Preparation is the key to a great presentation. Being prepared wouldn’t just help you deliver your message in exactly the way that you planned it.
This can also boost your confidence as you stand in front of a live audience. To help you out, you may want to follow these three basic preparation techniques for a successful presentation:
Consider Your Audience
As you prepare your material, don’t forget to take your prospective audience into account. According to software expert, Wendy Russell, tailoring your presentation to your audience can make it easy for you to build rapport with them. Apart from the age, gender, and professional background, here are the things that you should consider:
- The schedule of the presentation – Will you be presenting during work hours or their free time?
- Their familiarity with your topic – Do they know anything about your subject matter or is this the first time they are hearing about it?
- Your general purpose and tone – Are you going to educate, inform, or inspire? Would it be alright to use humor or will they find it inappropriate?
Thinking about these things can also help you write your speech better.
Memorize and Time Your Speech
Reading from your notes the whole time will make you sound boring and insincere. Use your notes (and to some extent, the slides) to guide you, but don’t rely on them as a crutch.
When you know your speech by heart, you will be able to exude confidence and leave a better impression. It also opens up an opportunity for you to ad lib and create a more spontaneous and relaxed atmosphere.
It helps to know how long you have to present. Remember that not all people can maintain concentration in a meeting that takes too long to finish.
Apart from making it interesting, keep your presentation concise and structured. Keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki recommends that speakers present for only 20 minutes and use 10 slides at the most. If you are able to wrap up your speech with still a few minutes to spare, use it for a quick Q and A.
Get the Feel of the Place
Try gathering as much information as possible about the place where you’re going to make your presentation. If time permits, arrange to see the place before the actual event.
This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Visualizing the place can help subdue any anxieties or edginess that you’ll feel.
This also provides you with the opportunity to practice your speech and test the room’s acoustics. While you’re at it, you may also want to check some technical details such as the availability of microphones, the quality of the projector, etc.
These are just some of the preparation techniques that you can do to ensure a successful presentation. Whatever you do, just keep in mind that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.