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Presentation Tips and Considerations for Specific Contexts

The particulars of your presentation will depend on different things. Among those factors is the context of your presentation.

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Are you presenting at a big industry event? Or are you discussing tasks with colleagues in a meeting? Whatever the case, different presentation tips and considerations apply for different occasions.

Seminars and conventions

These are often held in large venues like auditoriums. Usually, you’ll be presenting from a stage with a huge projector screen looming behind you.

For these occasions, the most important thing you have to think about is how well the audience can see your slides. This won’t be a problem for people sitting in the front row, but you’ll need to make sure that the experience remains the same for those seated in the back.

To avoid any issues with visibility, here are a few presentation tips to consider:

  • Learn what you can about the venue beforehand – Ask the organizers about the particulars of the venue where you’ll be presenting. Estimate the stage size, and prepare for any restrictions.
  • Optimize your presentation for the equipment You should also check the equipment you’ll be using, especially the projector and the screen. Familiarizing yourself with the type of projector can also help you diagnose some PowerPoint display issues.
  • Practice blocking and how you’ll move around the stage – Obviously, your presentation is more than your PowerPoint slides. As the presenter, the audience will also have to see you properly. Make sure you practice how you’ll move around the stage. Own as much of the space as you can.


Workshops allow for more interaction between the audience and speaker. Because you’re expected to instruct the audience about a certain subject matter, the venue is optimized to make sure that there’s plenty of opportunity for face to face conversations.

Unlike seminars and conventions, the obstacle you have to overcome is making sure the audience can easily follow the structure of your presentation.

Here are some important presentation tips to remember when preparing for workshops:

  • Make sure you can easily navigate through your presentation – A workshop involves two-way communication. Someone in your audience might start asking questions that you expect to cover in a later slide. When this happens, it helps if your deck utilizes hyperlinks for easy navigation.
  • Distribute presentation handouts – A quick way to make sure the audience follows what you’re saying is by creating handouts. Distribute it at the beginning of your presentation and encourage them to add their own notes along the margins.
  • Prepare to improvise – Lastly, keep in mind that because of its interactive quality, you can’t always stick to the script you planned. Always be flexible and don’t be afraid to follow the curve balls that the audience throws at you.

Executive or board presentations

When you’re presenting to executives or board members, keep in mind that the stakes are unbelievably high. In more formal business settings, the outcome of your presentation affects what comes next for your career. For instances like this, you need to value brevity and clarity above anything else.

Keep your delivery well-polished by following these presentation tips:

  • Focus on your core message: Executives and board members aren’t interested in long and winding discussions. Get straight to the point and keep your focus on the core message.
  • Back up your points with concise data: For formal business presentations, fancy rhetoric isn’t enough to win your audience over. You also need to make sure that your points are backed up by evidence. Present your data in a concise manner using eye-catching visuals.
  • Take the time to rehearse: It’s totally normal to feel nervous about high-stakes presentations. To make sure things over perfectly, take the time to rehearse every aspect of your presentation. Learn your points and practice how you’ll incorporate your slides to your speech.

Small group meetings

There are also presentations that involve a smaller crowd. If you’re leading a meeting, you’ll likely face just a small group of participants. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be as prepared as you would be on other presentation scenarios. You also need to make sure that your points are well-prepared. Make the audience feel included in your discussion.

Stanford professor JD Schramm presents five questions to ask yourself when faced in small group meetings. Apart from his initial five questions, Schramm provides a few extra notes:

  • Opt for a printed or tablet presentation deck: It will be easier to facilitate a small group meeting if everyone can navigate through your presentation deck at their own pace. Create a printed presentation deck instead. You can also distribute your PowerPoint file ahead of time so that participants can sync them to their own devices.
  • Don’t take your nonverbal cues for granted: Even is small-scale presentations feel a lot more casual, you shouldn’t take nonverbal cues for granted. Make sure you present an aura of authority the same way you would while you’re on stage.
  • Leave room for open discussion: Meetings are supposed to be collaborative in nature. Make sure you allot specific moments for the participants to join in your discussion.

