Giving an Effective Presentation

When you’re well prepared, the sky is the limit!

Written by Shelly Verma, Contributing Writer

When I was an engineering student, giving presentations formed a major part of my final year. One thing I learned very early in my college years was that giving an effective and interesting presentation was a skill that is essential to getting good grades and improving communication skills.

It may seem tough especially when you’re nervous, and you tend to forget some of the key topics you wanted to say. The presentation will be easier to understand, if you leave reminders for yourself. Don’t be afraid of being nervous but be well prepared!

By the time I graduated, I learned how to present my ideas clearly and confidently. Lecturers would look forward to my presentations. Good speakers aren’t just born. They’re made.

Practice Your Preach

The worst mistake you can make before giving a presentation is going unprepared. Make sure you get enough practice before the big day. Make sure that your talk is designed to fit the time allotted. Plan accordingly as exceeding the time limit gives the impression that you didn’t prepare properly beforehand. Honestly, there is no way you can do a good job explaining the content when rushing or fumbling through your slides.

Visibility is Vital

[pullquote]Plan accordingly as exceeding the time limit gives the impression that you didn’t prepare properly beforehand. [/pullquote]Be sure people can read what’s written on the slides. Don’t try to cram too much information on each one of the slides or letting the writing be too small to read. If the audience has to strain themselves to see the material, they are going to lose interest, and might start playing with their phone. Carefully organize information point-by-point and keep it short.

Try to avoid using a dark background on your slides, and if you must, the text color needs to be easy to read like white or bright yellow. It would be quite frustrating for the speaker and the audience to be in a seminar and not even be able to read the presented slide.

Once you have made the presentation, go into a conference room, turn off the lights and stand in the back. Make sure everything is visible, easy to read, and is aesthetically pleasing.

Explain Clearly

Explain your points thoroughly even if everyone is familiar with the topic you’re going to present, even if you think everyone is at the same level of knowledge. You cannot assume that everyone can look at graphs and flowcharts and immediately know what you are explaining.

[pullquote]The audience will appreciate you took the time to make it worth their while to sit through your presentation[/pullquote]You should know what your next slide is and the order of all the slides. If you do not know what your next slide is, then you are indicating to the audience you didn’t even bother to practice. It might make an audience member think that you don’t care about their presentation to the point where you came unprepared and unpractised. If this was such as waste of your time, why would they waste theirs listening to you?

Please be audible enough. I couldn’t emphasise this more. Do you really want to give a 30 minute talk and have no one hear you? Use a microphone if possible. I’m sure you can imagine how frustrating it is to be in an audience and not be able to hear the speaker.

To keep the audience with you, slide transitions are important for the flow of the presentation. When you complete a slide, use this as an opportunity to transition into the topic of the next slide.

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