Basic presentation skill

First of all, I would like to say that follows are expert business training materials which I summarized from our company’s training session.  I think good stuffs should share with more people except for confidential status.  It’s a little long but if you follow these steps you will give your audiences a very professional presentation. let’s get started!!

1.       Create a presentation

Many people are nervous about giving presentations, after all there’s so much can go wrong. You don’t want to bore the audience or can’t cover the key points. To avoid problem like these, you need to write presentation carefully. If it’s well structured, you will increase your chance to be a memorable presentation. In order to give a successful presentation, you should:

  • Analyze audience
  • Set objectives
  • Organize ideas
  • Determine key messages

You can use the above key points to write a presentation. Every presentation begins with a sound structure that helps you to clarify which point you want to make.  With the sound structure your audience will be easier to follow what you are saying.

A well structure presentation contains 3 parts:

  • An engaging opening

Your opening is very important. It sets the tone for everything that follows. This is where you will grab the attention of the audience, tell them who you are, and say why you there. It gives you an opportunity to deliver the main message of your presentation and to establish a rapport with your audience.

  • A middle section that contains the main body of the presentation

The middle section is where you provide more detail about your main message. You should aim to include three to five key points that support and reinforce the main message. You need to maintain the interest of your audience here, as you don’t want them to get bored. You also need to include transitions, which link your points and help you move smoothly from one to the next.

  • A strong closing section

Be sure to leave a good impression when you’re closing your presentation. This is how the audience will remember you. Restate your main message and summarize the key points. You should also tell your audience what happens next.

2.       Write a presentation

When you start writing your presentation you should decide whether you need a script to help you deliver the presentation or a set of notes.  It’s usually not a good idea to write a script, reading word for word from a script can create a barrier between you and your audience. In most cases you’d give your presentation using a set of notes.

Script or notes?

  • How long will the presentation take?

If your presentation is short, you just need to keep the key points of your notes. The longer presentation the more notes you will need.

  • How complex is the content?

If it’s very complex you probably need detail notes. Technical content for example, can be difficult to explain and would require detail notes.

  • How familiar are you with the content?

If you are very familiar with it you only need few brief notes that will remind you of the key points you want to deliver.

  • How sensitive is the content?

If it’s very sensitive and every word should be careful chosen. Consider using a word for word script or very detail notes, vehicle presentations are often scripted because the sensitivity of the material.

  • How formal will the presentation be?

Word for word scripts are appropriate for formal speeches which are 30 minutes or less. In less formal settings you can use a set of notes. You may find it helpful to write up your presentation and create your notes from that. 

Opening

  • Introduce yourself properly

At the beginning, introduce yourself and tell the audience why you’re presenting to them. Aim to establish a rapport with your audience immediately. You should also give them a “roadmap” of what you’ll be covering. State how long the presentation will last and whether there’ll be a question-and-answer session at the end. Also clarify whether you expect them to take notes or whether you’ll be providing handouts.

  • Provide the main point of the presentation

State your main message in the opening remarking. Make sure the audience understands what the purpose of the presentation is and how it will benefit them.

  • Include an attention grabber

Include an attention grabber early on that will get the attention of audience members. You might tell them about a personal experience, such as what they would do if they won a large sum of money. You could also include a starting fact, a rhetorical question, or an anecdote to stimulate their interest.

           1) Develop attention grabber at end

           2) Anecdotes should be relevant

           3) Don’t make audience uncomfortable

           4) Some humor should be relevant

           5) Don’t apologize at start

Writing the middle section

  • Limit number of supporting points

The middle section should contain points that support your main message. Aim to have from three to five supporting points. This is a manageable number for you and your audience. You can present these in your roles as a series of headings. For example, if you are presenting the advantages of your company’s products. Your supporting points could be headings such as “Unique features”, “Competitive prices” etc.

  • Elaborate on each supporting point

You should elaborate on each of supporting points, making sure they support the main message of your presentation. However, don’t give too much information, as this will only obscure the main point. Present this information as bullet points under each heading. For example, if your supporting point is “Unique features”, the sub points under it could include “Available in widest range of colors” and “innovative eco-friendly production methods used”.

  • Use an organizing method

Many speakers use an organizing method to structure the middle. You could simply number your points. Or you could talk about. For example, “the Four TS” or “The Five BS” of successful sales presentations. You could also repeat a phrase or theme before each of your main points to link them, or play on a popular theme, such as “Big Bigger Biggest”.

  • Ensure support material is clear

Do your supporting points really support your main message?  If they aren’t relevant, leave them out. Are your supporting points independent of each other or do they overlap? If they overlap, they are sub points. Are your supporting points clearly stated and consistent with one another? They should be worded similarly and be unambiguous.

  • Ensure support material is accurate

Your credibility will be undermined if a member of the audience discovers an error in your presentation. So double-check all facts and figures. Make sure all names and titles are spelled correctly and that direct quotations are presented accurately.

