Presentations can be a nerve-racking experience! However it can be an effective way of delivering your message, as you’re directly in front of your target audience. And it can expose you to a variety of actors in your industry.

You can incorporate presentations into your marketing efforts and use them for a variety of different purposes, such as:

  1. Running training programs
  2. Presenting sales proposals and briefings
  3. Demonstrating your product
  4. Presenting research findings.

PowerPoint is commonly used for giving presentations and appears to be people’s favorite choice.

How do I prepare for my presentation?

Objective

Before you begin working on your presentation. Start by thinking about what you want to achieve with your talk and define your objectives accordingly.

Who’s your audience?

Find out who your audience is to determine how much they know about the topic you’ll be presenting. This is important because it helps you refine your presentation according to the level of your audience.

How do you want your audience to feel?

Do you want them to feel excited about your new product? Or let them know how simple your product is to use? It’s up to you decide and tailor your presentation in line with your objectives.

Understand your product & service

Make sure you know your product inside out, so you’re able to answer any questions that might arise. You probably want to avoid Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment happening to you.

Brainstorm

Try and come up with as many ideas as possible for your presentation. Don’t worry about quality during the brainstorming. You can weed them out later on.

Structure it

Next up is structuring your presentation. Which brings us to the next subheading..

How do I structure my presentation?

The structure mainly depends on what you want to achieve with your presentation and there several ways you can approach. However, here is an example of a structure you can use:

Opening statement

Begin with saying why you’re there. Keep it brief and don’t let it be longer than 90 seconds.

Outline

Present what you’re going to talk about. It could be a solution to a problem people are experiencing and your company or product can help.

Explain

Tell the audience why your solution is better than what’s available at the moment. Explain why they should invest in your company or buy your products. Also try to focus on the additional value you bring to the table, which your competitors don’t.

Evidence to back you up

Introduce any evidence that backs up your earlier points. They can be in form of statistics, testimonials, awards or press coverage. This will make you and your presentation more credible in front of your audience.

Call to action

Don’t make your audience guess what to do next. If you want feedback, ask for feedback. If you want them to make an order, tell them where they can go order. Give them a call to action, if you want them to act.

What should I avoid?

Using too many words on a slide

The slides are there to help you and are not meant to be used as a script for you. Having too many words distracts your audience and shifts the focus away from your talk. Use as few words as you can to emphasis the points you’re making.

Transitions

You want to make a great impression and might be tempted to show off what you can do with all those animation features on PowerPoint. Remember to keep it simple and keep those animations to a minimum. You’re children may think there cool but when presenting in front investors and clients, you’ll come across as unprofessional.

Complicated tables and charts

At some point you’ll want to add your statistics you found as tables and chart into your slides. They may look good on your Mac, but when projected it can be troublesome to read. Make sure your charts are simple and not overly complicated to make it easier to read for your audience.

Poor color combinations

Make sure the colors you use, make your text easy to read. Using yellow on white or red on green makes it really difficult and is annoying to read.

Small font size & long paragraphs

Make sure your font is easy to read and big enough for the people at the back to see. Avoid long paragraphs in your slides as it gives your audience too much to read and diverts their attention away from you. Remember that the text on your slides is to emphasize a point your making. Keep bullet points to a maximum of five and number of words to six per bullet point.

Tom Fishburne wrote an insightful piece on presentations, especially concerning the use of PowerPoint. Check out his post “Death by PowerPoint” to learn more about it.