Don’t Get Blinded by the Spotlight: How to Make the Perfect Presentation
Making a great presentation is no easy task. Every event differs significantly, with audience expectations, tone, venue and many other factors that can change or impact each presentation. Even getting on the stage in front of people is a challenge. In fact, public speaking ranks as the biggest fear for most people.
But there’s help available. Here are some tips to make your next presentation your most memorable one.
Match the Event
Before developing your presentation, think about the overall messages or themes of the event. The closer your presentation aligns with the overall event, the more impact it will have on the audience. You’ll also want to consider where your presentation slots in timewise. Create your approach and presentation style to match the needs of the audience, incorporating more upbeat and engaging elements if your presentation falls during a lower energy period, such as after lunch.
To assist with building a presentation that matches the event, ask the organizers to send you their goals for the event and some of the values. Get to know your audience, either by asking the event organizers for more information on them or searching social media for the inside scoop. The better your presentation complements the event overall, the more your audience will get out of it.
Simple and Short
Once you have your time slot and know the length of time you have, think about how best to fill that space. If you have the material to fill up the majority of the time, feel free to do so, but don’t stretch out your presentation with filler or watered-down ideas. Start with an ice breaker of sorts, building some trust and comfort in your audience. After that, immediately delve into the main ideas of your presentation, letting people know what’s to come and constantly reminding them of when you check off each point. Save some time at the end to speak more openly with your audience and allow them to ask questions. Some of the best material can come from these free-flowing conversations.
Find Your Funny Bone
You don’t need to include a stand-up routine, but humor can really add to your presentation. It can loosen up a room and liven up a crowd. Because jokes are so subjective, you might want to avoid them altogether, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, you may consider incorporating wordplay, puns, or exaggeration. When it comes to writing in humor in your presentation, work it in during the rewrite. The first pass should be purely focused on the core concepts. Once those ideas are developed fully, use humor for transitional elements or to help break up more serious sections.
Tell a Story
Making a presentation and speech that has an impact involves not speaking at your audience. You want to avoid simply stating facts and throwing information at people with no cohesion. This can be a challenge because it requires the presenter to think about how each of the components work with each other. Think about how they serve the overall goal of the presentation. To make this easier, try thinking of the speech as a story. Develop a beginning, middle, and end like your favorite story. Audiences better understand things with a straightforward narrative structure, so this should also help make your speech memorable.
Engage the Audience
When your audience is engaged, they listen better and remember more. You can engage them in many different ways, but you can improve your chances of your presentation having a lasting impact by incorporating elements that get the audience talking or performing an action. Anything that breaks the monotony of listening can have an engaging effect. Incorporate a Q&A to have attendees voice their own thoughts. Include an exercise that gets them up and moving around or speaking to their neighbors. Even getting the audience to laugh or change their eye line can help keep them awake and aware.
One of the best ways to keep your audience engaged is to incorporate technology, particularly when it’s used in creative ways. Try developing your presentation with various technological components built-in, such as a demo or a video. You might also incorporate an app or a live stream that allows attendees, both in-person and online, to participate in the presentation in more ways than simply listening. You might consider allowing the audience to ask questions or discuss the presentation as it is ongoing.
For obvious reasons, the way you finish your presentation is one of the most important components. This will be one of the things audience members remember most and it can make or break the presentation. The key to a good finish is how it brings everything together. Keep it on target and in line with the event’s goals and values. Bring back important elements from earlier in the speech and make sure attendees are left with a powerful impression. This might be a good time to connect the presentation to another speaker or the event overall.