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How to make a killer presentation

posted on April 17 , 2017 by GBC
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Presentations these days are more focussed than ever and have become a compelling way to give and receive important information in an increasingly time poor society. As such, confidence and knowing your material exceptionally well will have a profound effect on how effective your presentation is and can be favourably received – whether your audience is 1 to 200. It’s also a well-documented fact that public speaking is frequently the greatest fear people have, even above death! As nerve-wracking as the prospect of presenting is, there are preparatory steps to ensure that you do not crack during the presentation. Like all things in life, the more you do, the better and more adept you’ll become. The simple fact is if you prepare properly, you will deliver a killer presentation – you may even really enjoy the experience!

In this blog, I’ll go over some pointers and tips for you can always apply for how to deliver a killer presentation.  

Rehearse, Rehearse, and Rehearse Once More

Remember that the presentation on the screen is just as important as the speaker’s presentation off the screen. When giving a Powerpoint or Prezi Presentation, it’s essential to add a little flavour to the speech – or something to stand out and make it compelling. There are two common ways a speaker can fail in his or her presentation: by displaying a lack of confidence, or by having a misconception about what the audience will retain from the speech. The only real way to boost confidence is to practice. As a guide, if you spend 5 hours putting together the presentation, spend another 5 hours practicing it. If you spend 15 hours putting together the presentation, spend another 15 practicing it. Try not to rely too much on notes, if at all, since the audience will be looking at you to engage with them–not with your script. If you spend enough time practicing, it’s reasonable to expect that you won’t need any notes. You’ll simply talk to each bullet point on the screen. Understand that most viewers will walk away from a presentation with only the very key points. Therefore, it’s essential not to confuse your audience with the minutia or details that are best left for a handout or leave behind. It’s handy to know that all PowerPoint presentations typically are trying to sell you something, even if it’s just an idea, product, or the presenter himself.  

Less is more

At some point or another, we’ve all sat through a PowerPoint presentation flooded with an endless stream of bullet points, sentences, or even full paragraphs. It may seem obvious, this is one of the biggest–and most common–mistakes made by presenters. And when the presenter lists too much detail on the slides, few people will be able to retain any of it. As a guide, don’t include more than 4-5 succinct one line bullet points per slide as a maximum. Remember that a great presentation “should really just give the highlights,” with your oral presentation adding to what’s already on the screen. It’s also good to segment presentations in places where your audience’s mind can sum up–and process–the information, so that they’re actually able to think about what you’re telling them. Your audience needs to digest information. Don’t be afraid to linger on a slide or create a slide with just one picture and nothing else. Taking risks like these will help sell your presentation to your audience, and keep them from getting that “glazed over” look of boredom. Edward de Bono would deliver some of the narrative of his presentations with a single word on the slide behind him.  

Branding is Key

Clip art: the enemy of any great PowerPoint presentation. When you’re assembling slides for a presentation, incorporating clip art, slide transitions, and other tacky animations are an easy way to pollute your brand’s message. While they’re easy to use, they make your brand seem generic and outdated. After all, anyone with Microsoft has access to the same catalogue of images, and more than likely has seen it all before. 

Be consistent with colours and fonts. Focus on the message–everything has to have a reason. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of overusing charts and graphs to illustrate a point. However, if the graphic doesn’t support the information or push the presentation forward, it’s not necessary to the story. Be fairly brutal in your editing and err on the side of including less information in each slide.    
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