You might be well into your studies this school year, and perhaps you have been assigned to give a presentation on a specific topic or idea. Are you struggling with designing the presentation or nervous to deliver it to your professor and classmates? In this post, we have chosen 10 of the must-haves you should include or do in order to nail your presentation this year!
1) Know your topic and audience
The first part of preparing for a presentation is to fully understand your topic and audience. Are you presenting to your classmates? Choose a topic that would be of best interest to your audience to listen to and learn.
2) Ask the question
What do I want my audience to get out of this presentation? Asking yourself this question will be key to the success of your presentation. The presentation will answer this question in the end. Decide on those key points and takeaways and begin to craft your message.
3) Create an outline
Now that you have your topic and your audience in mind, it is time to begin creating your outline! Within your outline, you should include the following: an introduction, your key points, examples or data, the key takeaway, a call-to-action (if there is one), and a closing statement.
4) Pick a theme and design for your PowerPoint
After you have completed your outline, it is time to begin designing the presentation. If you are using a different application other than PowerPoint (like Prezi), it will be important that you are familiar with the platform. Choose a theme and design that is not only eye-catching, but also is clear for the reader to see.
5) Use clear and concise text on your slides
Just because you have your outline in front of you as you are making your presentation does NOT mean that you should be writing your sentences on your slides word for word. Instead, you should choose concise language to communicate to your audience in a way that allows you to expand further during your presentation.
6) Utilize data and examples to help support your presentation
Using examples to support your key points of your presentation is a great way to explain into further detail your message to your audience. Do you have impressive data to show your audience? Data and examples are a great way to not only support your arguments, but also a great way to help the audience understand the overall takeaway.
7) Review and edit your presentation
While you may think that your presentation is "good to go," do not skip the step to review and edit your presentation. If it helps, we also suggest that you have a friend or colleague take a look at your presentation as well. They might be able to find ambiguities within or help edit grammar mistakes that might have gone unnoticed.
8) Begin with a strong introduction
You want to captivate your audience immediately when you begin your presentation, so it will be important for you to begin your presentation with a strong introduction! We suggest asking a question to your audience, using a narrative, showcase a statistic, etc.
9) Practice, practice, practice
Maybe you haven't given a presentation in awhile. You could be a bit rusty around the edges. Nerves before presenting is not a bad thing! But if you did not practice your presentation a few times, it could set you up for a few mistakes along the way. Practice giving your presentation and ensuring that what your saying matches up with your slides. Does your presentation have a time limit? This will also be important during practice--time yourself to make sure you are not going under the time limit, or over, as this could affect your grade.
10) End with a home-run take-home message
Wrap up the presentation without doing just that. Instead, tie everything you spoke about in your presentation into one package and give your audience a take-home message. You want your audience to leave the room feeling like they completely understood what you presented on, and they also are able to leave with a clear message or action item.
We hope these tips help you in preparing for your next presentation!