The same meeting management principles as
previously described still apply when setting up a meeting presentation. Giving a presentation, however, differs from
moderating or leading a meeting.
Meetings alone can be a nervous enough experience, but when you have to
actually give a presentation, you are presenting yourself as well as the
subject at hand. You do not want to
come across as a dull and unimaginable person.
Even though you might know what you are talking about, the impression
and perception you leave with a poor presentation will question your managerial
capabilities. It might not seem fair,
but that is the way it is.
The good news is that with the right
preparation, you will find that you will not only give a great presentation,
but also truly impress your staff, boss, and upper management. You might still be nervous, but at least in
control. The best defense against
anxiety is knowledge, honesty, and full preparation. When you present well, you will gain respect and be seen more
authoritative. Effective speaking and
presentation capabilities can even lead to further promotion, as this is not a
skill everyone possesses.
Here are 15 valuable tips to use when giving a
thoroughly prepared. You will impress your audience with obvious preparation. Know your subject well along with a message
that is clearly stated. If you
have any doubts, seek advice.
There is nothing wrong with asking for some tips or help.
about the flow of the presentation, but not word-for-word. You want to be fully prepared and
confident on the key discussion points, but you should not have a
word-for-word speech memorized. If
you rehearse your presentation too much, you will sound like a robot. You need to know what you are going to
say, just make sure it flows naturally.
Have a strong opening and
closing. You want an eye-opener to grab
their attention, and a grand slam to leave them with a good impression.
Have an introduction that
will consist on what is going to be talked about, and a conclusion to review
what had been discussed.
Create a list of key
points. If you are not using
PowerPoint, be sure you have the main discussion points right in front of you
so you do not forget any important topics.
Support your introduction
with your slides or materials, and use the key points to transition from one
point to the next. Be sure your points
flow and connect logically.
Summarize by asking if they
have any questions. This not only helps
end the presentation, but also justifies the understanding on what has just
Now practice by visualizing
yourself giving a great presentation.
You will naturally be unique; there is only one you. Think about moments of possible applauding,
your opening line, going through the slides or materials, questions that might
be asked, how you will answer difficult questions, when to tell a joke along
with hearing the laughter, and your closing comments.
Perform a practice
presentation, especially if using PowerPoint, by going through each topic or
slide. Use your notes or laptop to
recite the presentation. Look in the
mirror or record yourself if you are unsure about your delivery. There are speech-training organizations such as “Toastmasters”
that can help build your public speaking confidence. If you have time, it would be a good idea to look into a communication
course of some sort.
- If using PowerPoint…
Keep the slides simple and don’t put too many words on them. The object is for your audience to see,
not read, the material. You want
big graphics with just a few important words. This will make the presentation more interesting. Your job is to talk about the meaning
of the visual graphics. It is
strongly suggested to learn PowerPoint if you have not done so
already. Here are six points to
keep in mind when creating a PowerPoint presentation:
“Title” page – This
should contain the Title presentation name, Organization name, Company logo,
and date. You can add your name if you
would like. Try to have your company
graphic somewhere in the background, just make sure the slide does not look too
“Agenda” page – List a few bullet points which will go over the main points that
will be discussed.
“Objective” page – Create a short statement which gives the desired outcome of this
“Subject Body Matter” - Create a slide
with a keyword or statement to discuss the main point. Some ideas would be to state the problems,
solutions, costs if applicable, and action items. Your talking points from your main point should be
presented one at a time, in bullet point form, each time you hit the space bar.
Keep your text simple. The text on a slide is primarily there for
you to key off as speaker. Try to keep
each bullet point to just one line, so that the text does not look too
crowded. Less is more when it comes to visual presentations. Only use the extra features when necessary
so you do not distract your audience from your main points. Unlike the title page, the background should
consist of very little graphics. Be
sure to use high contrast between background color and text color so people can
clearly see the material. The amount of
slides you should use depends on the nature of the presentation. If your presentation is to educate or sell,
you should keep the number to around 5 or 6.
