An excellent presentation calls for excellent preparation, but if you’re new to the game or blinded by nerves, it’s tough to pinpoint everything you need to do to be adequately prepared. Lucky for you, that’s what you have us for. We want to take the guesswork out of your presentation prep so you can focus on what’s truly important. As long as you include the following in your preparations, your presentation will be one to remember.
Tap Into Your Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you have it for your topic, your audience will have it too. Before you do anything else, tap into why, exactly, you’re passionate about your topic. What is it that excites you about it? Why do you find it so important? What will it do for others? Having an emotional understanding of the answers to these questions will give you the enthusiasm needed for your audience to make an emotional connection.
Know Your Audience
This advice has withstood the test of time for good reason: it works. The aim of most presentations is to persuade, compel, and/or convert the audience in some way, but that’s pretty tough to do if you don’t know who you’re talking to. Take time to get to know your audience’s demographics. Find out their interests and their likely reasons for attending your talk so that you can target your presentation to their desires and speak to what they want to know.
Develop an Outline
If you’re excited about a topic, it’s easy to gush about it at the expense of structure and flow. But structure and flow are what your audience needs to understand your main message. Therefore, it’s incredibly helpful to develop an outline of what you want to cover so you can be sure your message is crystal clear rather than confusing and convoluted. This will also ensure you’re covering everything you need to while eliminating any fluff that detracts from your message.
Write Your Message in One Sentence
Once you craft an outline, you then want to make sure you can say your main message using only one sentence. One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is saying too much about too many things, and losing their overarching message in the process. If you’re able to distill your presentation to one single sentence, then chances are it’s focused and on target. But if you can’t do that, then you need to do some editing to ensure you’re not trying to cover too much.
Rehearse Your Delivery
According to research, an effective presentation is 38% your voice, 55% non-verbal communication, and just 7% your content. In other words, your delivery matters even more than the content you’re delivering, so you need to rehearse it. When rehearsing, pay attention to places where you can pause for suspense, where you can use tone and inflections for emphasis, and how often you’re leaning on filler words like “uh” and “y’know.” We can guarantee that the more you rehearse, the better your presentation will be.
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