Top tips for effective presentations

Whether you are an experienced presenter or a complete newbie, there are various techniques to make a great presentation even greater.

  • First off, when you prepare your presentation bear in mind what the audience needs and wants to know, avoid jargon and make it easy for them to understand.
  • Heard of the phrase ‘Death by PowerPoint’? A good set of slides should contain less rather than more, it is a prompt for your presentation, not the presentation itself. Guy Kawasaki of Apple recommends a maximum of ten slides, which last no more than 20 minutes and uses a font size of no less than 30 point. Avoid cheesy effects, clipart and focus on simple design basics.
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  • Start with a powerful hook – you need to grab your audience’s attention and hold onto it before they switch off – tell a short story or use an attention grabbing image that connects to a wider point you are making. Do not forget to finish with a 30-second summary at the end – experts say this is the most effective way to get your key message across. 
  • Before presenting your material, do a dress rehearsal to get honest feedback and then take what you have learnt, make any modifications to your presentation and rehearse repeatedly. 

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  • The most important thing you can do is to connect with your audience and the best way to achieve that is to show how passionate you are about the subject and ask questions. It may sound obvious, but do not forget to appear confident, smile and make eye contact with your audience (rather than fixed on the screen or your note cards) – it helps to further build up rapport. 
  • Do not talk too fast or quietly – keep your tone lively and personable – and refrain from crossing your arms, putting your hands behind your back or in your pockets, and pacing the stage. Most importantly try and act naturally and enjoy yourself – you will find it much easier to present and a speaker’s enthusiasm is always infectious.