Ellen 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:
- Complete a planner form: It should include your goal, main points, and conclusion.
- Brainstorm ideas for the presentation: Then hone your ideas into 3 main points.
- 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?
- 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!
- Get the supporting data you’ll need: It’s important to back up what you say, so do the research!
- Write out your talk.
- Speak out your talk: Record and time it.
- 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?
- 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.
- Get approval from your boss, if necessary.
- 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.
- 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!!)
- Do your 1st practice in front of the computer.
- Do your 2nd practice standing up and get feedback from colleagues, if possible: ask your test audience what they understood and remembered.
- 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!