Thursday, May 28, 2009

The how to's of a Powerful Presentation

Presentations have become an integral part of the corporate culture. In fact for every new initiative, bosses ask for a detailed presentation. A few tips on how to make a good and impressive presentation…

Presentations have become a part of our daily work schedule. Each one of us has to prepare a presentation either for internal assignments or for clients or to demonstrate a new initiative. Here are a few points that you can remember before starting to make a presentation,

Know your topic:
The worst mistake to do is to make a presentation on a topic which you do not know. You need to know your subject thoroughly and you must be enthusiastic about it.

Start thinking of your own professional and personal experiences to tie to the topic. It’s easier to speak from the personal perspective. It also helps increase rapport and credibility with your audience.

With today’s technological advancements, visuals are being integrated into presentations of all types. Here are a few guidelines to help you develop successful visuals in your presentations:

While developing content, think about how you want to present your material graphically
You will devise a crisper presentation when you do content and visuals as a one-step process. Also, you will not risk putting off the visuals until the last minute and ending up with less than you need.

Create visuals that signal quality.
This puts the best face on your presentation, your company, your business, and you. If your company provides master slides, use them. If not, use PowerPoint templates.

Make readability a top priority.
Select clean, simple fonts. Arial, Tahoma and New Times Roman are the best choices. Select point sizes that people can easily read. In person presentations call for 44-point heads and 32-point type for body copy. Reduce the font size if you are doing a web-conference and your visuals are available on a desktop monitor.

Limit the amount of text on a slide.
Do not use more than six words on one line, and no more than six lines of text on one slide.

Go for diversity in your slides.
Consider charts, diagrams, tables, clip art, and sound galleries. But practice restraint. With so many bells and whistles available, the temptation to keep adding multimedia is great.

Use animation to uphold interest.
If you’re presenting bulleted information, for instance, use the dim function. This helps sustain audience attention.

It must be said that sound topic knowledge even aided with visuals is not enough for making a persuasive presentation. Here are some more tips on bringing your presentation alive for your audience:

You should put your main points on cards and build your talk from these outlines.
Otherwise, you will fall into the trap of reading to your audience, weakening the all-important human connection. There are occasions when writing a speech makes sense, particularly if there is policy or legal issues involved. Still, you want to write like you talk.

When rehearsing, remember to actually “speak the speech.”
Just running through it mentally is not enough. Rehearse your speech alone, with others, or by using an audio or video tape. Better yet, do all three.

Wrap it up with a productive Question and Answer session.
Have a few questions ready in case the audience does not respond. Start with, “A question I often hear is. . .” This primes the audience to jump in with their own questions.

Most important, know your audience.
Who are they? What are their values? What’s important to them? Why did they invite you to speak?

What views do you have on the same. Share with your peers.

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