Pointers for presentation perfection
For me, I always think the perfect presentation is easy – you just have to have something to say and believe that people have come to hear you say it. They’ve not come to read slides whilst you talk – in fact you can’t read and listen at the same time. It almost really is that simple. Know your subject and you should be able to deliver it completely without the need for slides. Visual aids should only be there to help you tell a story, a visual journey that stands out and remains in the mind.
First you need to define your objective. What do you want your audience to do or know as a result of your presentation? Try to make this as concise as possible – almost a mission statement for your presentation. Anything you decide to say or show should serve this objective.
Know your audience and think about what they already know about your subject. How deep do you need to go? For example, can you still tell them what you want to tell them without technical speak or will they expect that? Are they formal or informal?
It is also important to be familiar with the way you think and talk. Your audience want to hear you so let yourself come through. You can craft your own narrative, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Try to set up your subject, introduce pain points or villains, conflict and resolution all work well in stories and equally will work well in your presentation. Stories are easier to remember than facts or numbers.
And remember, not every paragraph needs a slide. Go through your narrative and decide what is a non-negotiable “I have to show this” and what are “nice to haves”. Scribble things at this stage on post –it notes or scraps of paper and match the flow of what your audience will see against your narrative. From this, you can edit down not only the number of slides, but the information in those slides – less is often more.
Finally - Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. Be confident with what you’re saying and your slide content. Ensure you know how your narrative flows and how that matches your on screen assets. Rehearsal allows you to come through and for a professional presentation.