15 Tips to Create Winning Presentations
No doubt at some point we have all sat through the stereo-typical presentation where we are bombarded with clip art and bullet points. At some point in our lives we will need to make a professional presentation. These can be very daunting and many people rank it as one of their greatest fears. So to ease the nerves and to avoid the typical bullet-drenched PowerPoint presentation, here are a few tips:
- The real success is in the preparation. If you know your material and have properly rehearsed this will greatly assist in reducing the nerves and looking polished on the day.
- When preparing your presentation know your purpose, the audience and any time constraints. Ask yourself if you are looking to inform, persuade, entertain or a combination.
- Communication is more about body language than spoken words so ensure you smile and make eye contact. Try to avoid standing in one spot for long periods and avoid nervous traits like fidgeting.
- Getting off to a good start is essential in getting the audience’s attention and calming your nerves so rehearse the introduction well.
- Look to have some interaction with the audience. Possibly include an ice breaker exercise, prompt responses to certain questions or incorporate a quick survey.
- Where possible reduce the dependence on notes. For longer presentations use cue cards or talk to your PowerPoint.
- Look to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t cram too much into each slide (no more than 6 points per slide) and be aware that the audience will read ahead, keep this in mind if you are building to a key point.
- Don’t have continuous animation, this distracts the audience. You want the audience focusing on your message not images flashing across the screen.
- Often when people get nervous they tend to speak quicker. Practice not rushing and ensure use different pitch and tone as well as pauses to create effect or stress an important point.
- Use personal stories. Stories and case studies help you connect with your audience increasing their interest.
- Provide a workbook with space for notes – leave some information off to encourage the audience to write their own summary of key points.
- With so many presentations look and sound the same so to be remembered you need to at provide at least a point of difference.
- Charts, graphs, video clips and demonstrations are very useful tools that help break up presentations and help explain key points. Just be careful to avoid ‘fluff’ visuals that have no relevance to the point you are trying to make
- Make Numbers Meaningful. The bigger the number the more you need to make it relevant so ensure you put it into context e.g. “we recycle 70 million tons of steel per year, that is enough to build 20 Sydney Harbour Bridges”.
- Your conclusion needs to clarify your key presentation points and possibly provide a ‘call to arms’. Prepare well to highlight your key points and maximise impact.
Bonus point: One of my personal favourites is the use of metaphors. Metaphors are great for driving a point home or when the audience might be slightly confused. So when making your next key or difficult point consider explaining it as “It’s just like …”
Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.