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How to make good presentations great

These tips will help you deliver a well-crafted presentation that’ll make people sit up and take notice.
By Priya Prakasan

Whether it is to kick off a major project, discuss strategy, land a client, or brief consultants, your role as a leader is to deliver the objective to the audience, transform their thinking and move them to action. Here are some tips that will help you deliver a well-crafted presentation that will connect and make an impression.

1. Use a story to connect with your audience
The main objective of any presentation is to reach out to your audience, for this you need to use the power of a good story. We suggest you pare down the use of a PowerPoint presentation. And instead of reading off slides make a more emotional connection through a story, and use it to drive your agenda. Your presentation slides should aid in the storytelling, you shouldn’t be using them as a teleprompter. That leads to a disconnect from the audience.

2. Run through multiple rehearsals
The key to delivering the perfect presentation is to rehearse it really well. As a leader being able to communicate powerfully is fundamental, so rehearse all aspects of the presentation—how you say it is as important as what you say. Run through everything, from your hand movements, to voice pitch, to order of slides, and the clothes you’re going to wear. Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs’ presentations always impressed because he would thoroughly rehearse for months before public appearances.

3. Opt for conversational language
Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so we tend to overcompensate by deliberately using complex vocabulary to make ourselves sound smart and seem intelligent. But this is the wrong way to go. To make your point, connect with the audience, and make an impact you need to opt for simple, conversational language that others can relate and connect to. People actually notice when you’re overcompensating by using big words and will actually perceive you as being less intelligent. So avoid going down this path. Talk candidly like you would to a colleague or friend; build that easy, familiar relationship with the audience so that they’re more receptive to your ideas.

4. Be strategic to capture attention
Your presentation should be planned as thoughtfully as any other project you undertake. Think strategically to create a structure around some basic points. How will you gain your audience’s trust? When will you present data? How much data is too much? What memorable anecdotes will you narrate to drive home your point? What message do you particularly want them to remember after the presentation is done? When you think strategically about all these key points you will come up with a compelling structure that will drive your presentation.

5. Make use of gripping visual aids
An effective presentation doesn’t just sound good, it looks good too. Take the time to find visuals that compliment your points. Visual aids not only keep the audience’s attention, they also provide additional information and help you, as the presenter, focus on the topic. But don’t go overboard, use visual aids sparingly and reserve them for highlighting and supporting your key points. Also be prepared to give your presentation without your visual aids in case of any technical problems. It is always advisable to have a backup plan in place in case something goes wrong.

6. Focus on a strong conclusion
Most people tend to remember the end of events better than the beginning. This means you need to hit a strong note with your ending to make it memorable. There are a few ways you could do this. One way is to summarise key points and project the way ahead. Or go back to the beginning to tie it all together. Another way is to ask the audience to perform a particular action based on your presentation. This is known to enhance recall at a later. Or you could wrap up with a symbolic story that brings your message home. People tend to remember stories much better than facts. So work on building a strong conclusion, it should bring your presentation full circle to the objective.

Photograph: Pixabay 

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