or recall a situation.

  • Include interactive exercises, case studies, or graphics to invite participation.

10 Questions to Ensure You have Prepared an Effective Presentation.

  1. Do you confidently know your audience and have you customized content according to their needs?
  2. Have you organized ideas so that they flow smoothly and logically with seamless transitions?
  3. Are you using slides sparingly and strategically to support your words?
  4. Did you consider substituting a slide with a powerful or entertaining story?
  5. Have you included questions which evoke reflection or response to help keep your audience engaged?
  6. Is there a balanced combination of facts, anecdotes, examples and case studies?
  7. Do you have a shorter version of your presentation in case of unexpected time limitations?
  8. Did you time your presentation so that you are able to keep to the agenda?
  9. Have you anticipated questions or objections and prepared succinct and credible answers?
  10. Do you have a checklist of your notes, materials, directions, and contacts?