There’s plenty to consider depending the context of your presentation. To achieve the best outcome, prepare according to context and occasion. These presentation tips will help you figure out what to consider.

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Designing PowerPoint Decks for the Smartphone.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 23, 2014. Accessed January 19, 2015.
PowerPoint Design Tips for Presenting Data.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 1, 2014. Accessed January 19, 2015
PowerPoint Tutorial – Hyperlinks.” UPenn Workshops. Accessed January 12, 2016.
Schramm, JD. “How to Present to a Small Audience.” Harvard Business Review. August 20, 2014. Accessed January 19, 2015.
Tips for Small-Scale Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 13, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2016.


Featured Image: University of the Fraser Valley via Flickr

4 Presentation Tips for Addressing Executives

It’s important to learn as much as you can about the audience. How you prepare will depend on who you will address. A conference where you expect to address colleagues and peers will have requirements that differ from a project proposal you have to make in front of executives within your company.

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For starters, the second scenario definitely seems more intimidating. The stakes are high for executive presentations. A successful outcome can lead to good opportunities.

Make sure your message resonates to the top decision makers by following these presentation tips:

1. Mind the clock

Time is important for executives. If you were given a specific schedule to present, be courteous and finish your presentation within the allotted time. You don’t want to be cut off or miss the chance to hear feedback because the CEO has to run off to another meeting. Be concise with your points and avoid being repetitive. These are just a few things you can try:

  • Review your content and trim out points that deviate from the main message.
  • Keep your PowerPoint deck from becoming 50 slides or more, illustrate key points using visuals and graphs.
  • Rehearse your entire presentation with a timer. Make sure you end with a few minutes left for questions.
  • If you can, come to the venue a few minutes ahead of schedule. Set up your PowerPoint deck before anyone else arrives, so you don’t have to waste time sorting out any technical difficulties.

2. Start with the end in mind

A powerful and memorable introduction is crucial to any presentation. However, the usual presentation tips won’t work for addressing executives. While there are occasions when you can lead with personal anecdotes or jokes, executive presentations are more formal in nature. The best way to start is to plunge straight into the heart of the matter. Since time is precious for them, executives want to hear the purpose of your presentation right away.

Start by being straight to the point. You can say something like, “I’m here to present our marketing plan. We want to spend $1 million on channel incentives.” Give them the reason for your meeting, clarify what outcome or goal you want to achieve from it, and then use the bulk of your time explaining main points and details.

3. Be ready to improvise

Executive presentations can quickly turn into a high-stress situation. You need to think quickly and improvise when you need to do. To save time, senior executives will ask you to skip specific parts of your presentation. Other times, they may want you to return to a certain slide and expound on several points. They might also cut you short and start asking difficult questions.

When this happens, keep your composure. Prepare yourself for any questions that may come up. To make sure you can cover everything in the allotted time, figure out parts that may need more emphasis and forgo points that aren’t as crucial to the discussion.

4. Have your data prepared and printed on handouts

Rhetoric can only get you so far with senior executives. If you want to achieve the outcome you’re hoping for, you need to provide data that supports your arguments. You need to have evidence prepared for points that could be seen as challenging or controversial.

Present data in a clear and concise manner. Make your illustrations discernible by focusing only on numbers that directly support your points. Anything else, including additional information and explanations, should be printed on handouts.

Presenting to senior executives can easily cause anyone stress. But while intimidating, it can also open up great opportunities for you and your career.

Focus on the message you want to convey and be flexible with how you handle your time limit. Follow these presentation tips and you’ll create lasting impact.

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speakingppt. “5 Tips for Presenting to Executives.” LinkedIn SlideShare. August 13, 2014. Accessed September 8, 2014.


Featured Image: ricardo via Flickr