Here are 14 points to keep in mind to make your presentation be all that it can be.
Creating Your Content
- Keep it simple. Decide on a topic and then three main take-away points or actions that you want your audience to remember. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much.
- Come up with a mix of numbers, facts, and stories. You want to appeal to both the head and the heart. Make sure the stories are compelling – ones that your audience can relate to.
- Use presentation slides, yes, but don’t forget about other visuals that can demonstrate a point. For example, did something get destroyed because someone didn’t take proper safety precautions? If it’s not too big, consider having the destroyed item on display during your safety presentation.
Preparing Your Slides
- Move over bullet points; make room for images and videos. Use high quality photos, diagrams, and graphs whenever possible. Videos are great, too. People remember images more than they do text and bullet points.
- Guarantee back-of-the-room visibility. Your slide content should be easy to see from any place in the room, including the back. As a general rule, avoid font sizes below 24 point. Keep any tables or graphs simple. Don’t overcrowd your slides.
- Guide your audience through using animation. Think arrows, highlights, circles, and other features to draw your audience to specific areas on slides.
Practicing Your Presentation
- Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse again – both on your own and with colleagues. Be sure to do at least one run-through using a projector, not just flipping through the slide view on your computer. This way you can see how the presentation looks in a room, particularly from the back of a room. Ideally, try to do this in the actual room that you’ll be presenting in.
- Don’t try to memorize. Memorizing leads to a presentation sounding forced, phony, or too much like an insincere actor.
- Tweak your content and delivery so your presentation fits the allotted time. You don’t want to come up too short or, worse, go way over.
- Anticipate and prepare for questions from the audience. Consider coming up with a list of possible questions and practice your answers.
Delivering Your Presentation
- Remember slides are not your teleprompter. Don’t simply read your slides. You can create notes for your own use, yes, but your slides should reinforce your message, not be your message.
- Focus on how you talk. Don’t speak too quietly, too loudly, too slowly, or too quickly. All four can sabotage whatever you’re trying to say, no matter how compelling the content is.
- Get your audience involved. Don’t make the presentation into a one-way lecture. Resist the urge to do all the talking. Ask simple questions such as, “Can someone tell me the proper way to handle this (fill-in-the-blank: task, situation, etc.)?”
- Get out from behind the podium, but don’t get too wild and crazy. A statute stance may lead to a bored audience, but don’t move around too much that you come across as an aerobics instructor. Find a balance.