In some workplaces it’s called Powerpoint overkill – where all presentations use the same templates and program for every single topic in the office that needs to be addressed. So how do you make your presentations interesting when it’s your turn to present to your workplace or at your next meeting?
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
– George Jessel
I once read that when you are developing a new presentation, plan on spending one hour of preparation time for each minute of presentation time. If you are speaking for 20 minutes, you should invest 20 hours in research, development, organizing, outlining, fleshing out, preparing supporting material and aids as well as rehearsing your presentation. As an EA – do we seriously have that amount of time to dedicate to this? NO! Could you imagine every blog post taking that long to research and organise? NO! We do not live in a day and age where we have the luxury to spend hours on preparation. We need information and we need it fast. We need time saving tips, and we needed them yesterday.
Try following these guidelines to make the process much simpler and ensure you aren’t wasting time with your research:
Step One : Purpose
Is the session informative or persuasive?
Step Two: Audience Analysis
What type of people are you presenting to?
How am I going to connect to each group / type of people?
Step Three: Venue Reconnaissance
Do you have everything you need at the venue?
Only required if you are presenting at an external location to your office.
Step Four: Outline Plan & Structure
Work out a brief outline plan and structure prior to getting started on the content. Basic principles like working out if you will structure the presentation by time, by classification, by topic or by principle.
Step Five: Write up your Content
Write up your content based on your outline plan and structure. Any further research you want to do from there will be visible once you start writing.
Remember these main objectives in your content:
– Limit visual content and provide detail in your handouts
– Use only six to seven lines on each slide, and only six to seven words per line
– Reduce to simple key words and use summaries, not paragraphs
– Use Bullets or asterisks instead of numbers
– Keep Heading Bold
– Use caption or cartoons to highlight major points, Use visuals as an aid, not the entire presentation
– Use colour to enhance your slide, 2 or 3 complementary colours are great, more is too busy
– Avoid fancy fonts that are too difficult to read and don’t use different fonts
– Don’t use all the bells and whistles on PowerPoint – simple visuals will have people listening to your message (animation risks becoming tedious and seeming unprofessional)
– Avoid using apologetic statements
– Don’t use a story that does not relate to your topic.
– Most important: check spelling every time. Having incorrectly spelled words reduces the credibility of your presentation.
A conclusion hammers home the importance of the subject, summarises main points or makes recommendations. You must watch the clock, and ensure you have sufficient time to close the presentation as you planned.
When Answering Questions don’t forget TRAM:
Thank – Thank the respondent questioner, make eye contact, using their name if possible, and making a positive comment about their response.
Restate – Re-iterate the question
Answer – Provide a response that answers the question
Maintain Truth – Maintain the similarity between your presentation and day to day work to show sincerity.
I give the same mashed potatoes for each speech, I just change the gravy.– Dr Norman Vincent Peale
Once you’ve written one presentation, they will be easier. Maintaining the outline plan and structure that works for you will make writing the content easier and less time consuming for your next presentation.
What hints and tips work for you?