  • Provide frequent directional signals

Directional signals are transition words that link your ideas together. They can help focus your audience’s attention. You can provide directional signals by including a mini summary at the end of a set of points. You can also use smooth transitions as you move from point to point, such as “Now that you know why our products are unique,  let’s look at how much they cost”.

Closing

Guidelines:

  • Reiterate main points: don’t mention new points
  • Give conclusions or recommendations: if you want your audience to do something after presentation, this is the time you ask them to do it.
  • Leave your audience a memorable impression: you can do this by ending a quotation or an inspiring words etc.
  • Thank the audience for their time
  • Make smooth transition to the next phase

Summary: A well structure presentation has an opening, a middle and a closing. In the opening, you identify your main message. You support and reinforce your main in the middle. And you tie everything together with a memorable conclusion in the closing.

3.       Selecting presentation aids

  The presentation aids are some things that help you explain, illustrate or support your main message.

  • Flipcharts and whiteboards:

They are perfect when you’re giving an informal presentation to a small number of people, or when your budget is tight. They’re an excellent choice to use in brainstorming sessions or for recording key points with a discussion group. They’re not suitable for large or formal presentations.

  • Computer-based slides

They’re suitable for formal presentation to large groups of people, where you want to create a professional image. They’re ideal for presentation that you’ll be giving regularly.

  • Models and props

They can be used in any presentation where you want to show how something will look physically or to demonstrate a concept. They’re interesting to an audience, and can make your presentation memorable and fun。

  • Handouts
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They usually consist of additional information related to a presentation or hard copies of what was presented. They can be used in any presentation to provide information during the talk, or as a resource to use later. But don’t distribute handouts until the end of presentation. If you do it early, audiences may start reading instead of listening or people would take them and leave.

Presentation aids can be effective in helping bring your presentation to live. Remember whichever aids you choose should always enhance your presentation.  So make sure you have good reasons including an aid. Too many can be confusing.

4. using appropriate visual aids for a presentation

Guidelines:

Visual aids are integral to message. They should be woven into the story. They are: 

  • Serve your purpose
  • Highlight key information
  • Focus on what’s relevant
  • Interpret rather than just present

When you prepare visual aids, you should:

  • Keep visual aids simple

            1) Avoid being wordy

            2) Don’t overload visual aids

            3) Use interpretive titles

            4) Use progressive disclosure

  • Create reader-friendly visual aids: It means that audience should read and understand visual aids immediately.

            1) Readable typeface and font: for example, titles :28-32 points, bullets: 20-24 points, sub points: 14 points bold

            2) Wide variety of backgrounds

           3) Aim for simple backgrounds

           4) Choose appropriate color: Warm colors are best used for focus items and cold colors are better for backgrounds. For color blind people green and red colors are very hard to read, so avoid red and green range side by side or with red text and green background. Be consistent with your choice of colors and be safe using color companions.

           5) Avoid words-only visual aids

           6) Colorful visual aids contain lot of pictures and few words. They’re much more interesting to audience of slides is bullet points and they can communicate with your message more effectively.

  • Proofread visual aids

           1)  Error undermine credibility

           2)  Use a consistent style

           3) Technically accurate

4.       Rehearsing your presentation

Rehearsing helps you become familiar with materials and increasing your confidence and adjust your timing.

  • Reread your notes

To rehearse effectively, the first step is to reread your notes or script several times. Your focus should be on becoming familiar with the material, rather than memorizing it. Ensure you know your opening lines, your sequence of key points, your closing lines, and any anecdotes you’re using. Check that any transitions you’ve prepared, as well as the points when you move onto new slides or introduce props, are clearly marked in your notes.

  • Practice out loud

Next, practice delivering your presentation out loud and standing up, in similar clothes to the ones you’ll be wearing on the day itself. So if you plan to wear a formal suit, wear a suit while you rehearse. Check your watch at the start and at the end, so you know how long it takes to present your material. Keep in mind that most presenters go slightly faster on the day of the actual presentation.

  • Simulate the situation

Rehearse in a small room won’t prepare you for delivering a presentation in a large auditorium. So try to rehearse in the room where you’ll be giving your presentation. If this isn’t possible, simulate the situation as best you can by practicing in a room of similar size and shape. Try out all the equipment you’ll be using. Make sure you know how everything works and where your files are. So you won’t be fumbling during your presentation.

  • Practice your Q&A

It’s a good idea to be presented for any questions the audience may ask you. So request that a colleague sit in on your rehearsal, and have this person ask any questions that might arise from your presentation.  The question-and-answer session at the end of a presentation is often an important segment. So always be ready for it.

  • Get feedback

Getting feedback on your rehearsal is always useful, as you can use it to fine-tune your presentation. It’s possible to provide feedback to yourself by typing your rehearsal and then reviewing it afterwards. But it’s always better to get feedback from another person. So ask a colleague to watch you rehearse and then provide you with feedback. They should focus on your delivery style, how clearly you present the content, and whether your presentation aids are helpful.

Like the article mentioned, thanks for your time reading it. If someone needs Chinese version or has questions regarding the article please leave a comment. Your comments will help me confirm whether I made complete summary of the training material :-)