26 Mar 2021

How to Plan and Execute a Great Presentation Whether you’re going to execute your first or fifty-first presentation in person or online, we’ve got some advice for you to help you make your presentation great. We touch on everything from disposition and mental skills training to tips and tricks for avoiding the most common pitfalls when creating slideshows. You’ve got this – breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth! Good luck! 17 Tips to Take the Edge off & Succeed with Your Presentation Are you one of the lucky few who enjoy public speaking, or do you start sweating at the thought of making an announcement in front of your colleagues? No matter which of these applies to you, here are some tricks of the trade to help you be fully present, reach your audience, make your points clear, and leave everyone stunned. 1. Preparation is Key When you begin planning your presentation, it may be a good idea to ask yourself the following questions: ● Who is my audience? ● How big is my audience? ● What do they know about the subject? Take your answers to these questions into account when you create your presentation. Also, take a moment to think of the kinds of questions your audience might have for you. Include your answers in the presentation. 2. Set a Goal Hopefully, there’s something you’d like to achieve by executing your presentation. Think about how your speech or your lecture may bring you closer to that goal. Consider your audience. What message do you want to leave in the minds of your listeners? What emotional response do you wish to elicit? 3. How Much Time Do You Have? Do you have five minutes or five hours at your disposal? One minute more or less can make a big difference and you need to plan accordingly. What do you want to convey? Ask yourself if it can be expressed in a more concise and accessible way. An extended presentation may cause you to lose your audience’s attention, rendering your hard work useless. 4. Make Your Content Relevant and Engaging Is there something you’ve included which you think might be superfluous? Don’t think twice; delete it! Unnecessary information shifts your audience’s focus away from the important stuff and they may miss the main message. The purpose of your presentation must remain clear throughout. Include a personal reflection or anecdote related to the subject. This engages your audience and increases the level of your perceived reliability. Also, it ups your audience’s levels of oxytocin — a happy hormone! 5. Involve Humour Shake off the nerves with a laugh. When you involve humour in your presentation, you and your audience release endorphins. This engages your audience and makes it easier for them to like you. 6. Effective Storytelling Techniques Storytelling is an effective tool to employ in your presentation. As you go along, provide bits and pieces of information and leave your audience with cliffhangers to keep them on their toes. Save the big reveal for the end! This creates suspense, gives your audience an incentive to stay focused, and increases their dopamine levels. 7. Practise, Adjust, and Practise Again Practise to the point of not having to rely on your notes. The more freely you’re able to speak, the better your presentation will be. Run through it several times to make sure everything works — your content and the tech. If possible, do a test run in front of a friend or a colleague. Ask them for feedback and if they can think of ways to improve your presentation. Another trick is to film yourself. 8. Be Clear and Be Present Speak slowly and clearly. Make sure your audience is alert and that they’re attentive to the things that you’re saying. Pause every now and again, both for your sake and for the sake of your listeners. Speak for a maximum of 45 minutes, and if your presentation happens to be longer, make sure there’s a break at the 45-minute mark. 9. Be Proud of Your Work and Believe in Yourself Be proud of the work you’ve put in and believe in your abilities. When you radiate confidence, dedication, and enthusiasm, it’s contagious! Your audience can feel it and they perceive you and your claims as more reliable. Smile and be present. Remember that you have something important to say and that your audience matters. 10. If You Get Nervous, Breathe! If you get nervous in the beginning of your presentation, take a deep breath and let your audience know. This makes it easier to take the edge off. Remember that being nervous is human. Pausing every now and then throughout the presentation to take deep breaths is encouraged. It creates natural breaks in an otherwise constant flow of information. 11. Silence - An Effective Tool Strategic pauses every now and then are important for the overall reception of your presentation. It allows your audience a moment’s silence to take in everything that is being said, reflect, and formulate thoughts and questions. When you plan your presentation, be sure to include several strategic pauses. 12. Choose Your Words and Your Voice Wisely Your voice may determine the fate of your presentation. It can be used to uplift and enliven your speech. Be emotive when you speak. Raise your volume when you’re saying something that requires special attention and when you’re talking about something particularly exciting. Vary your tempo, use repetitions, and emphasize essential terms. Other effective devices include metaphors and anaphoras. Metaphors are a kind of illustrative comparison. For example, someone may refer to their child as ‘the light of their life’. Anaphoras are also a great device to make your presentation more accessible. To create an anaphora, begin several sentences in the same fashion. For example, rather than saying, ‘communication, understanding, and collaboration are essential’, try: ‘It is essential to communicate. It is essential to understand. It is essential to collaborate.’ 