How to Build a Powerful Presentation From Scratch – Part 1 of 2
In this two-part series, we’ll explore the finer points of crafting a powerful presentation. During part one, we cover the basics – but don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these tips! All the best presentations have these characteristics in common.
1. Less is more.
Let’s face it – we live in the age of Twitter communication, where anything longer than a sentence starts to lose our interest. We’re constantly being bombarded with information at every turn, so it pays to keep things brief. Sound bites rule! Of course you’ll want to have supporting information to back up any bold declarations you make, but there is something to be said for brevity. Don’t be afraid to end this presentation and you just might get invited back to speak in more detail on your chosen topic!
2. Keep it relevant.
The lecture format is passe’. Keep the mood fresh and engaging, invite questions and audience participation, and if you have a longer presentation, incorporate an activity or exercise that gets people involved while driving home a key point. Use current references and analogies, don’t be afraid to weave in pop culture references if you can make it relate to your key point (assuming this is a match for your audience).
3. Be enthusiastic.
Odds are, you can fondly remember a teacher from your grade school days and you may remember things that he or she taught you – even if you didn’t particularly like the subject itself! Likable people keep us interested and engaged, and enthusiasm is contagious. Bring your own passion into your presentation and your audience will sit up and take notice — even if the very same material would have bored them on paper.
4. Know when to hold ’em
It is positively baffling how many speakers and presenters don’t know how to simply and effectively use audiovisuals. Used properly, these tools can enhance a presentation, drive home key points, and keep the focus where it belongs: on the speaker. Anything else becomes a distraction that leads to boredom. Look around – there are plenty of articles here on this blog that demystify the proper use of rental projectors and audiovisual support. Read up on the subject matter and you can master this quickly and easily!
5. Meat and potatoes
Be sure to structure your presentation so that it has plenty of meat (valuable subject matter, new information, useful tips, etc.) as well as potatoes (such as supporting explanations, demonstrations, hands-on experiences, and exercises or material designed to reinforce the key points). A presentation that’s “all-meat” often gives too much new material without allowing for integration, which may result in a much lower retention of the information by the audience. Similarly, an “all-potato” presentation lets the participant walk away feeling as though they learned nothing new or useful. As a presenter, it’s up to you to strike a balance.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your presentation packs a punch and keeps your audience engaged.