You owe your audience and yourself a good presentation, but creating an effective presentation takes planning and practice, so some final pointers

Start preparing early; don't wait until the last few days to prepare

· prepare it early, let it rest a little bit and come back to it

· practice your entire presentation-including your slides

· if you can practice it before a group of colleagues or friends

Think about Your Audience:

· who are they and why are they here;

· what are their interests;

· what do they know; what do they want to know; what is a worthwhile investment in their time

Be clear about your purpose:

· are you informing or persuading;

· tell them what you are going to do, tell them, tell them what you told them;

· what do you want the audience to know, feel, or believe afterwards

Use an Effective Introduction:

· orient the audience; explain why it is important; set the tone,

· establish a relationship between the speaker and the audience; establish credibility;

· avoid weak introductions such as apologies, jokes, rhetorical questions

Organize your presentation clearly and simply:

  • Prioritize topics and allocate time accordingly
  • stick to only 3-5 main points;
  • have a well thought pattern (examples are problem/solution, chronological, cause and effect, topical); use transitions to move smoothly from one point to the next

Use supporting materials to flesh out main points

· Use examples, statistics, expert opinions, anecdotes

Compose for the Ear, not for the Eye:

· use simple words, simple sentences, markers, repetition, images, personal language ("You" and "I")

Create an Effective Conclusion:

· summarize, set final image, provide closure; don't trail off, don't use trite phrases

· don't just present data or summarized results and leave the audience to draw its own conclusions

· you have had much more time to work with your information than your audience; share your insight and understanding and tell them what you've concluded from your work

Sound spontaneous, conversational, enthusiastic-

· use key phrases in your notes so you don't have to read, use the overhead instead of notes;

· vary volume, don't be afraid of silence, don't use fillers like "um"...

· Practice, Practice, Practice

Use Body Language Effectively: relaxed gestures, eye contact; don't play with a pen or pointer,

· don't block visual aids

Use Visual Aids to Enhance the Message:

· you will probably need to use overhead transparencies in your presentation but to be effective, they must be designed and used properly

· use visuals to reinforce and clarify, not overwhelm;

· keep visual aids uncluttered; use titles to guide the audience

· if you use tapes or disks, make sure the equipment is compatible

Analyze the Environment:

· check out size of room, placement of chairs, time of day, temperature, distractions

· check out AV equipment ahead of time; have a spare bulb

Cope with Stage Fright by Remembering: it's normal; it can be helpful, everyone feels it


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