Effective Presentation Skills
Creating Effective Presentations

It is commonly known that one of the top fears that people have is giving presentations and speaking in public.   However, all leaders and managers have to give presentations; team members may be called on to give presentations from time time; sales people need to give product presentations; a presentation is part of many interview processes. Poor presentation skills result in a poor impression and lost opportunities, lost business, lost jobs....Being able to stand up and speak effectively in public will stand to you. Presentations skills may not come naturally to everyone, however, it is a skill and therefore can be developed. It is worth investing the time to learn how you can develop effective presentations skills and master the are of speaking in public. This skill will benefit you as grow and develop your career.

Common Errors Made

Before you embark on giving a presentation be-aware of common errors that are often made:

1. Nolittle or inadequate preparation.

2. Telling the audience what you want to tell them rather than what they want to hear.

3. Information overload - trying to cover everything in their presentation

4. Too technical for the audience

5. Not relevant to the audience

6. Delivered in a way that does not engage the audience or make them want to sit up and listen

You can probably think of many presentations that you have attended where the presenter has made these mistakes. This becomes just a waste of time for everyone involved. Unfortuntately the speaker may be remembered, but for the wrong reasons!

I get asked the following question quite a lot: "How can I make/give an effective presentation?" Following the steps below will help you create and deliver a presentation effectively.

Steps to Effective Presentations

  1. The first step is to know what your overall goal is. What do you want to achieve? What do you want the audience to think and feel, do or say as a result of listening to you? What knowledge will they need to have, or understanding should they take with them? What is the key message that you want to deliver?
  2. Next consider what your audience already know and what they need to know to achieve your goals. This is essential so that you can pitch it at the right level.
  3. Now identify the main topics or points that need to be included in your presentation. Remember again, that you can't include everything so be ruthless. Only include those that are essential based on the time available to you.
  4. Now consider how you can convey these points to the audience using examples, facts, stories, analogies, metaphors etc. This will help to create interest for the audience and engage them. Use stories and examples that your audience can relate to.
  5. Once you have done this you can start to think about the order of each point. You can change the order around as you practice the presentation.
  6. You can now start to think about effective visual aids: this may be PowerPoint slides and/or other visuals. Keep any PowerPoint slides simple. Do not overload your presentation with them. They are not your presentation - just aids!
  7. Now you can start practicing or rehearsing. This is a crucial step as it helps you to articulate your points effectively, become comfortable with your content and modify it as needed. You will become familiar with the flow and again refine it before you actually deliver the presentation. You will know if the presentation is too long, too complicated or technical, how the examples work etc.
  8. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

Attending a presentation skills training course may also be of benefit to you. When selecting a course make sure that you pick a course that only takes a small number of participants. The reason for this is that the course should give each person the opportunity to practice a presentation, receive feedback re-practice implementing the feedback further developing skills and confidence.

If you have some experience of presenting and want to further develop your skills look for a course that will video you presenting. This gives you the opportunity of actually seeing and hearing yourself present. As uncomfortable as this may be it is also hugely beneficial.