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By Sharon Housley
Many individuals are called upon to give
presentations, but many have no formal instruction on
how to deliver the most effective presentations. So
for the benefit of those who might need a bit of help,
we've put together a "primer" for presenters...
You should always dress professionally,
even if the event is somewhat informal in nature, and
always dress in a way that does not distract or detract
from your presentation.
2. Test The Equipment
If your presentation involves using any
equipment, such as a microphone, computer, screen projector,
laser pointer, etc, be sure to test any and all of the
equipment prior to the beginning of your presentation.
It is unprofessional, not to mention frustrating and
distracting, to have to wrestle with equipment problems
in front of a waiting audience. Try to identify and
resolve any technical issues and problems before the
presentation is scheduled to begin.
At the beginning of the presentation,
provide an overview of what you will be discussing during
Be sure to enunciate and articulate your
words, and speak at a volume that can be heard without
shouting or straining. If you are presenting to an audience
that includes non-native speakers, it is imperative
that you speak slowly and attempt to minimize any accent
you might have.
The most powerful presenters have the
ability to connect with their audience. Try not to take
yourself too seriously. Engage your audience with personal
stories. Be sure to look at the audience and not just
your notes -- eye contact is key to connecting with
the audience. If appropriate, use humor to help your
6. Be Confident
Speak with conviction. When you are presenting,
your confidence will come through in your presentation.
Know the subject material that you are
presenting. Do not attempt to tackle a subject that
you lack knowledge of or experience with. Make sure
you are up to speed, and can deftly handle any questions
about the subject matter that might be thrown your way.
8. Language Translations
If the presentation is being translated
into a different language, try to meet with the translator
before the presentation. Review the presentation, and
point out the parts that are most important. Make sure
they understand the context of any words and phrases
that might be specific to your industry. Hired translators
will often not understand or know how to translate unfamiliar
terms that may be specific to your industry, so try
to use a translator that has a basic understanding of
the topic you are speaking about. Additionally, it is
helpful to provide the translator with printed copies
of the slides in advance, so they can follow along and
refer to them during the presentation.
9. Stay on Topic
Try not to become distracted and wander
off topic. It is not only a good idea, but common practice
as well, to postpone dealing with any audience questions
until the end of the presentation. This will help you
maintain your focus during the presentation, and will
help avoid being distracted, which often results in
losing your place in the presentation.
All the slides in a presentation should
relate to each other. Use professional-quality PowerPoint
templates to enhance your presentation, like those found
at "PPT Templates" ( http://www.ppt-templates.net
11. Know Your Audience
Knowing the expertise and expectations
of your audience allows you to tailor the presentation
to them, and to provide content that is most appropriate
for your audience.
12. Time Awareness
Be aware of the time allotted for the
presentation, and practice it to insure that your presentation
easily remains within the given time period. If appropriate,
try to leave some free time at the end of the presentation
to allow for follow-up questions and inquiries, distributing
handouts, and more detailed one-on-one discussions.
Handouts are an excellent way to provide
the audience with additional information on your topic,
along with URLs and other resources that are referenced
during the presentation. Brand each handout to match
the presentation. The additional continuity between
presentation and handouts will add an extra level of
professionalism to the overall presentation. Be sure
to let the audience know that a handout is available
at the beginning of the presentation, allowing them
to focus their attention on the presentation itself
rather than feeling compelled to take hurried and detailed
notes during the presentation.
Remember the saying "practice makes perfect"?
Well, it definitely makes a difference when presenting.
Conduct a few "dry runs" to become more comfortable
and confident with the presentation, as well as to workout
Relax before you present, and try to clear
your mind and let go of any anxiety. Keep in mind that
body language is important. Your audience will instinctively
know if you are anxious about the presentation.
At the conclusion of the presentation,
summarize the important points that were conveyed. This
not only gives additional emphasis to the important
points, but also helps the audience remember them later.
17. Contact Info
Provide full contact information on your
Giving a public presentation need not
be a stressful experience. Prepare properly, and follow
the presentation primer above, and you will find that
making presentations are much easier than you once imagined.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
audio recording and editing software.
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