I’ve enjoyed public speaking all my life. Fortunately I’ve got the opportunity to watch and interact with speakers of varying calibre. There have been world champions of public speaking and also many who couldn’t go beyond reading from PowerPoint slides. You can make a presentation very engaging by paying attention to what goes into each slide. But it’s not enough that you use various software tools and images. It is the way you present it that makes all the difference.
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No one would want to see a bunch of slides put into a PowerPoint presentation and the presenter monotonously reading them. This can’t be called a presentation. You might as well send it to your audience via e-mail. So let’s take a look at what it takes to make a presentation that captivates the hearts of your audience and leaves a lasting impression on them.
A slideshow should just have the key points. The 10-20-30 rule was suggested by Guy Kawasaki. He says a good presentation should not contain more than 10 slides, shouldn’t last for more than 20 minutes, and the content should not have more than 30 points.
Deliver your opening lines with a punch. The audience will connect with you immediately. Your introduction could be something personal, humorous, or questioning. This is sure to grab the attention of your audience.
When you are conversational, you also tend to be comfortable. Speak about something you are passionate about and make it look like you are talking about it rather than presenting it. This is a great way to get your audience involved in what you are speaking.
People tend to retain information if conveyed through visuals as visuals help reinforce your message. However, be careful while using images as they could even ruin your presentation if not used appropriately. Refrain from using too many images.
Narrate a story and structure it appropriately with a beginning, middle, and end. The point is to get your audience to remember what you have said.
Practice, practice, practice! I can’t emphasise the importance of this point enough. Also ensure that you practise changing slides or coordinating with anyone changing it for you. You wouldn’t want to stumble on stage due to lack of sync.
If you speak too fast, your audience won’t be able to comprehend what you are talking about, and speaking too slowly will bore them as well. Ensure that you keep a moderate pace and pause at the right moments.
A presentation isn’t the end of the world. With enough research, practice, and planning, you can deliver a very memorable one.