8 tips for creating and delivering effective presentationsAugust 10, 2018
1. Start strong
You never get a second chance at a first impression. Think back to the last presentation you heard – do you tend to remember your first and final impression more than the rest? Most people do.
That is why it is important to deliver a powerful opening and conclusion with confidence. To grab your audience’s attention, start with a hook.
2. The 10-20-30 Rule
Keep in mind Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule. The guide is to avoid more than 10 slides, present for less than 20 minutes, and use a minimum of 30-point font in your deck.
These aren’t hard-and-fast rules, but with these principles, you can get all your important points across using your slides as a visual aid – not an abridged report.
3. Tell a story
Become a good “raconteur” by ensuring your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle and end; have a clear arc that builds towards a climactic point.
To keep your audience engaged, make sure they appreciate each slide, whilst also being curious about what they will learn next. If the size of your audience is relatively small, allow dialogue while you are presenting. Ask your listeners to pose questions and enable them to become active participants in your ideas.
4. One thought at a time
Think about planning your presentation so that just one new point is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points or icons can be revealed one at a time as you reach them.
Deliver one concise thought to one engaged person by speaking to a different member of the audience every 5-7 seconds. That way you’re not spreading eye contact aimlessly; you’re make connections, talking “to” your audience rather than “at” them.
5. Make sure your slides pass the glance test
Lengthy paragraphs in your report or presentation will kill engagement. Your audience should be able to glance through your content and quickly understand what you want to say.
One way to achieve this is by choosing your words carefully. A few well-chosen words can have a much stronger impact than a long, wordy paragraph. So make sure you keep sentences short and remove unnecessary words to
ensure that you convey your message as clearly as possible.
6. The Goldilocks Theory
Keep the presentation simple – avoid the temptation to fill your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design basics.
Three important ones to remember are: do not use more than 3 fonts, put dark text on a light background, and avoid clutter.
Like the ‘Goldilocks theory’, try to give your audience “just the right” amount of detail. Be careful as too much information might bore them, and not enough of it would discourage action.
7. Using images and icons
Use visuals and images when they add important information or make an abstract point more concrete.
There are two schools of thought about images in presentations: some say they add visual interest and keep audiences engaged; others say images are an unnecessary distraction. The best option is somewhere in the middle – using visuals that add value or understanding to your message.
8. Lead the next steps
Consider your objective. For a pitch, the objective is to sell your idea. For consulting presentation, the objective is to persuade the audience to implement your recommendations.
To prepare, get to know who you are speaking to and what they care about. Are you presenting to a board that will approve your recommendations based on cost vs. benefit? Or a marketing manager who wants to meet their targets with the help of your social media strategy?
Think about what motivates your audience, what your recommendations will achieve, and use your presentation to mobilise your audience towards action.
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