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What is the best way to prepare a presentation?

Objective:

The first task of a presentation maker is to define the purposes and answer to these simple questions:

“Why am I going to make a presentation?”

“What is the topic?”

“Who is the audience?”

“Where can I do this presentation?”

It’s useful to write down the reasons why you have been asked to do a presentation so you can use this as a constant reminder while you prepare it.

Subject:

The subject is crucial.

– Know your subject properly, then you can avoid content mistakes.

– Come up with a theme which is relevant to you and which is pertinent to discuss.

– List the key concepts to make the discussion more interesting and exciting.

– Start to think about ways of illustrating the key points.

– Up to one slide per minute, four key points in a 45 minutes presentation.

Speaking time:

You need to find out how long you have to talk, don’t forget to include time for questions.

– Find out if there are other speakers and where you are placed in the running order.

– Beware of over-running.

– Make a well-structured and interesting presentation (up to 45 minutes) in order to keep your audience’s attention.

Time:

– The best moment to do a presentation is in the morning when people are alert.

However, late morning may not be a good time as people start feeling hungry and lose focus.

– Early afternoon is not an ideal time to make a presentation since after lunch people tend to feel sleepy and lethargic.

– Mid afternoon is a good time, whereas at the end of the afternoon people may start to worry about getting home, traffic… etc.

Structure of presentation

Introduction:

The introduction should give a preview of what you are going to say and should attract the listeners’ interest with a statement of purpose.

– You need a catchy introduction to convince audience that you will not waste their time with a boring and useless speech.

– Be organized.

– You need to know who they are according to their age or gender.

– Introduce the context and the main issue.

– State purposes, scope and main message.

Main Body:

– Make a storyboard for the purpose of pre-visualizing, animation or interactive media sequence.

– Break up with each section making a key point to sum up the entire speech. Eight key words are enough for a 45 minutes presentation.

– Present incrementally, concisely and in a logical order.

– Illustrate with clear examples and visual aids to maintain interest and assist the comprehension in your presentation.

Closing:

The closing should repeat the main points but this time by using different words.

This is also the time to ask the audience for their questions.

– Must have a clear end to talk.

– Brief and simple summary of many points.

– Highlight the main message.

– Put in context the “big picture”.

Visual Aids

Slides:

Illustrate with images and animations to explain difficult points and generate interest.

– Header or headline for main points as single words and short phrases.

They have a lot of advantages: orienting the audience, highlighting details.

– Body

Keep it simple and don’t overload it with bullet points or details.

Practice and Delivery:

There are different ways to deliver your speech.

– By memorizing the speech, which allows eye contact.

– By reading the text, which ensures precision.

– Based on the slides, which ensures organization, allows eye contact and improvisation.

Besides, keep the audience informed about what you are doing and why and summarize the different points that you’d like them to keep in mind.

Dealing with questions:

The main rule of this session is to be respectful towards your audience and answer their questions honestly.

– Don’t compromise yourself and maintain your point of view without losing your temper.

Listen carefully to the question and repeat it to ensure that everyone in the audience has heard.

If you don’t know the answer, “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer and “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and I let you know” is even more acceptable.  

– Relax and keep in mind you’re not expected to know everything.

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