Saturday, 2 April 2016

Delivering a Killer Presentation || Guest Post*

We’ve all been there; a situation where we have to bring our best efforts in order to present and convince people of our ideas. Whether you’re a professional or student, the presentation is probably a rite of passage for everyone. Standing in front of people with all attention focused on you, whether it’s 3 of your co-workers or 100 of your fellow students, takes guts. If there’s ever situation which demands you pull out all the stops, it has to be presentation time.
Of course, your ideas are ultimately what will win people over, but having the authority and confidence to back it all up and convince people is also hugely important to the presentation process. Everyone has a different style of presenting, but no matter how good you are, holding people’s attention is hard. This is especially true when they’ve seen 100 PowerPoint presentations before.

So what can you do keep people interested whilst you’re presenting? Here we’ll be exploring some top tips and tricks for getting and holding the interest of your audience.

The Idea

Your ideas are the most important aspects of the presentation. Cut out the filler and draw your audience’s attention to these facts; if there’s too much information, the most important parts are very likely to be lost in all the noise. Keep things simple, and ensure all your most important points are presented clearly through-out the process.

Rather than cram 3 or 4 important facts into 1 slide, spread it out and include 1 salient fact for every slide you include in your presentation. Dividing the content of your presentation in this way will help your audience retain the information with greater ease. Also make sure you use a font that people will be able to read from far away, especially if you’re presenting to a large audience.

Design

An eye-catching presentation design will also help capture your audience’s attention. In our highly visual consumer culture, our buying choices can often be defined by what design appeals most to our sensibilities; this should also be applied when you are presenting. Consider the audience you’ll be presenting to, and tailor your work to appeal to what you believe their sensibilities will be, from typography to colour.

This could be something that corresponds with a particular brand design, or represents an idea conveyed within your presentation. For example, a slideshow about environmental issues would correspond appropriately with natural colours such as green and blue. These small visual cues may not seem important, but they still be very impactful with audiences to convey your ideas.

If you’re no good at design, you should speak to someone who is. Most of the default design options in PowerPoint are good enough, but if you have any colleagues or friends with digital design experience, you could greatly benefit. As an example, a colleague of mine who worked at a Brighton web development agency helped me put together a design for a BIG presentation, whilst also showing me how to properly add external links.

PowerPoint

It goes without saying that Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the go-to solution for visual presentations. These days, most people instinctively call a slideshow a PowerPoint, showing just how widely the software is used.

‘So why PowerPoint? I thought that we wanted to deliver a memorable presentation, not bore people to death’ is what you may be saying, and I’d understand where you’re coming from, but there’s still plenty of reasons why PowerPoint is so popular:




  • The software is very easy to use, and can put together presentations without much hassle
  • It’s compatible with almost every operating system in existence; no compatibility issues on the big day
  • PowerPoint presentations can host a wide range of media, including sound, images, and video embeds
  • The software usually comes free with any computer running Windows. If you’re a student, you can also get the software a highly discounted educational price


  • Whilst there’s plenty of other slideshow software on the market, using anything other than PowerPoint is, at this point, frankly risky. There’s not a whole lot else that a specialised software will offer beyond what PowerPoint offers, so keep things simple and stick with the grand-daddy of presentation software.


    Public Speaking

    Finally, one of the most important aspects of presenting; the public speaking. Some of us simply aren’t used to speaking in this manner, so naturally we may find it difficult. As much as this is about your skills in spoken language, it also largely stems from your confidence. Your level of confidence will have a huge impact on your presentation; on almost everything from how your ideas are received, to how many people actually listen. If you want to be heard, work on your speech skills.

    In the case of public speaking, practice makes perfect, so gather up your friends, family, and anyone else who will listen and recite your presentation until you’re feeling more confident. If it helps, you can also create yourself a script, whether written or via tablet, so that you don’t end up going off point or waffling about something else entirely; this is especially helpful for people who are waffle-prone like myself.

    This should help build your confidence, and also help you get into the right mindset for your big presentation day. On the day, do some vocal warm-ups and read over your notes so you can start out on a strong-foot. This will help grab your audience’s attention, and show that you are knowledgeable of your subject and worthy to be heard!

    Thanks for Reading

    Whatever it is you’re presenting, just make sure your ideas are ultimately what shines through. Remember that everyone has been in a position where they have to present something, whether they wanted to or not, so never let it get you down.

    Good luck!


    *This is a guest post, content was written by someone else
    *Thank you to the person who wrote this guest post, it will come in handy for my presentations at University!