A good presentation is like a good dish. It doesn’t have just one ingredient and you have to know how to combine the ingredients and how much of them to put in to get the best result. Here are some tips to achieve it.
These days, it’s not enough to simply have a great idea, you also have to get it across to your audience if you want the idea to flourish. Otherwise, no matter how good your project is, it won’t go ahead if you don’t know how to explain it properly.
So, knowing how to communicate is almost as important as doing your job well. Doing something well but not knowing how to convey it to others means that it will often fall on deaf ears. This is why giving a good presentation is essential to engage your audience or those who will be deciding if you’re doing it well or not.
Less is More
This mantra is repeated in many professional fields. In Design, for example, simplicity has been the aim for quite some years in the making of furniture, objects and buildings.
The same applies with a good presentation. Try to synthesise what you want to explain. Those who have come to hear you don’t need to know all the details. They’ll look them up afterwards if they’re interested. Grab their attention with the most important points, keep to the point.
Just as you shouldn’t swamp your audience with hundreds of ideas and arguments, the same applies to the resources you use for your presentation. There’s a middle ground between giving your presentation with nothing in your hands and providing slides and videos in bulk.
Do you have to show a video? Go on, but make it short. How many slides do you need to get your idea across? Ten is better than twenty, to give you an example.
One Idea in Each Slide
We really must stress the importance of synthesis. Don’t give an excessively long speech, don’t swamp your audience with too many graphic resources, and, of course, don’t turn your slides into hieroglyphics.
If your speech should be direct and clear, the same goes for the slides. Each one should include an idea, and be accompanied by as little content as possible, whether it be graphic or textual.
If you need to develop that idea, you can make use of the resources offered by PowerPoint or the program you’re using: show a sentence or idea with each click, not all the information in one go. That way, you’ll avoid your audience getting lost or jumping the gun about the development of your argument, losing their attention because of a slide.
Reading your speech or reeling it off parrot-fashion is not useful. In the first case, because your audience also knows how to read, so it would be better for you to give them a copy and let them read it for themselves. With regard to reeling it off, it involves a lot of time memorizing it and you’re putting yourself at risk of losing the thread or making a mistake at any moment.
In a good presentation, your speech comes naturally, you develop your ideas and arguments without problems because it’s something you know well and have been working on. This way, you will transmit trust to your audience and you will sell you project better. What’s more, you won’t have that pressure that being worried about making a mistake causes.
It’s your choice how to start the presentation, what you’re going to talk about and when, how to organise your ideas and the concepts you’re going to explain. The same thing applies with the presentation and the slides, so make sure there’s coherence between what you’re explaining and the order in which you do it with the presentation. Don’t interrupt yourself or change slides in a disorderly way because you’ve improvised and it hasn’t worked.
Play with the Rhythm
What you say is just as important as how you say it. Silences, pauses and your tone of voice are a vital complement for giving a good presentation, to catch the attention of your audience or to prevent it from dropping.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering that you should keep a balance between a speech that’s too slow or too fast. You must give your audience time to take in what you’re saying but, at the same time, make sure you don’t lose their attention because the rhythm is too slow.
Questions at the End
An interactive presentation can seem attractive, but it’s not very practical. Sometimes it’s best to go old-school, and in this case it’s best to give the presentation from start to end, and leave the questions until the end.
First of all, to avoid constant interruptions. And secondly, so that a question doesn’t touch on a subject you wanted to talk about later on, leaving your presentation order messed up by an innocent but ill-timed question.