P Presenting Information
Guest Post: Christina Appleworth
Presenting information can be difficult, particularly if you have to communicate technical data or complex ideas in a short time frame.
Going overboard with the amount of information presented can result in problems with audiences losing interest or being unable to digest the data being presented.
The best presentations will be ones that manage to make any subject accessible and engaging, as well as being able to work around the specifics of a presentation format. When putting together a presentation, you should think about the following tips:
1 – Explain Your Key Points and Structure
A good presentation should begin by outlining a few key points, as well as how you will be structuring the presentation. The conclusion should then briefly recap and reassert your main points, in effect explaining what you have just spoken about. It may seem like an obvious approach, but inserting this structure will help to orient your audience.
2 – Rehearse
Significant amounts of rehearsal time will allow you to work through anything that doesn’t feel right for the presentation. Practicing a presentation out loud will also make you realise what information can be cut if you need to save time for a presentation.
3 – Use Your Notes in the Right Way
Avoid simply reading from your notes, and not looking at your audience. There’s no need to memorise a presentation, unless it is something that you will be giving multiple times and can actually time to perfection.
4 – Make Eye Contact
A simple but effective way to keep an audiences’ attention is to make eye contact with a few people in the audience for a limited amount of time. Don’t stare, but make sure that you aren’t just looking into space.
5 – Focus on Key Points Rather than Displays
Relying too much on a Powerpoint will mean that you can lose an audience’s attention, especially when it comes to the key points of your talk. A display should only be a complement, rather than the main tool you use in the presentation.
6 – Persuade, Rather Than Dictate
A good presentation should be well argued, and should try to create a narrative, or a problem and solution model, for an audience. Simply telling them information can be redundant, so try to leave open room for questions at the end of the presentation.
7 – Leave Room for Questions and Answers
You’ll want to develop any points that weren’t covered in depth within the presentation, so be prepared to field questions at the end. Doing so will mean having a strong grasp on your subject, as well as being able to react to any criticism or problematic questions.
8 – Move and Gesture
Positive body language can help to keep an audience engaged during a presentation. Try to stand if possible, and gesture to make key points. When combined with eye contact, and the right tone of voice, you will be performing, rather than simply presenting.
9 – Don’t Overload Audiences
It can be difficult not to hit an audience with statistics or graphs during a technical presentation. However, try to keep these aids to a minimum unless absolutely necessary. Presenting a lot of text on a Powerpoint will also be distracting.
10 – Provide the Right Context
Never assume that an audience will know the broader area that you will be talking about. Provide a general introduction that sets out the area that you are discussing, and try to avoid using jargon that an audience may not be immediately familiar with.
Christina Appleworth is an intern for Speak First. Inspire confidence and create impact via our presentation skills training courses available throughout the UK.
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