Forgetting to prepare can lead to unforeseen consequences during your actual pitch.
Planning is the most crucial part of presentations. It requires careful topic-analysis, in-depth research and proper selection of visuals and content to successfully meet your audience’s expectations.
How Important is Planning Before Your Presentation?
“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” – Harvey MacKay
People who carefully plan avoid failure, but it requires plenty of discipline. The same principle applies to presentations. Before crafting your pitch, you need a roadmap to guide you to your destination.
What’s your topic?
This is the most important part of the preparation process, whether it’s related to business, sales, or otherwise. Without this, you don’t have a solid idea to work from, and you can’t continue with the rest of your deck.
Determine the purpose of your presentation
If it’s difficult to choose ideas to focus on, write down what you want to achieve first to help you move forward and gather more information to support your statement. Do you want to persuade your audience? Do you want to teach them something.
Do your research
Planning starts and ends with research. It’s how you generate ideas: by getting information and building on that existing data with your personal take on things.
You need ample time to find appropriate research materials such as books, newspapers, and reliable websites.
In relation to the previous two points, knowing your specific subject and purpose keeps your research focused. This prevents you from wasting time figuring out what information to look for.
Find the big idea
Having too many ideas can be overwhelming, but focus on determining your core message. This makes driving your key points home way easier. Highlight the important points by making sure you mention them repeatedly.
Draft your presentation ahead of time
An unwieldy PowerPoint is your greatest enemy. Prevent this by controlling it from the start. Draft outlines on paper to construct your ideas’ flow. Condense each slide’s content and incorporate appropriate visual design so you don’t mislead your audience on what your main idea is.
Know what to place in each slide
Don’t let your deck distract the audience from your message. Heavily written statements and cluttered decks can divert people’s attentions. They’ll just read what’s written on each slide and won’t bother to listen to you. Instead, keep a few brief cue cards or notes for yourself that differ from the text on your slides. Remember: your slides are only a guide, not your speech itself.
Practice your pitch
The secret to excellence is that no one starts out perfect. Consistent practice and perseverance are what make up a good presenter
You don’t have to memorize your entire pitch. Just be prepared and knowledgeable enough to accommodate all possible questions that may arise after you’re done speaking. This will make you more comfortable when delivering your message.
Avoid confusing your audience by applying each of these steps when preparing for a pitch. In case you skip any of these tips, you can still go back and accomplish each stage more completely. Begin with careful planning to achieve better results. Put the point in your PowerPoint.
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“3 Ways to Make PowerPoint Presentation Notes Your Ally.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed May 27, 2015.
“Crafting Content: How to Conduct Presentation Research.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed May 27, 2015.
“PowerPoint or PowerPointless: Designing Presentations That Engage.” Informa Insights. July 22, 2013. Accessed May 27, 2015.