Many a career has been built on one good presentation. Presentations give you an opportunity to shine. Unfortunately many people are afraid of standing before an audience and presenting. Their fear stops them from taking advantage of the opportunities presentations afford.
Don’t let this happen to you. Presenting is like any other process. It can be broken down into a series of manageable steps. Master the following steps and you’ll become a great presenter.
Determine your message. Begin by determining what you have to say. Get crystal clear on the message you have for the audience.
Analyze your audience. Why are they there? How much do they know about your topic? Are they familiar with any jargon you might use? What is there general attitude towards you and the information you will be communicating?
Organize your information for impact. I always start at the end. I write my closing first. I use this closing to help me choose the information I am going to include in my talk. I ask myself, “Does this information add to my main point?” If the answer yes, I leave it in. If the answer is no, I take it out. Then I write my opening. I design my opening statements to do two things – get people’s attention, and then tell that what I will be telling them in my talk. Once the closing and opening are written, I simply fill in the content.
Create supporting visuals. Once I’ve decided what I want to say, and how I want to say it, I develop my visuals. Your visuals should support your presentation – not drive it. There is nothing more boring that watching and listening to someone read his or her slides.
Practice out loud. This is the most important point of all. As an early mentor told me, “Bud, preparation makes up for a lack of talent.” It also enhances your natural talent. Never skip this step. If you do, you will be likely to do a poor talk. And while a poor presentation generally is not a career killer, it is a missed opportunity.