Create a captivating presentation in 6 steps
Public speaking can be a daunting prospect, especially when the audience tends to form an opinion in the first 60-seconds of the presentation. Catching the attention of the audience, building credibility and motivating them to listen isn’t an easy task.
There’s nothing worse than spending hours planning, preparing and practising – only to find you lost the entire group just moments after beginning.
Giving an effective presentation means working with both the audience and the topic. It’s important to know how to relate to who you are communicating with in order to get through to them.
Images are worth a thousand words
Images are a great way to engage the audience’s imagination and also make points more memorable. Including attractive images that emphasis the key speaking points will significantly increase the effectiveness of any presentation. Remember that any visual elements need to be strategic and relevant and don’t settle for low-res images.
visual elements need to be strategic and relevant
Additionally, illustrations and diagrams can help to communicate complex concepts clearly and instantly. Instead of droning on utilise the power of graphics as a way to concisely and effectively explain difficult topics.
Visual aids can also help to keep presenters on track, they can be used as a visual cue to revive a train of thought.
Less is more
Strip your content down to the essentials and make a conscious decision to avoid clutter. Less is most certainly more and clean slides help to focus the mind on delivering relevant content. Instead of using up slide space on lengthy descriptions, represent key points through pictures or graphics instead.
Presentations are a visual aid and shouldn’t overwhelm the audience with too much information. As the presenter, it’s important to take the stage and talk the audience through the presentation succinctly.
Think outside the slide
Cut back on text-heavy slides, don’t run the risk of inflicting Death by PowerPoint on the audience. Overcrowding slides with text can lead to distractions, keep in mind that it takes the audience less time to read a slide than it does for the presenter to run through it.
it takes the audience less time to read a slide than it does for the presenter to run through it
Don’t leave the audience with the option to fill the time and do something else instead like check email, Twitter or Facebook. Using as little text as possible makes it easier to engage with the audience and get the key points across.
Don’t get fancy
It’s important to pick clean and modern fonts that are easy to read, using fonts that are hard to read will only distract the audience more – Tahoma and Helvetica tend to work well.
Additionally, the font you choose needs to be large enough for the audience to read, although this might vary depending on the venue. Remember to factor in the size of the screen and distance from the back of the room, what looks good on a laptop might not translate well to a projector and screen.
Take a step back
After the presentation has been structured and all the slides have been finalised, take a step back and look at the flow of the presentation. PowerPoint has a slide sorter view which is handy for getting an overview of the running order.
look at the flow of the presentation
Think about whether or not the structure still makes sense and question if every slide makes a valid point? If in doubt, get someone else to review the presentation and give their feedback.
Make the presentation sharable
Services like SlideShare exists for a reason. Sharing presentations enables audiences members and people interested in the topic to view the information, without having to track down the slides. SlideShare is a great way to promote content and including an email address and Twitter handle will help encourage users to share the content with others who might find it valuable.
Also think about preparing a final slide which summarises the key points in 140 characters – great for instance retweets!
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