Like most tasks or problems in life, breaking them down into small more manageable pieces provides for a better result or solution than getting lost in the mire.
Step 1: Who are you presenting to?
By knowing who your audience are, their interests, background and experience allows you to better tailor your presentation and narrate in a style suited to them, making it better to understand.
Step 2: What’s it all about?
On many occasions you may not be in a position to pick your topic, however if you are use step 1, to better find a topic relevant to your audiences interests, but don’t forget to make it something you yourself understand completely and enjoy talking about.
Step 3: What do you want to convey?
This can be one of the hardest parts to writing a presentation. What message do you wish to pass on what do you want them to learn and what ideas do you want them to take away? I tend to do this by writing a list of objectives or subjects I wish to address during the presentation, putting them in order of importance the assigning an amount of time to them.
Step 4: Once upon… Ever after.
Now you have your key points let the story take over. Like most good movies, great presentations always have and introduction a plot and a happily ever after.
Introductions can be a statement of intent about what the presentation will be about, a simple bio of yourself or if you are truly going down the story road “the setting of the scene”
Now the plot is the hard part, this is where the key points from step 3, will find their home, again you can do this by using multimedia to present facts or ideas, go more personal by sharing your own experiences or by weaving them into a narrative.
And finally and most importantly “the happily ever after” You must and I stress again you MUST finish by reinforcing your key ideas. The last sentence of your presentation is just as important as your first, delivering your message clearly will make you unforgettable to you audience. I personally find that by setting your audience a task to do after will help them retain the message of you presentation, such as “when you get home tonight I want you all to… “
Step 5: Super stars aren’t lucky they practice.
It doesn’t matter how good you are or how many presentations you have done if you don’t practice your presentation it will look like you don’t know what you’re talking about or your making it up. Practice in front of the mirror, as your walking home, in front of your family, anywhere just practice. By practicing you can eliminate those pregnant pauses, the em’s and err’s and refine your talk so your timing is spot on and the key points shine.
Step 6: card shark.
It’s OK to hold flash cards, its OK to hold a script, but please, please, please don’t stand there and read from it. A lot of presenters find comfort from holding something in there hand whilst they present, which is the only reason why T.V presenters still hold microphones. I personally place a small sticker on the palm of my hand and when I feel anxious I just gently press it. There are lots of other methods you can use which I will cover in more details in a future blog.
Step 7: Don’t run off.
One of the biggest mistakes that presenters make is that once they have finished their presentation the relief hits them and within one second they have left the stage, leaving the audience an empty stage to applaud. Stay there and soak it up, your appreciation of them will help them appreciate you.
Now you’ve read through these very much shortened steps I hope you all go out there and put them to good use.
How to Make a Presentation