What is the purpose of a presentation? Well, most people would reply to that question with an answer that goes somewhat like this: the purpose of a presentation is to deliver a specific message or set of messages to your intended audience. Your job as the presenter is not only to deliver your message unto the ears of those you want to impress, but to make sure that your presentation has made an impact on your audience and that they will leave the meeting with your key points on their mind. So what are the steps you can take to make your presentation as effective, memorable and motivating as you want it to be?
Step 1 - Become a more effective speaker
The easiest way to achieve this goal is very simple practice, practice, practice!
Practice by yourself, in front of a mirror, in front of friends and colleagues. Better yet, to give you a better idea of exactly how you appear and sound to an audience, videotape yourself giving a presentation and critique your own delivery style. Obviously we can't see ourselves as the audience does when we give a presentation. The best way to get an idea of what we are doing right and what we could do better is to enable yourself to see yourself in all of your speech-making grandeur. Two key basics of public speaking vary your tone and vary your pace.
Step 2 - Identifying your objectives
What exactly are the points you are trying to convey to your audience? It is very important for one to organize their ideas and the points they want to make prior to the presentation. You want to be sure you hit on every major point you intended to as well as delivery them in an appropriate order so they make the most sense and have the most impact.
Step 3 - Effective Displays and Visual Aids
Display boards, props, etc should present your content in a visually appealing yet productive way. Be sure you use visual aids to accent key points that you want to get across to your audience. Also be sure if you are writing on a whiteboard that it has a smooth surface conducive to magic-marker use. Use color wherever possible and appropriate. Studies show that selective use of color increases the effectiveness of the message and increases the audience's retention of key points.
Step 4 - Slideshows
You have to be careful if you use slides during your presentation. People tend to get bored and lack in attention when some slideshows are presented, mostly due to the dimness of the room and the focus point being taken off of the speaker. However, the use of colorful and effective slides can be extremely effective. Be sure to vary your tone of voice often as you narrate the slideshow to help keep the audience interested and focused.