It’s all in the planning

Getting started on your slides can sometimes be as daunting as actually giving the presentation. A big part of giving an effortless presentation is in the planning, here are some tips on how to plan a great presentation…

1. Objective

First things first; you need to have an objective! What is the purpose of your presentation? What are the main points that you are trying to convey to your audience? What do you want them to take away from it?

2. Audience

Once you know what you want to get across, you need to think about your audience. Who are they? Why are they there? What do they already know about the subject? Defining your audience will help you to decide on the style, format and content of your presentation.

3. Story

Every presentation should tell a story – what story do you want to tell your audience? Every story has a beginning, middle and an end so try to format your presentation in this way so that your audience can easily follow.

4. Layout

The layout of your slides is just as important as the content. Badly designed slides can confuse, bore and distract your audience. Make sure that you use relevant imagery and don’t fill your slides with too much text. If creativity isn’t your strong point consider getting someone with design skills to give you a hand.

5. Visual Aids

Most presenters will need visual aids to assist them; it makes it easier for the audience to get the message. The most common aids are powerpoint slides for which you will also need to make sure you have a reliable laptop and a projector. You may also want to use music or video to enhance your presentation. Decide on this early on and make sure you can get hold of the equipment at the venue.

6. Practice

Practicing your presentation is essential, nerves can ruin even the best set of powerpoint slides. Practice in front of a colleague or friend, or if no one is available practice in front of the mirror! Speak loudly, try to curb negative body language and don’t just read from the screen. Practicing your presentation will also help you to make sure that you can get through your slides in the allocated time.

If you follow these steps you should be well prepared next time you face your audience – good luck!

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