How to Give a More Effective Presentation

By: Annalaura Brown

Do you get nervous when someone asks you to give a presentation or when you feel like you need or have to give one? The following are some ideas which have worked for me to help reduce the stress and to make my presentations much more effective.

1.Have a plan for your presentation. This may sound like the obvious, but it is an absolutely necessary and often overlooked step. Now exactly what you are going to cover and when, how you are going to present your materials, as well as any plans for handouts, or visual aids. Find out who your audience is. If you will be speaking primarily in front of a group of strangers, then contact the person in charge of the event and ask them some questions about your audience. Some of the key questions to ask include: are they primarily men or women? Conservative or liberal? Business Owners or entrepreneurs, or corporate or factory workers? What is the average income and education level of the attendees? Are there any other special considerations you should take into account?

2.Memorize as much of your presentation as possible but don't rely exclusively on your memory. Prepare 3×5 cards or another mnemonic device to help you out.

3.Tell the audience at the beginning of your presentation exactly what you plan to cover and then conclude with a summary of what you covered. This will help your audience to follow along and to remember what you said.

4.Make eye contact with your audience during the presentation. Glance at your screen or your notes from time to time but make sure to keep your eyes forward as much of the time as possible.

5.Prepare a handout with a summary and bullet points of your presentation if at all possible. Make the handout memorable. Use some color and pictures. No one likes a dull black and white handout.

6.Have a plan to include the audience. Ask them questions, take a survey or poll.

7.Use humor, appropriate jokes capture people's attention and will make them remember you and your presentation long after it is over. The key to making this work however, is to make absolutely certain that your joke fits in with the audience, and is not off color and uses appropriate language.

8.Know why you are giving the presentation. This should be obvious, but how many times have you listened to a presentation only to at the end still not have a clear picture of why the presentation was necessary in the first place.

9.Take some time to relax and breathe before you begin speaking. Get a good night's rest the night before and think positively about your presentation.

10.Enjoy and Have Fun!!!

Communications
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