Steps to a Powerful Presentation

Build Confidence with Great Presentations

You have been asked to create a presentation on a subject you are familiar with. You have just a few moments to convince the audience that you will not be wasting their time, show you are well organized, to convince the audience that you know your subject and to professionally express you know who you are. Panic sets in. Where do you begin? There are three basic parts of any presentation: the Opening, the Body and the Closing Summary.

Have a Strong Opening

A strong Opening to every presentation is desirable. It will draw the audience in and convince them you will not be wasting their time. In the opening, following three basic steps:

1. Introduce the problem you are addressing and the context of your presentation
2. State the purpose, scope and main message of your presentation
3. Provide an outline of your complete presentation

Prove Your Point with a Strong Body

The Body or your presentation is the “meat” of your presentation. This is the true reason why you are standing in front of the group. To create a strong “body”, follow four basic steps:

1. Break up the content with each section making one key point
2. Present he content incrementally, concisely and in a logical order
3. Illustrate your point with clear examples and visual aides
4. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Super Simple)

Remind Them with a Great Closing Summary

The Closing Summary is your last chance to drive your point home. A strong closing will illustrate the purpose of your presentation; it will prove to the audience you were knowledge about the material that you were presenting, and it will assure the audience that your information was trustworthy. For the strongest closing, follow four basic steps:

1. Give brief and simple summary of the main [points
2. Reinforce the main message
3. Put in context of the “big picture”
4. Give a clear ending

Putting it All Together

Once your presentation is developed the way you want it, you must practice your delivery. To overcome any nervousness during your presentation, think about rehearsing your presentation in front of a few friends. Or if your friends are not available, practice your presentation in front of your webcam while using your laptop. You can also practice while speaking into an audio recorder. Rehearsing will build confidence and will identify any parts of the presentation that are not working.

Once you are comfortable with your presentation, do your best to arrive early and set up your equipment before the audience arrives. Always test your equipment yourself. Memorizing your opening statements will ease the last minute panic you feel and you will appear confident and relaxed to your audience.

While giving your presentation, remember to smile and breathe deeply. Slow down your rate of speech and take a pause to emphasize your key points. This will also give the audience time to take any notes they may use later for recollection. Don’t forget to look at the audience. Find a few friendly faces in different areas of the room and let your eyes settle in that direction for at least three full seconds. This will help you appear more sincere, convincing and sure of your material. If you are using slides or some other visual aids to illustrate your presentation, do not focus on the slides or your notes. Audience eye contact shows confidence in your materials and it can give you clues as to what points are being understood and what points are not getting across.

Once your presentation is completed, don’t be in such a hurry to exit the room. If your presentation went well, audience members will want to meet you. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions from interested participants. If the presentation did not go well, you may be able to pick up some tips from any participants lagging behind. Questions and comments can help you improve your presentation for the next time and build confidence that yes, you know your stuff.

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