Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Making a Great Presentation

Delivering a presentation is always a challenge. One is never sure how much to include or what design is apt or which color combination goes well with the audience. The situation may get worse when one has to deliver a presentation at work at a very short notice? Don’t panic – just follow the below tips –
It might be simpler if you break up your presentation into multiple parts – available time, subject, your grip on the subject, your slides format and your delivery style.

During the Presentation or Your Delivery Style

Eye contact
We often see people staring into their laptops and reading out the slide. This can get boring. It is better if you can avoid reading the slide. Instead, you look confident when you make eye contact with the audience. Don’t look at any one person for a long time. Just make a point of moving your eyes gently across the audience as you deliver your speech.

Consider walking around taking small steps around the podium or around the audience. If you want to look like a professional presenter then add some movement into your presentation style. Walking around also helps to keep your audience from checking emails or talking amongst themselves. Don’t take fast, jerky movements, but slow, steady, purposeful movements as you walk across the stage or towards the audience. Movement all helps you read just your eye contact from person to person without having to move your head constantly.

The best presentation style is the one where every individual feels as if you are taking to him or her alone. Now this is not easy. Usually when you have a one-one conversation with someone you know you generally use your hands to describe or emphasize what you are saying. Do the same throughout your presentation for a professional effect. Importantly, avoid doing pre-determined gestures or movements that do sync to your script. Doing this makes the gestures appear unnatural and forced and comes across as un-natural.

Body position
It is always a matter of debate as to what to do with your hands during a speech or a presentation. It is suggested to keep a open body position during the presentation. Don’t cover your body for long periods of time by clasping your hands in front of you or behind your back… this will make you look nervous. Additionally, maintain a confident and relaxed stance.
Begin your presentation by asking a question instead of standard, boring introductions. If your presentation is about the launch of a new marketing campaign, perhaps begin by asking the audience, “Who thinks our marketing campaigns could do with a revamp?” Ask the question while you hold your hand in the air to encourage the audience to respond. After you get some responses follow up with, “Well today I’m going to tell about the new marketing campaign that is going to seriously revamp things.”

Start with the screen off
If you can, begin your presentation with the screen off and talk to the audience first from the center of the room. In the first few minutes of your presentation have a conversation with your audience without the slideshow . The more you talk to the audience in a conversational tone the more engaged they will be. You will be more relaxed and therefore project more confidence.

Don’t spend time over mistakes
If you make a mistake laugh at it, simply correct yourself, or move on. Do not keep talking or apologizing about the mistake.

Use presenter view if possible
When delivering your presentation use the presenter view with PowerPoint or Keynote so that you can see which slides are coming next. This improves your verbal transitioning and your confidence.

Slide Design and Content

Use a Slide Master
When using a MS Powerpoint or any other tool for creating a presentation slide deck, first thing one must do is to create a Slide Master. If you are not familiar with this useful tool then it may maybe to invest some time and money to learn this at the earliest. Palium Skills conducts training on Presentation Tools like Powerpoint, Keynote, This way you have all the design elements, headers, page numbers and logos in one single place. If you have to change them later then you need to only change the design in one single place.

Minimize content on slides
Try as hard as you can to have minimal content on your slides. Slides full of information are confusing for your audience and they will end up spending all their time reading rather than listening to you. Use white space liberally. Also try to use numbers and pictures which can convey the same message as a text.

Don’t show all the information at once
It might be a good idea to deliver the punch-line after you have completed the background or after the audience has heard you out like  “Our sales went up two times over the last year!”, “The best salesperson award goes to … !”. You may want to hold onto this information while sharing the background, or preamble of the subject. Showing it later, ie. when you deliver the impactful line, will add major impact to your presentation. If the audience sees the impactful information while you are giving the background or preamble, they will not be interested when you deliver the impactful statement.

Animation on the Slide
Do not have too much animation on your slide. Initially it seems like a good idea to have animations at every step but it can often slow you down during the actual deliver. Remembering talking takes less time than reading and naturally if you have to wait for the text to appear on your slide then it can get boring.

Color combination
Choose the colors depending on the audience and the occasion. It might be good idea to have colorful slides when addressing a young group on lighter topics. But stick to more sober colors when making official presentations and presenting to senior officials.

This article is written by Abhijoy Mitra. The views shared are those of the individual and he has no connection to any coaching centers or teaching faculties.
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