13. Body Language Your body language is at least as important as your voice. It can either make or break a presentation. To emphasize your statements and come across as more authentic, pair your statements with the appropriate body language. Believe what you’re saying. Feel what you’re saying. When your choice of words, your voice, your facial expressions, and your body language are all in sync, you will radiate authenticity. Ask someone to film you while you practise your presentation. 14. Your Gaze Show your audience respect by looking at them as much as possible. Eye contact with your audience increases your perceived level of honesty. 15. Q&A Make time for a Q&A and come prepared. Let friends and family members challenge you with tricky questions and work on trying to answer them on the spot. Remember, if you are asked questions which you cannot answer, that’s OK! Respond by saying that you will get back to the inquirer as soon as you have an answer. Also, asking your audience questions is often appreciated. Let them be the stars of the show for a change. 16. Feedback After completing your presentation, it may be a good idea to ask for feedback. Ask a colleague to provide you with some constructive criticism after you’ve wrapped up. Did it go smoothly? Is there room for improvement? Make a note of their comments. 17. Following Up How can you extend the outreach of your presentation? Will you hand out copies of your lecture on the spot or perhaps email your material to your audience the day after? Should you consider making a few follow-up calls? No matter what your answers are to these questions, make sure you’ve asked them and that you have a plan for following up. How do you feel after reading through these tips? Are you still lost, or are you determined to reach your goal? Keep reading! Mental Skills Training Helps You Become a Better Speaker The way you mentally prepare for a presentation has an immense impact on your own well-being as well as how your presentation is perceived and received by your audience. In other words, mental skills training isn’t just a tool for nervous speakers; it’s beneficial for everyone. You’ve probably heard of professional athletes practicing mental skills training by using techniques such as visualisation before an important match or competition. This technique is astonishingly effective in a number of situations. You can use it to deal with inner and outer stress factors, for your overall well-being, your concentration, your memory, and for different kinds of performances. You can’t evade the fact that your presentation largely consists of how you: ● say what you say ● gesticulate and use your body language ● interact with your audience ● move in and around the stage or space. The attitude and emotional state you bring to the table are of vital importance. The closest thing to being able to choose a positive attitude and a positive emotional state is doing mental skills training. As the Event Inches Closer - Relaxation, Concentration & Visualisation Find a time and place to turn your attention inward undisturbed. The first step to using mental skills training for preparation is to relax and to concentrate. When you have relieved yourself of any tension, you can open up to new approaches. The next step is visualisation. Imagine executing the presentation. Imagine the audience and their questions, and imagine yourself answering them. When you visualise a successful performance, you create a mental pathway which you can follow in order to achieve your goal. Just Before Showtime - Mental Tricks It’s important to wind down, find inner peace, and get focused before facing your audience. Did you do mental skills training the previous day or earlier in the week in the form of relaxed concentration and visualisation? Great! Here are a few tricks to return to that state of mind. Sometimes, schedules can be unyielding and the time and space to feel grounded and prepare may be scarce. Here are some micro-tips big enough to make a world of difference and small enough to squeeze into the moments before the floor is yours. ● Take a walk. ● Listen to a good song. ● Drink a glass of water. ● Smile at yourself in the mirror. ● Repeat a thought or question out loud or to yourself. ● Stretch and take a few deep breaths. Give these a go and make a note of which ones work for you! Slideshow presentations - Tips & Tricks A slideshow can be an excellent tool in a presentation, aiding both your structure and the audience’s understanding. However, the expression ‘death by PowerPoint’ reminds us that there are a number of pitfalls. The most common mistake is filling your presentation with excessive amounts of information. Remember that a slideshow is not meant to display all information. It’s not a script or an essay. It’s a tool to help you stay on topic and not lose track of time, as well as a tool for the audience to grasp and remember important information. Tips for Crafting the Ultimate Slideshow Presentation ● Keep your slideshow simple. The important thing is the message you’re trying to convey, not how flashy your slides are. Use the company template. If there isn’t one, choose a simple one. ● Make sure there’s a balance between text and images. Using both on the same slide is encouraged. ● Use relevant images. ● Keep to a maximum of 6 bullets per slide. ● Avoid making diagrams too detailed or too complicated. ● Avoid using a light background. This takes the focus away from you and may be strenuous for your audience ● Use a dark background, such as black. This allows your eyes and your audience’s eyes to relax. How to Execute a Professional Online Lecture Fun & Creative Presentations Do you want to go the extra mile and connect to your audience? Are you willing to put yourself out there and make your presentation equal parts entertaining and memorable? Wonderful! Here are a few reading tips for those of you who are trying to work out the secrets behind fun and creative presentations.

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