At a workshop recently I heard someone giving a talk which was really interesting and I took away some valuable points from it. So it got me thinking about what makes a good presentation. Now, I’ve designed a lot of PowerPoint presentations in my time but I’ve delivered very few of them. Like a lot of people, the thought of standing up in front of a group makes me nervous. However, others can stand up for an hour and speak off the cuff about their subject, and make it interesting and memorable. How do they do it? OK, there are a few people who are natural public speakers, but for most of us, it takes a lot of preparation to stand up and speak clearly and concisely about our subject.
So from my experience of both creating and listening to presentations, I’ve put together some tips of what I think can make or break a presentation.
- Rehearse your speech and ideally get someone to listen to you or record yourself.
- Use humour and a personal story to open the presentation but be appropriate.
- Know the message you are trying to get across and stick to the key points.
- Keep the colour scheme simple and ensure the text is readable against the background.
- Have the same slide design throughout the whole presentation.
- Put your company branding and logo on the presentation to make it look professional and help build a relationship with your brand and the audience.
- Keep animations and transitions to a minimum so they don’t confuse and distract the audience.
- Use creative ways of presenting your information eg, pictures, charts, and animations which will grab people’s attention.
- Speak without any preparation or notes unless you’ve done it successfully before.
- Start the presentation without checking that everyone can hear you.
- Don’t wander off the subject, and if you do, ensure the audience knows why and quickly come back to it.
- Use technical language, acronyms or jargon unless it is relevant for your audience.
- Read from a script – it can sound stilted and prevents you from making eye contact with the audience.
- Put everything you want to say on the PowerPoint slide and then just read it out.
- Overload the slide with too much graphics or animation. They should be used to make the message clearer not confuse the audience.
- Use different formatting and colour schemes on each slide.
Perhaps you have other tips to add to the list? However, it’s important to remember that a clearly delivered and well-designed presentation will promote you and your business professionally and effectively to your audience.
Valerie Eaton is the owner of Smart VA Ltd, providers of virtual assistant support to small businesses and self-employed professionals. They specialise in providing a wide range of general administration support, as well as document and presentation design, website updates, blogs/social media, email marketing and event management. Find more information about our services on our website www.smartva.co.uk, and if you want to discover some great tips for small businesses then check out our free guides on the Free Resources page.