Anyone can dictate facts, but presenting material in a way that is engaging and informative is an art form. Both when you are preparing your presentation and as you are giving it, keep these five tips in mind to keep your audience interested and your presentation effective.
1. Know What You Are Talking About
Thoroughly research your topic. If there is any aspect of your subject you are unclear about, set the record straight before you prepare your materials. You need to know your topic well enough to not only convey a well-rounded overview of information but also answer questions. Consider possible questions that may arise and make sure you know the answers.
2. Make It Clear Why You Are There and What Your Topic Is
Your audience will absorb more from your presentation if they understand what they are supposed to take away from it. Give them direction by making it clear what your topic is and what the objective of your presentation is at the very beginning. Tell them the primary points you will be covering and in what order to give them context. At the end, briefly recap your main points and draw them to a clear conclusion.
3. Effectively Communicate Your Message
The basics of any presentation are eye contact, concise diction, and voice projection. Speak slowly and make sure that each person in the room can hear you. Beyond that, consider your language skills. Give the most amount of information you can in the fewest words. People should not have to wade through their auditory memory to understand what you have told them. Organize your material in an order that makes sense, and boil down each topic to a series of primary points that you link together while speaking.
4. Keep The Audience Interested
Visuals are engaging; be sure to include images and videos wherever they are relevant. Do not dwell too long on numbers and statistics without tying them to a point, and breaking up blocks of information with jokes or relevant stories is also effective. While rambling is never good, audiences love a good story. If you have a relevant tale to tell, plan on spinning it into your presentation ahead of time. If something occurs to you while you are speaking, take a moment to make sure it is on-point. If it is, work it in.
5. Practice and Rehearse
Practice is often the most overlooked aspect of presenting. Even if you only mutter your notes to yourself under your breath, you may discover holes in your logic or confusing ordering that you missed while putting the materials together. It also gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the material in the order you wish to present it.
Guest post contributed by Second Nature.