How To Plan The Perfect Presentation

No matter how many people you’re giving a presentation to, it could be a handful or a thousand, but you should treat them the same and create something that ensures that it’ll be a success. You need to know what’s needed to create a powerful presentation so your meetings don’t turn into an unproductive one.

Research suggests that the average business leader can spend up to 23 hours per week in meetings, with more than half of their work week spent sitting through presentations. You want yours to standout from the rest so that they won’t forget as soon as they leave the room. You want to imprint your presentation on their mind so even when they’ve left the room, they can’t stop thinking about it.

But how do you overcome this innate and overwhelming dread professionals feel when attending another presentation? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to show you. You need to prepare, plan and practice and ensure that it caters for your audiences need in such a way that they find it captivating and intriguing.

Know your audience

By defining your audience you’re allowing yourself to create a much more defined presentation that is better suited to their needs. Firstly, you need to understand how your topic is relevant to them and how it will benefit their needs. You have to know what they’re expected to take away from their time with you.

Everyone thinks differently, so don’t assume your audience thinks the same as you. If you have a particular demographic bias, it can really sway the way we think. The more you know about them, the more effective you can make your presentation.

You have to think about your audiences’ level of expertise on the matter and take it from there so you don’t lose their attention by using jargon they won’t understand otherwise it’ll just go straight over their head. Analyse your audience then plan.

If you’re unfamiliar with the audience you’re expecting, then talk to the meeting organiser before you begin planning your presentation. Ask who will be attending and what they’re hoping to learn.

Scope the topic

Content is critical when it comes to creating a presentation that’s meaningful. Your content must be correct, factual and well-organised i.e. follows a process or structure that makes sense. You want to give yourself the chance to understand the content before giving the presentation, you don’t want to be caught out with questions when you’re learning about it at the same time your audience is!

But for us to develop sometimes we have to present things that are outside of our comfort zone, so try and research everything you can about things you will discuss.

You don’t need the historical knowledge of the topic per se, but you should know how that knowledge will benefit the audience. When you understand their needs, you can then tailor your research and fact-gather accordingly.

Choose your method

How you deliver the content is just as important as the message itself. Your overall goal should be to engage your audience and influence them to act upon what you have to say. You should think about what type of presenting method resonates with your audience and use that.

You have to connect with your listeners through the method you choose. If you invest time in learning about your audience then you’ll earn their attention in no time and choosing the best delivery method is key to keeping their focus. It’s not all about the message itself but the way you deliver it that can impact others.

Your message is much more important than the slides, so refrain from using too many bullet points when you can discuss the facts aloud instead. Keep any animation you use to a minimum, you don’t want your audience members losing focus over unnecessary noises and movement your slides may have.

Finally, remember, less is more. Research has shown that text is counterproductive to learning, whereas visuals make an incredibly strong impact on listeners, by aiding their memory retention.

Organise your content

When you’ve set your slides up and begin practising, you may find that the content may need a bit of a rejig. You may find that it flows better in a different sequence than first thought. If that’s the case, then reorganise your slides accordingly whilst keeping in mind you should create a sequence that makes sense will actually help you remember where everything is throughout the presentation and make it flow much better.

Protect time

There’s nothing that can quite take the audiences attention away is if your presentation runs over time. Everyone is running on a tight schedule nowadays and most-likely have somewhere where they need to be. A rule of thumb that most people use is to ensure that your presentation can fit within 80 per cent of the time given. This gives you time for questions and provides you with a little wiggle room in case key personnel are late, the event is running behind or other speakers run long.

December 11, 2018

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