Are you looking for ways to improve your presentation skills? Whether you will be presenting to a big audience or your colleagues in a meeting, good presentation skills will help you to get your message across effectively.

In their book, Business and Professional Communication (2019), Floyd and Cardon provide valuable tips on preparing for a presentation:

1. Create a purpose statement

What is the specific goal of your presentation?

Your goal should clearly state what it is you are delivering and what you want to achieve. Try to be as specific as you can. For example, is your goal to educate prospective clients on the importance of pensions (and stimulate interest in your services), or to persuade your colleagues to adopt one IT system over another?

2. Organise the body of your speech

What are the main points of your presentation? Most speeches have between two and five main points. Arrange your points by topic and organise them strategically, grouping them by theme.

3. Develop a complete outline

Breaking your speech into main points and sub-points will help to organise your thoughts and improve the flow.

4. Create a compelling introduction

Your introduction should grab your listeners’ attention and arouse their interest in your topic. One way to accomplish that goal is to open with a story that will spark your audience’s curiosity. Alternatively, you could open your presentation with a question.

5. Leaving with an effective conclusion

Your conclusion is the last part of your presentation that listeners will hear, meaning your concluding remarks need to accomplish four goals:

  1. Signal the end of the speech (you can do this verbally or nonverbally)
  2. Summarise your main points
  3. Create a memorable moment (to help them remember the presentation)
  4. End with a call to action (something for them to do next)

The success of your presentation depends heavily on both the introduction and conclusion. Your introduction needs to capture the interest of your listeners, while your ending needs to be compelling enough for them to remember it.

Bonus Tip: Practice

To maximise the effectiveness of your presentation, Balistrer (2002) recommends rehearsing your presentation, preferably to a small audience with whom you are comfortable and familiar. This provides an opportunity for supportive feedback.

Preparing for a presentation can be a daunting experience for most. At vectorise, we help people to develop their presentation techniques through coaching. If you want extra help with that all-important presentation, feel free to get in touch.

Further Reading

Balistrer, W.F. (2002) Giving an Effective Presentation. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 35: 1-4. (available from: http://journals.lww.com/jpgn/Fulltext/2002/07000/Giving_an_Effective_Presentation.1.aspx#)

Floyd K, Cardon P. (2019). Business and Professional Communication, 1st ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education

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