Your Career: 7 tips to make your presentation more engaging

Being able to deliver a good presentation is an important element in a lot of people’s careers. Even roles that have very little ‘front of the room’ requirement, deliver important messages through the documents they create.

Whilst most people want to see presenters who are charismatic and enthusiastic, often very little regard is given to producing quality materials that help articulate the message clearly. After all, even the most articulate and energising presenters can lose their audiences with the wrong presentation slides.

So, what kind of things should you bear in mind when creating a high quality presentation that people want to pay attention to?

Your content:

1. Before putting together any slides at all, think about your subject. What are the key aspects of the topic you’re going to talk about? Are any of these topics linked together or can they be grouped? Instead of cutting and pasting slides from other presentations, tell a story that makes sense to your audience (yes…even if it means having to make a bit more effort to redesign them, you want your audience to understand them don’t you?).

2. Only use slides that are relevant – any additional materials can be part of an appendix at the back of the presentation that can be referred to as and when needed.

3. Think about the ‘so what?’ on each slide. What is the most important bit of information that you need to get across with this slide? It’s not enough to just state a series of facts or assumptions; there should always be a point. If there was only one message that you could deliver with that slide, then the ‘so what?’ would be it.

How you deliver that content:

4. Use as few slides as possible – depending on the content and length of the presentation ensure that you cover the key aspects, but remember the brain can only take in seven chunks of information in any one sitting, so less is more. However, this does not mean that you should attempt to cram everything into fewer slides. White space on a slide is your friend.

5. Think about the high level message that each slide is there to deliver, and use your own words to deliver that message, rather than reading them off the page.

6. Use visuals. 65% of us are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network, so using blocks of text (especially text in an ineligible font and/or size) is not going to make you any friends. Bring your messages to life with diagrams and infographics instead of just text.

7. Use appropriate visuals – if you have a diagram, check the colour of the font and any shapes on the screen before your presentation, and adjust so that everyone can read it, even if they are sitting at the back of the room. This isn’t an eye exam.

So there you have it. Some key things to check, so that you can avoid having to say the dreaded sentence “I know you can’t see this, but…” and then have to deal with everyone rolling their eyes and switching off in disbelief that you managed to cram all of that onto one slide.

Needless to say, even a great presentation won’t get you very far if your style of presenting sends people to sleep. If you want your audience to be interested and excited about what you’re saying then you need to BE INTERESTED AND EXCITING as a presenter.

Good luck and happy presenting!

Selda

ProcessThink has expertise in taking complex information and simplifying it into something that is easy to digest and easily understood by the masses.

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