Successful Preparation is the Basis for a Successful Presentation

Friday, February 18, 2011
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:12 AM IST



Ellen FinkelsteinEllen Finkelstein is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP and author of several PowerPoint, Flash, and AutoCAD books — in this guest blog post, Ellen explains why you need to prepare for any successful presentation.

When you find out that you need to give a presentation, you need to prepare. Here’s a condensed list of preparation steps:

  1. Complete a planner form: It should include your goal, main points, and conclusion.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for the presentation: Then hone your ideas into 3 main points.
  3. Research your audience: Find out what your audience needs/wants to know. What is their current level of knowledge and interest? What problems are they experiencing?
  4. Figure out how long your talk should be: Let’s say that you’ve been given 30 minutes to present.

    Set up and say hello to everyone=5 minutes.

    Leave 10 minutes for questions and answers.

    After the Q&A, ask for approval, say thank you and pack up=5 minutes.

    That gives you 10 minutes to present!

  5. Get the supporting data you’ll need: It’s important to back up what you say, so do the research!
  6. Write out your talk.
  7. Speak out your talk: Record and time it.
  8. Listen and edit: Ask yourself if the presentation sounds convincing and professional. Did you leave anything important out or put too much in? Will this meet the wants/needs of the audience?
  9. Storyboard the presentation: A storyboard is a bunch of boxes, each representing a slide. Use the Tell ‘n’ ShowSM Method. Just write each new concept or thought as the title of a new slide. Then sketch out a graph, diagram, or photo that will show your point. All-text slides will hinder your audience from understanding and remembering what you say; they aren’t very persuasive either, according to research.
  10. Get approval from your boss, if necessary.
  11. Open PowerPoint and create your slides: I won’t go into detail here about design, but you can get part of this knowledge — slide layout — in the free trial of my Outstanding Presentations Course. View a 1-hour training video on slide layout.
  12. Put the text of your notes in the Notes pane and print out Notes pages to use for practicing. If you need notes to present with, create a condensed version, so you won’t be tempted to read. (boring!!)
  13. Do your 1st practice in front of the computer.
  14. Do your 2nd practice standing up and get feedback from colleagues, if possible: ask your test audience what they understood and remembered.
  15. Do a 3rd practice in the final location with a projector, if possible: This is your dress rehearsal. Practice until you think you’re ready!

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