A great presentation is an effective way to communicate ideas, arguments or to get yourself noticed by the people who count. Presenting can also be a key part of moving up through an organisation, which makes it a very useful skill to have. Delivering a good presentation isn’t just about the moment itself, there is also a lot that goes into the preparation to ensure that you create the right experience. This is our guide to delivering a good presentation in any context.
● Spend some time on the preparation. Before your presentation make sure you dedicate plenty of time to planning and preparing it. This will include creating visual aids and working out what kind of structure you want to have. Think about the way that you open the presentation - for example, a thought provoking question can be really effective - and make sure that you’ve planned a sound ending that will leave people thinking about what you’ve said. You might want to rehearse the presentation, with the visual aids, so that you feel confident when it comes to the moment of delivery.
● Stay present when you’re presenting. It can be easy to get lost in anxiety or nerves when it comes to presenting and to miss opportunities to excel. Make sure you maintain the right amount of eye contact with your audience during the presentation and be aware of the non-verbal cues that you’re using. This could be anything, from great posture and wearing the right outfit to smiling and being physically relaxed. If you have a tendency to fidget or over use your hands then try to keep this under control so that you don’t distract people from what you’re saying.
● Avoid lecturing your audience. You’re likely to get more engagement from your audience if you don’t simply talk at them during the presentation. Asking questions can be a good way to encourage this, as well as using visuals and interactive exercises. If there is a point in the presentation that you think is very important then use a verbal cue, such as “you’ll want to pay attention to this.”
● Incorporate pauses when you’re speaking. You might be tempted to rush through your presentation and to answer any questions immediately just to get something out. This can detract from your content and make your delivery seem amateurish. Instead, give yourself plenty of time to pause during the presentation and don’t be tempted to fill those pauses with um-ing and ah-ing. If there are questions, wait and make sure you’re certain of your response before delivering it.
● Be conscious about how you speak. This includes making sure you’re speaking at the right volume to be heard even at the back of the room, without shouting, and also being clear in the way that you enunciate your words.
● Believe in your subject. The more you believe in what you’re talking about the more convincing you’re going to be. You can achieve this by picking a topic you’re passionate about or doing research to find points of interest on an assigned topic that you feel excited to convey.
A good presentation will be easy to understand, informative and leave people feeling like they have engaged and learned. A combination of preparation, presenting skills and a mindful approach can help you to achieve a great result.