Whether you’re a college student, CEO, or anywhere in between, there have most likely been multiple times in your life where you have needed to present information to others for one reason or another. Whether to a group of four or 4,000, below are some keys to success as well as things to avoid when building a presentation.
Tips that will make a presentation powerful:
Understanding the BIG picture: Before building a house, there are many important factors to consider: budget and timeline, size of the lot, composition of the soil, size of the house, getting approval from the city, etc. Giving a presentation is no different and requires thought and consideration as well. Think big picture:
– Who are you presenting to? Is the audience large or small?
– What kind of media/technology are you going to use?
– What is the purpose of the presentation? Do you want to sell and persuade, or inform and educate?
– When is your presentation scheduled and how much time will be required for you to put everything together and prepare?
– Do you need approval from anyone before presenting?
Capture Their Attention: In a 20 to 30 minute presentation, for example, you have only the first few minutes to capture the audience’s attention and set the tone of your presentation. Develop a unique way to captivate listeners. Most likely the people in the room will have other things on their mind such as their to-do list, lunch or the weekend. How are you going to grab their attention away from that tuna sandwich and focus it on your information?
Infotainment: Information + entertainment = Infotainment. Plain and simple, people like to be entertained. Regardless of what information you’re presenting, combining it with entertainment will help engage the audience. In order to capture and maintain their attention, you may want to consider use some sort of entertainment. Show how the content of your presentation is exciting and amusing through using a video, anecdote or even just in your tone of voice and body language.
Things that will kill a presentation:
Chunky Paragraphs: Including too many words on a slide is boring, overwhelming and does not engage. Put key points on the slides, but learn the content and practice delivering it so the audience focuses on you and not on the screen.
Cliché Stock Imagery: It all comes down to creativity! Clip art and stock imagery are often seen as tacky.
Complicated Diagrams: Don’t make their heads spin. People like simplicity. Avoid complicated charts and endless diagrams by including as few as possible to get your point across and keep your audience focused.
Redundant Logos: If you find yourself adding your company’s logo on slide 25 of your presentation in order to remind your audience of who you are, you have completely missed the point.