By guest blogger, Michelle Bedolla, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University.
Presentations are big components of conferences, classes, and work. They allow you to spread your knowledge to a larger audience. All eyes and ears are on you when you are on stage.
This may seem like a daunting task, especially for novice presenters.
However, you do not need to fear the impending day of your presentation. Whether you have been a spectator for most of your life or want to improve your presentation skills for your next event, these 10 tips will help you prepare a presentation that will inform and awe your audience.
- Be a Visual
Your primary visual is yourself. You should be the focal point of your presentation. The audience should be focused on the details that you put forth. Use PowerPoint as a secondary visual to show pictures, charts, and data that add emphasis to your presentation.
- Be Your Audience’s Guide
When you use PowerPoint, make sure that you cover the information that is on the slides. Do not bewilder your audience with unexplained slides. To avoid confusion, lead your audience through the data. The correlation between x and y is best understood when you describe the data.
- KISS and Tell
Use Keep it Short and Simple (KISS) to modify your presentation. Think like your audience. Would you prefer a prolonged presentation that covers more than necessary or a succinct presentation? You would choose the latter. Your audience deserves to receive a presentation that gets to the point and gives essential details.
- The Blue Banana
Use captivating details when necessary in your presentation. When telling a story, the color of the banana matters if it had been dropped in paint. Is the peel red, purple, or black? On the other hand, describing the peel’s color after it fell in water is inconsequential. Give your audience details that they will remember and associate with your presentation.
- Hands Over Here. Hands Over There. Hands All Over the Place
You should know when to use your hands in presentations. Do not look like a maladroit marionette with your hands moving left, up, right, and down. You can still move your hands, but choose specific moments in your presentation to emphasize the significance of your speech.
- Moonlight as an Entertainer and Educator
Strive to be more like Bill Nye the Science Guy. Your presentation should leave your audience amused and enlightened. Entertaining allows your audience to be more interested in the information you present.
- It Really Happened
Take advantage of stories that occurred in real life. Your presentation will be more accessible to your audience, who will feel that the stories are a testimonial of your capabilities. Furthermore, if the story is told correctly, your audience will remember you as a real-life superhero.
- Tell me, O Muse
You can also use fictional storytelling to enhance your presentation. Think of a story as an analogy that likens your details to the captivating battles in a Dreamland. You can set yourself, or the company, as the hero who battles for the well being of Dreamland’s citizens, your stakeholders.
- Testing: One, Two, Three…
Make an effort to fix technical difficulties before the audience arrives. Some errors are inevitable, but if you fix the ones that you find, you have more likelihood of having a smooth presentation.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Lastly, you should practice, practice some more, and practice again to effectively voice your presentation. A well-built presentation requires a speaker to use pauses, maintain eye contact, concisely entertain and educate the audience, and maintain a professional image. These skills are achieved through rehearsing and balancing your presentation to impresses your audience.
If you still want to learn more about how to prepare an awesome presentation, you can check out these books:
- Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
- Presentation Advantage: How to Inform and Persuade Any Audience
Also, feel free to contact your librarian for research assistance or resources for your presentation.