How can you master the art of successful presenting?
How can you master the art of successful presenting?
Master your presentationmission.
Setyour presentation points.
Preparation & Practice.
Master the introduction to your presentation.
Attractive, helpful& effective Power-Point.
Question & answer session & how to master them.
Keeping the audienceinterested.
No one ever said thatmastering the artof presentation was easy, rightly so.Others mighthavesaid
thatgood presenters are naturalpresenters, which is nottrue. This reportis written with an aim to prove
this point & to provide an overview of mastering this art of successful presentations. Everyone can
presentwith flair, style & success. Everyone can be effective. Yes, it requires understanding of good
presenting practice & some adherence to guidelines, these aren’t rigid rules though. Good presenting
will come to you ultimately as natural with time & experience. It is said that “great speakers aren’t
born, they’re trained”. That is true, very true.
Being asked to give a public presentation is frightening. The feeling of fright is entirely natural
caused mainly by the uncertainty & the unknown, due to the questions which surround our thinking
machine. Whatif thatgoes wrong? Whatif this happens? Whatif, whatif & a lot of what ifs are there,
they need to be calmed down, by putting some ice on it? Typically it is typically tackled by solid
preparation & planning. Itcan also be overcome bypersonalmotivation. Putaside these naturalhuman
emotions, gratification & fear because there is an immediate set of priorities for your attention. This
fear is in everybody, its extent may vary & it can’t be eliminated. One should look to use it
constructively for his own benefit. We should keep reminding ourselves that we’ll not make fools of
ourselves because greatspeakers have complete control of their fear; they make fear their slaves, not
the master. That’s how fears are mastered.
Master your presentation Mission:
How familiar is this scenario? Do you typicallyclick on the Power-Pointicon immediately youare
tasked with preparing a presentation? If that is the case then you definitely have common cause with
mostof us, and regrettably itis a big mistake. It’s a mistake because your presentation focus is already
upon the mechanicsof slides, decks, visuals, clipart, logos & templates. Such a focus will be needed
but much later. For now your focus has to be on your expected outcome & achievement.
Before you click on the Power-Point icon you should draft in a single sentence the planned
achievementof your presentation, this is generally called mission statement. You should consider the
following questions at this stage:
After my presentation what will the audience do that is different?
After my presentation what will the audience know that is different?
Once they have heard the presentation what will they believe that is different?
Set your presentation points:
How you choose to organize your presentation has a major impact upon your success as a
presenter. It’s true thatthere is more to it than preparing a Power-Pointslide deck.Butorganizing your
presentation doesn’t have to be hard work.
You seta mission or purpose for your presentation. Your mission mightserveone or severalof the
Entertain: Itmightnotbe the purpose thatcomes to mind when youthink about the presentation goals
butlooking to achieve something with your presentation requires more stimulation than the auditor’s
coffee will achieve on its own. Your presentation must possess dynamism of its own, a sense of
happening & activity that encourages your audience to listen, understand & participate.
Motivate: As a speaker you have the opportunity to encourage others to achieve. With your
presentation you caninvestigate a new approach, a new commitmentor justa revised enthusiasm to get
something done. You can use a motivational effect to great effect.
Inspire: Being an inspiration to others is not only for the annual sales conference. It’s something that
you can aim for in many other presentations. With your spoken word you can animate other people
with new thoughts, ideas & concepts. You can energize the tired or those facing new competitive
challenges at work.
Inform: You often enthuse abouta presentation in which you acquire new learning. You acknowledge
thatthe presentation can be a learning medium it can inform. Presentations are ideal opportunities to
inform others of progress, new developments, announcements, new product or market opportunities.
Their appeal does diminish, however, when the presentation content is poorly managed. Litanies of
lists, stacks of statistics & a bundle of bullets willdefeatany audience. You must be careful when you
inform. Your role is to convey meaning & clarify both facts & data. Your audience looks to you, the
presenter, for meaning & interpretation of the facts.
Persuade: As a presenter you are often tasked with persuading others to take action, actions that they
mightotherwise nottake. Your presentation cancertainly takea persuasive purpose. But be alert to the
need to argue the case for action.
Advocate: Beyond a court of law most presenter advocates are identified with their catchy titles. In
their presentation they advocate their cause, technologyor productfor example. Advocating a cause or
a course of action can be a very simple & powerfulpurpose in presentation, butremember to justify the
need for action with reason, logic or empathy.
The six main purposes of a presentation are not mutually exclusive. In each instance you should
note the impactyour presentation will have on your audience. Take some time to consider how your
audience willfeelaboutthe subjectafter your presentation. Ponder what their views will be once you
Preparation & Practice:
The most time consuming & mind torturing stage of designing a perfect presentation is this
preparation stage. Wayne Bur Graff said “It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of
It involves collection of data then choosing most relevant among it & then sequencing of that data.