You should spend no more than 1 minute on your main point. Try not to go over 2 or 3 minutes per
additional bullet point. If your
presentation requires a lot of statistical data, you might need around 20 to 25
slides. If this is the case, each main
point and following bullet points should be no more than 1 or 2 minutes per
slide. Keep the total time in mind
when creating your presentation. You do
not want to go too long or too short.
“Summary” page – List the points of what was just discussed, along with the
“Questions?” page – This simple page would be at the very end of the
presentation. This is the time you ask
the audience if they have any questions.
This is also the indicator that the presentation is about to end.
- If you are using a projector… If you have never used a projector
before, you should practice setting up and taking down the projector and
laptop at least 5 times before you give your first presentation. Your goal is to be able to do this with
your eyes closed. Have the
PowerPoint file on your laptop desktop for easy access. Pack up all equipment for easy set up
and take down, and if possible have a spare projector lamp and cord.
- Always have a
backup plan… Projectors might break down, your laptop might not boot up, or
some other complex equipment will inevitably go
wrong at the worst possible moment.
If this happens, most importantly keep calm. Don’t lose your cool and be bumbling
around trying to fix everything.
If you can show grace under pressure, you will be seen as an
emotionally controlled manager.
Make sure to have a copy of the main talking points that you can
discuss. Just start back up
verbally, instead of visually, where you left off.
your audience. Think about what it will take to get them interested right
from the beginning. If it is an
audience who is not technical, do not blind them with science. If the audience is technically
inclined, do not use meaningless eye candy graphics. A good-looking presentation that has
irrelevant meaning to the audience will be a waste of time. A presentation to upper management
would most likely be much different than a presentation to your front line
staff. If it were a mix from low
end to high-end personnel, then you would need to mix up the presentation
the true goal for the presentation. You need to know exactly what it is you
need to accomplish buy giving this presentation. It is imperative you get your point across on your
expectations, and if applicable, what upper management expects from you.
at the audience as a whole.
Don’t just single out one or two people. Instead, try to make eye contact with
numerous people throughout the room.
If you just look at a one or two people, not only will you make
them nervous, you won’t be including the audience as a whole. They might lose attention and feel like
they are unimportant to the mission at hand. A good tip is to find a couple of individuals on the right,
center, and left that you can use as a target. Try to spot these people out before you start the
presentation. They should also be
located in the middle rows. This
will help you keep from just looking at the people in the front row. While talking to them, swing your view
from one person to the next casually and slowly. Pause for a longer period while looking straight ahead. Try not to stare. Don’t feel like you have to always be
looking around, just casually glance around the room. Try to make them feel comfortable. If you are giving a presentation to
just a few people, then just be sure to give each person at least a couple
your personality, don’t
be stiff, and make them laugh.
Show your character and charisma when presenting. Be passionate about the subject. Move around a bit and show that you are
relaxed. It should not feel like a
boring school lecture either. Tell stories that relate to what you are
talking about. Make them laugh to
ease any tension. This also helps
them re-adjust to the serious material.
with your audience, not down to them. You want to hold the audiences interest, not yours. You need to interact by creating a
conversation. Ask them questions
and listen carefully when you’re asked a question. Never cut them off, and make your
Flexible. Stick to your
main points, but be ready to adjust your presentation to the particular
desires of your audience. Gloss
over minor points for which your audience has no interest. Welcome questions and comments.
not to use “uhm” or “ah” words.
It becomes a distraction and people even play games by counting the
number of times these useless words are said, which distracts them to
listen to the topic at hand.
be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” If your unsure about a
question, just take a note and let them know you will get back to them
with an answer.
- Know when to
end the presentation. If you’re running behind, start to wrap it up as fast as
possible. Your employees and upper
managements time is precious and you don’t want them looking at their
watches. If you feel
like the meeting in not going the way you expected and you are getting
sighs of boredom, you might want to skip the least important points and
just focus on the remaining points.
want you to succeed. Just
remember that you’re not giving a presentation to be judged for a score,
it is to convey information. If
you have fun with presenting, the audience will leave happy. You will get through it and will be
admired for the ability to give such a presentation.