Have you ever been asked to deliver a presentation for senior management, a project team, or at a community event or meeting? What steps did you take to ensure a successful, well thought out presentation that met the specific needs of your audience? A lot goes into the planning and preparation of a professional presentation.
Here is a 5-step process that will help you prepare your presentation and deliver it with confidence anytime, anywhere.
Step 1: Plan
Determine the purpose of the presentation. Are you being asked to inform, persuade, inspire, or entertain the audience? When you determine the purpose, it will dictate the style of the presentation, the supporting information, and the examples and stories you’ll use. It’s also important to analyze the audience. Answer the question, “Who are these people and what do they want to know?” In the planning stage, you’ll generate and organize ideas and start to develop an outline of your presentation.
Step 2: Write
Take the ideas you generated in step one and structure them into the opening, body, and closing. Use the “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you just told them” method. Make sure that 10% of your presentation time is spent on the opening, 80% on the body (e.g. ideas, facts, and supporting material), and 10% on the closing.
Step 3: Prepare
Practice the presentation you have written. Practice the opening, body, and closing in separate chunks. Continue practicing until you can put it all together. If possible, practice in front of people, just like a dress rehearsal. In addition to preparing yourself with the content of the presentation, think about logistics. Consider the number of people, the room size and layout, audiovisuals, and time allotted.
Step 4: Deliver
Deliver the presentation just as you wrote and practiced it with the opening, body, and closing. Speak conversationally and in a non-scripted manner to make a more natural vocal impression. Ensure the volume of your voice is loud enough to be heard by everyone. Use a friendly, resonant voice, and avoid a dry, flat tone.
Step 5: Evaluate
Conduct a self-evaluation of the presentation. Be honest and fair with yourself. Consider things you did well and make note of areas for improvement. If it’s possible, have a friend or colleague sit in on the presentation to provide feedback.
Follow these five steps to deliver an effective, professional presentation. As a bonus tip, try to speak in front of an audience regularly as it can be difficult to deliver sharp, professional presentations if you don’t speak publicly on a regular basis.
Take a peek at our Professional Presentation Skills workshop for a more in-depth focus of each step in this process. You’ll have tons of opportunities to practice and receive feedback on your presentation skills!