Whether it’s a brief introduction of you to a company or an hour-long thesis discussion, all presentations have much in common. And we’re not just talking about that colony of butterflies in your stomach.
Every presentation requires ample preparation, creativity, and confidence to do your topic justice and leave your audience better informed. But fear not. Below are four steps guaranteed to make your next presentation better than your last.
1. Realize there’s never enough time
No matter the type of presentation, there will never be enough time to say everything you want. Accept this before starting any presentation and you’ll prevent yourself from over-saturating your visuals with information, saving yourself time, and end up creating a simpler, more effective presentation.
2. Control your slides, don’t let your slides control you
Everyone knows by now that too much text can put an audience to sleep. But it can also put the presenter in a rough spot, as bullet points that go unexplained make the presentation seem incomplete.
Prevent this by (1) using LARGE FONTS to wake everyone up and keep their attention, and (2) using images whenever possible so that you control how much time is spent on the topic; if you have to rush it unexpectedly, it doesn’t leave the audience wondering why your slide said something you didn’t.
3. Focus on a clear goal or idea
If the presentation is short, your introduction and similar conclusion will only have a few points between them. But if it’s longer, it might be harder to keep each point from straying too far from the overall message.
For more medium-length presentations, create an outline that organizes bullet points into logical subtopics, but keeps a common momentum in the headings that change every couple slides. For more complicated presentations, consider an alternative to Powerpoint such as Prezi, which creates a “map” that more readily accommodates the moving parts of a lengthy presentation.
4. Get confident
Practice is the key to confidence. Practice your presentation in front of a friend or family member. A close one. Someone who you know will be honest with you. And more than just practice in front of them, tell them who your audience will be so they can put them self in that position. Also, check out videos of speeches online and take notes on things you liked for an extra boost. And also, (don’t think I forgot) eye contact. It sells your words.
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