If you’re like most people, one of your biggest fears is public speaking. But public speaking doesn’t have to be something you dread doing; in fact, it can be a powerful tool for motivating others and influencing change. A well-crafted presentation can help inform or persuade an audience about a certain topic or idea. It’s all about knowing how to craft the right message for your audience—and then delivering it effectively!
Define your objective and message.
- Define your objective and message.
Before you begin writing, determine the purpose of your presentation. What exactly do you want to achieve? What is the audience’s goal? How does your message relate to the audience’s goal? By answering these questions, you will be able to create a clear focus for your presentation and craft a concise message that says what’s most important about it in as few words as possible.
Prioritize what needs to be included, then go for the jugular.
- Prioritize what needs to be included, then go for the jugular.
- Focus on the main points and supporting details first, but don’t worry about what you don’t know or can’t do.
- Don’t worry about what you can’t change or control.
Design for your audience.
Designing your presentation for the audience is one of the most important considerations. Your design should match the expectations of your audience, and there are many ways you can do this.
- Use visuals to explain difficult concepts, break up long passages of text and add variety.
- Make sure your slides are easy to read—use white or black backgrounds with high contrast fonts in a large font size (14 point). Use headlines and bullet points when appropriate, but don’t go overboard with them—too many words on each slide will make it hard for people to absorb information quickly.
- You don’t need fancy graphics like blinking text or wild animations; a simple background image or graphic can often be just as effective as something flashy. Remember: less is more!
Practice, practice, practice.
Most of us are not born with the ability to present our ideas in a clear and effective way. Instead, it is something that we must learn.
Practice is essential for developing this skill— but how do you practice?
There are many ways to prepare for your next presentation. One way that works well is by getting in front of a mirror and practicing what you want to say. Another method is to ask someone else (a friend or colleague) if they would be willing to help test out your presentation on them—but only if they’re okay with being used as an audience volunteer! If neither of those options work for you, try recording yourself giving the talk and watching it back later so that you can see where there might be areas where improvement could be made. Although this may seem like extra work upfront, it will pay off with better results!
Capture and hold your audience’s attention from start to finish.
The first key to an effective presentation is capturing and holding your audience’s attention from start to finish.
- Open with a catchy opening statement. It could be something like, “If you think about it…” or “Have you ever wondered…?” Make sure this sentence is short enough so that people won’t lose interest, but long enough to grab their attention.
- Use a story to start with—it will keep them engaged and help them understand the message better. If you’re not that great at public speaking, try telling one of your own stories; if all else fails, use one of your grandma’s stories! The point is: make it personal.
- Make sure your message is clear—don’t confuse people with too much information at once or they’ll get bored and distracted quickly! Be specific when giving directions (e.g., “Take a left here.”) Don’t use jargon/buzzwords unless absolutely necessary; try using plain language instead (e.g., “Stop sign”). And don’t overdo humor either—you want to be funny without being cheesy or lame!
Think about what you want to communicate, who will listen and design your talk around them with a focus on their priorities.
When you’re presenting, think about what you want to communicate, who will listen, and design your talk around them with a focus on their priorities.
For example, if you’re presenting toys for kids to an audience, it may be tempting to start with your technical analysis of the problem before explaining how your solution works. However, if this is not important for them or doesn’t help them make decisions about what they need to do next then spend more time explaining the details of your solution at the end.
Similarly, if you have an audience of people who are interested in business development then explain how they can sell their products through this new platform rather than focusing on technical details that are not relevant to them.
You’re on the right track if you’ve learned these five key principles of presenting. As I mentioned earlier, anyone can learn how to give an effective presentation by putting in some work. And now that you know what it takes, it’s time to move forward with confidence!