Delivering Effective Presentations

Delivering an effective presentation is critical in most teaching and business practices. Without conveying the right information in a manner that is useful and retainable is a waste of time and the desired results will not be achieved. When delivering a presentation to a group you want to take on the role of an instructor and as an instructor you are responsible for meeting the needs of your target audience. By taking into account the groups education, skills, goals, needs, and previous training you can tailor your information and presentation accordingly.

Effective Presentations Tips

The following are some tips for delivering effective presentations:

  • Familiarize yourself with the information and the technical content.
  • Practice the presentation out loud in front of the mirror several times.
  • Use proper English and language familiar to your target audience, avoiding jargon and unfamiliar terms.
  • Be conscious of your tone, speak clearly, and pace your speech.
  • Avoid tangents and getting off track during your presentation.
  • Make eye contact with the audience and look around the room.
  • Encourage participation by asking questions and leave time to answer questions if necessary.
  • Use natural and positive body language.
  • Be yourself.
  • Avoid pacing, nervous habits, and fidgeting.

When delivering a presentation you may us a variety of aids. Depending on the type of presentation and the involvement of the audience you may consider using:

  1. Visual Aids
  2. Handouts
  3. Chart Paper

Most presentations these days require some form of aid and are extremely helpful in educating your target audience. However there are some tips when using aids during your presentation.

Tips for Using Visual Aids During a Presentation

  • Keep the visual aid out of sight until you are ready to use them.
  • Don’t stand in front of your visual aid stand on either side.
  • Don’t face your visual aid or read from it, face your audience.
  • Don’t block your face with the visual aid.
  • Continue to look around the room and make eye contact with your audience.
  • Make sure the audience has enough time to read and understand the visual aid before going on to the next slide or any visual aid being used.
  • If your visual aid is something other than a PowerPoint presentation and you have to physically move it make sure you know where it goes when you are ready to take it down.
  • If you are using a projector, turn it off when not in use. The noise can be distracting to the audience.
  • If you are done using a visual aid remember to cover or remove it.

When practicing your presentation it is important to practice using your visual aid as well. Your visual aids should not contain any grammatical errors. They should also be simple, easy to read, and clutter free.

Tips for Using Handouts During a Presentation

Some presentations require a large amount of information that you may not have time to cover completely or would be difficult to see and understand with a slide presentation. By giving the audience a handout they will have something to reference later.

  • Have enough handouts prepared ahead of time.
  • Make sure the handout is concise and designed for easy reading.
  • Title the handouts and number the pages accordingly.
  • If you will be referring to the handouts frequently it may be helpful to use colored paper to make locating the handouts easier.
  • Distribute the handouts to each participant before discussing the content.

Tips for Using Chart Paper During a Presentation

Using chart paper is a great tool when there is going to be a lot of interaction between yourself and the audience. Chart paper allows you to capture meaningful information generated by discussions.

  • When using chart paper have your titles written on each page in advance.
  • Write large, clear, and bold letters, using 20 words per page as your guide.
  • Avoid writing with light colors.
  • Write down only key ideas and thoughts.
  • Check spelling.
  • Leave a blank page between each of your charts.
  • Tab your sheets with post-its, tape, or dog-ears if you need to reference them.
  • Do not talk while writing, write then turn to the audience and address them.
  • Don’t block the audiences’ view of the chart. Ask if everyone can see it okay.
  • Practice before presenting to get the basics down and how it feels and looks to write on chart paper. Practice flipping to your reference pages and so on.

As you can see there can be a lot that goes into delivering an effective presentation however when done correctly you will leave them talking for weeks on how well you did. Now that we have covered things to do lets cover what not to do when delivering a presentation.

  • Don’t read verbatim from notes, slides, or script.
  • Don’t fail to prepare.
  • Don’t go off on tangents.
  • Don’t avoid eye contact.
  • Don’t use confusing or cluttered visual aids.
  • Don’t behave in a condescending or superior manner.
  • Don’t use language that is either too simple or too complex for your target audience.
  • Don’t use offensive humor.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t deliver.

Lastly when it comes to delivering an effective presentation you will need to be prepared for potential challenges. What are you going to do if you are asked a question you don’t know the answer too? What if no one responds to one of your questions? What if someone is rude or uncooperative? Having the answers to these questions and others that you may think of may help you get through your presentation while maintaining control of the situation.

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