Whether you are putting together a presentation for a conference hall full of prospects or a boardroom full of colleagues and superiors, creating an effective and informative presentation can be an intimidating task. However, by following these helpful guidelines you can create a lasting impression with a powerful presentation.
Develop Your Story
To begin, you need to have an objective in mind. Are you selling a product? A service? Are you presenting on the latest research your lab has conducted on a specific topic? You need to answer these types of questions long before you begin putting your ideas on paper. By coming to the drawing board with a clear goal in mind you will be less likely to get sidetracked while compiling your resources and your presentation will remain focused on the topic at hand.
Brainstorm, either alone or with a team, and get your ideas on the table, develop a narrative that tells the story of your presentation in a logical progression, front start to finish.
Compile imagery to tell your story
When it comes to stories, the old saying goes: show, don’t tell. The same is true when it comes to proper presentations. Your audience will be bored to tears if you give them a PowerPoint with 25+ slides of only text and bullet points. You need photos, images, and infographics that support your topic and reinforce the potency of data included in your presentation.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to overall design, don’t try to do too much at once. Not every slide of your presentation needs to be a jumble of charts, graphs, photos, and text. Couple text with one or two relevant images or icons in each instance. Make sure those pieces of content speak directly to your topic in proper context. You don’t want your audience to have trouble following your presentation because they are preoccupied with what is going on visually in front of them. In short, keep things simple and easy to digest for everyone in the room.
Make It User-Friendly
The last thing you want to worry about when presenting is fumbling through your slides. Make sure you keep your design simple and are aware of how many clicks you need to make before all the elements included on your slides are visible to the audience. This can easily be manipulated in the transitions and animations sections of PowerPoint.
Remember, you can include additional notes within PowerPoint that only you can see during the presentation. This gives you the opportunity to keep text on the slides to a minimum while you have all the information you want to discuss at your disposal.
Practice, practice, practice
As you might imagine, creating a great presentation and only reciting it for the first time on the day of your conference or meeting is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you practice your presentation several times in private and in front of a small group of friends, family, or colleagues. This will prepare you mentally, give you confidence, and allow you to identify any issues your presentation may have before the big day.