We all know that feeling. You have just been asked to present at the next all staff meeting. Excitement about the opportunity quickly turns to fear as you start wondering Where do I even begin? If you’re anything like me, your process may have started by going to Google and typing in “how to create a presentation for dummies.” That may even be how you landed here.
With over a decade of experience, the team at Ethos3 has seen it all when it comes to presentations.
It is in that experience that we have found that these 6 easy-to-use steps come through every time, helping presenters all over the world to deliver stand out presentations that will leave your audience wanting more.
Step 1: Develop your content.
In order to deliver a stand out presentation, you must have stand out content. This step, though it may seem ridiculous to say out loud, is often the most overlooked step in the process. The reality is that if you are being asked to present, someone believes you are an expert on a particular subject. Often times, because we have a large amount of knowledge of our content, we end up neglecting the development of it. We figure that our head knowledge can carry us through, and we skip right to the outline and design.
Don’t make this mistake. Take the time to develop your content – sit in your content, and ask yourself how can I become more of an expert? When doing this, you will often discover there are areas in which you can still learn that will enable to you to be ready for anything on presentation day.
Step 2: Outline your presentation.
For me, this step is the most fun of my entire process, because this is the creative portion of my preparation. Your outline is a chance for you to get all your ideas on paper. Here, you begin to put a skeleton to your content and create the “arc of the story” within your presentation.
The team at Ethos3 recommends that for this portion, you close the computer and go analog. Get some paper and a pencil, and start to work through the flow of your presentation. We also encourage presenters to embrace the 10-minute rule by only spending 10 minutes on each section as you outline your presentation. This helps you to keep ideas flowing and not get bogged down in the details of each point. Then, after you’ve completed the outline, you can go back through and erase and tweak where necessary.
Step 3: Manuscript your presentation.
This is the part of the process where you will really begin to get in the weeds of your content. Take your outline and start to put meat on it. Consider writing out word for word what you will say. It’s important to note that manuscripting doesn’t mean you will necessarily memorize a script word-for-word – although some people do. Instead, writing out a manuscript for your presentation forces you to think through every word, every transition, and every story you will deliver. You might change up some of the language during the presentation, but you will be vastly more prepared if you anticipate the verbiage ahead of time.
This is a tedious portion of the presentation preparation, but it is vital. As you work through your manuscript, don’t write as if you are writing a paper. Instead, write like you talk. Try not to get bogged down in grammar or punctuation as this will not be seen by anyone other than you. Instead, allow your thoughts to flow freely using the structure of the outline you created in Step 2.
Step 4: Design your deck.
If this step gives you anxiety just thinking about it, stop what you’re doing and reach out to the Ethos3 team. We would love to take this stress off your plate and design your next presentation for you!
However, if you are interested in stepping out on your own, there are a couple of things you should think about when it comes to designing your next presentation deck. To start out, you have to decide what platform you will use. PowerPoint is the typical choice, but there are many new presentation programs on the market. Select the one that serves you, your mission, and your audience best. Once you have selected a program, it is time to actually start laying out your slides.
The days of PowerPoints full of bullets are quickly disappearing. Instead, people are looking for highlighted content, bold imagery, and engaging design. Don’t fall into the fatal flaw of placing all of your content on the screen. Instead, use your content to support what you are saying and enhance your message rather than distract from it.
Step 5: Practice.
I cannot say enough about how important this step is. Recently, we wrote about the importance of practice and how practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes permanent. That means that if you want to take your next presentation to another level, you have to take the time to do the hard work and practice your presentation not just once but repeatedly.
Make sure to use this time to recognize and eliminate distractions so that you will be distraction free when it’s time to stand in front of an audience. It is also important that you practice the right way. Don’t think that something will change once you are in front of an audience, because it won’t. It may feel awkward, but just do it.
Step 6: Stand and deliver.
Congratulations! You made it to presentation day! You have done the hard work of preparing, and now it is time to stand in front of your audience and show them what you’ve got. Be sure to arrive early to ensure you are ready to go before the start time. Come dressed to impress, too. That doesn’t necessarily mean dress in your nicest suit, but definitely do some homework and know your audience, then dress to engage them. Finally, deliver your presentation confidently; trust yourself – if you have done all that you can to prepare, then lean on that when it comes time to deliver.
Presentations can be scary. Stage fright is a very real thing, but if you put into practice these 6 steps, you will have everything you need to not just create but also deliver a standout presentation.
If you want more information about improving your presentation skills check out PresentationMentor.com.
Still need more help with your presentation?We've got the solutions. Talk to Us