Presentation skills are very important when it comes to trying to connect with your target audience An impressive presentation can win over an audience whether it be for a business venture, attaining grant funding, or a school project. Acquiring the skills to give a clear, concise presentation is a tool that is applicable in all aspects of life. Few people are born with the gift of speaking confidently, most people must work at preparing an effective speech or presentation, however once it is mastered it can greatly enhance any professional career.
Effective and compelling communication is the key to any successful presentation. Without an authoritative tone or an air of confidence (not to be confused with arrogance!), a presenter’s main points will be lost on the audience. During a presentation it is key for the presenter to make eye contact, speak clearly and project, engage the audience by fielding questions, and most importantly, stay calm. A presenter must adapt to the audience and be prepared for all manner of disagreement or even confrontation.
- Hints for Success (PDF): A guide to presentation skills based on the physical aspects of a presentation such as eye contact, proper breath support, and hydration.
- Presentation Skills for a Successful Career: An article on the importance of adequate preparation, organization, and delivery.
- Guidelines for Oral Presentations: A complete guide to oral presentations from organizing your thoughts to evaluation criteria.
Building a Presentation
An important feature of a solid presentation is the use of visual aids. In most instances, a visual aid should highlight and clarify points rather than forming the basis for the presentation — the audience should be more focused on what the presenter is speaking about than what is on the visual aids. Common visual aids include PowerPoint slides, Elmo document cameras, handouts, charts, tables and graphs.
- Visual Clarity: Outlines the importance of deciding which presentation aspects need extra focus through visual aids.
- Using Visual Aids Effectively: How to enhance a presentation with simple visual aspects such as slides or projectors.
- Visual Aids in Public Communication (PDF): This article emphasizes that visual aids should be an enhancement to a presentation not the main event.
When it comes to designing a presentation, it is best to keep visual aids as simple as possible. If the presenter is using slides, they should appear uncluttered with minimal text. The use of bullet points and titles help the audience to focus on the presenter’s most important points. As well, it is important to keep design and backgrounds plain and simple and not flashy or overbearing.
- Preparing and Using Visual Aids (PDF): A complete guide to visual aids from posters, slides, models, dry-erase boards, and audio clips.
- Color Coordination: Description of a study that shows a presenter who color coordinates his attire to his presentation poster is likely to increase the popularity of his poster.
- Rethinking Presentation Slide Design: This article challenges the common PowerPoint format with the Assertion-Evidence Method.
Planning a Presentation
When planning a presentation, preparation is a must. The presenter should know their topic inside and out. Also, it is imperative that a presenter take the venue and audience into consideration when planning the presentation. Visit the presentation venue prior to the actual presentation if at all possible. Get a feel for the environment, and make any necessary changes to the setup of the room.
- Planning a Presentation (PDF): An article about the various strategies of prepping for a presentation.
- Planning a Presentation: A study guide that offers insight into the process of planning an effective presentation.
Communicating in Your Specialty
If you’re scheduled to speak at an upcoming meeting, conference, or other business event, your goal might be to wow everyone gathered with your knowledge and dyamics. Or your goal might be to avoid passing out from fear. Either way, these tips should help you exceed your own expectations.
- How to deliver a short and effective presentation: Tips on delivering an effective presentation
- Presentation Skills for Video-Conferencing (PDF): A slide show of tips for handling a presentation to remote sites.
- Becoming an Effective Presenter in Science and Engineering: An overview of specific strategies to cater a presentation to a scientific or technical audience.
- Strategies for Students (PDF): A look at academic presentations and how students can improve their skills.
Audio Visual Equipment
It cannot be understated that the quality of your audio visual equipment is extremely important to making sure that you deliver great production value. Everything from having a big projection screen to a bright projector and crisp sound system will help your message to be delivered effectively.
If you need help with any of the technical aspects of your presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!
- How To Use A Podium Microphone – Sounds simple, doesn’t it? You would be surprised at what you’ll learn in this article.
- How to select the right projector for your event – So you’re all ready for your big event, but there’s one problem: you don’t have a projector yet and you have no idea which one to choose.
- How to Mirror your PC onto a Projector – Article that helps with the “how to” side of things.
- The benefits of using a confidence monitor – If you’re a presenter, you probably have something you’re passionate about that you want to communicate to your audience.