Mastering the artof presentation requiresboth practice and,importantly, rehearsal. It’s true thata touch
of anxiety makes for a better performance buttoo much anxiety has the opposite effect. When you’re
over-anxious about your presentation the raw emotion that makes for a successful presentation
performance is replacedby a faltering, unstructured & disorganized speech.Preparation& rehearsalare
vital when you need to manage this mix of emotions. These five effective rehearsal techniques will
boost your performance when you present:
1. Sitdown & read silently. You should typeset& formatyour presentation as if you intended to
read it to your audience. Your aim is to read through the presentation getting to grips with the
sense of piece, its structure & meaning.
2. Sit down & read aloud. Once you’ve read through your presentation or power-point deck
severaltimes, you are ready to read aloud. Readingaloudis a vitalmemory enforcer helpingus
to visualize & memorize key points within the presentation.
3. Stand up & read aloud. Once you’ve read through your presentation several times its good
practice to do so standing up. When youstand upyou can apply emphasis to those passage of
speech that require special attention.
4. Stand up, read loud & move. With these key tasks completed you can now practice your
presentation aloud,movingaround.You should walk around & move your arms, pointing for
extra emphasis perhaps. You should move your head adjusting your gaze to establish eye
contact with an audience as make each decisive point.
5. Record your presentation. Your last rehearsal step is to prepare an audio recording of you
speaking. Your target is to prepare a recording that can listen to when travelling to & from
work or during a quiet moment at home or the ball game. Again you aren’t looking for
memorization but familiarization. And with familiarity goes confidence.
Master the introduction to your presentation:
When you begin your presentation youare at your most anxious & that’s entirely natural. No amount
of planning preparation or research will prepare you for your audience’s response. You only have a
few minutes in which to make the first impression. Your first comments are very important to you &
your audience.Your comments providethe opportunityto setoutyour goals, your purpose& structure,
essentialpointers for your audience to hook on to. Your openings words willestablish your expertise &
suggestto your audience whatcan you offer, whyyour presentation willbe either valuable or important
to them. And don’t forget that your opening should seize their attention from the beginning. To help
you there are five ways to open your speech.You can usethem on their own or combine them for even
1. A question.
2. A reference.
3. A quotation.
How you choose to begin your presentationdepends on your subject, your audience and the tone you
want to establish. A good beginning will set you up well for all that follows. It’s true that a good
opening is no guarantee of a masterful presentation. But it’s equally true that a weak opening comes
close to guaranteeing a weak presentation.
Perfect Body language:
Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behaviors & our behaviors change our
outcomes. We certainly don’t want our outcomes to change therefore there is every need of being
strong & confident. Give yourself a large personal space so that you don’t feel congested. Never lose
the eye contact with your audience because they are the most important component of your
presentation. You should keep a consistentsmile on your face& open body posture gives an extra feel
of confidence. Use your hands as pointers butavoid flapping & walkingaround is goodbutyou should
Preparing your next power-point presentation doesn’t have to be difficult. Yes, it’s true that the
medium has its problems. Butyou can solvemost of these problems by being more selective with the
many choices that the power-point provides. Make choice that suit you & don’t be pushed into
standard or inappropriate layouts. There are some essentials tips that should be followed.
1. If the software gets in the way of your main role, you shouldn’t use it.
2. Your font style must be consistent.
3. Choices of colors should be appropriate. Text color & background color should complement
each other so that it becomes easier to read.
4. Bullet Points. It’s the bulletpoints listthatcreates the mostproblems for your audience. There
are too many bulletpoints, too many words per bullet or just too many lists in a presentation.
They work best when you want summarize or signpost direction.
5. Don’t write too much text or data in the slides.
6. Aim to use effective visuals & videos.
7. Use relevant charts & graphs.
8. Don’t just read out the slides.
9. Use only one word where two might do.
Conclusion is an equally importantpartof your presentation, probably more than a few. In conclusion
you should tella brief summary, the major points you’vecovered in your presentation. Give your own
pointof view & thank the audience becausethey handledyou for quite long. Add a fitting quotation to
your presentation & leave with an impression thatnails your audience. Leave something in their mind
so they think & find answers to the questions you’ve created in your mind.
Question & answer session & howto master them:
After all the preparation you’ve done, there is still an outstanding task of preparing for questions &
answers session, thatmomentnear the end of your presentation when you ask for questions and your
heart jumps. To get the best results there are five main points to note before the event.
1. Be prepared. Each & every point that you make in your presentation could invite a question
from the audience. To prepare for this you need to work through allof your material. You need
to imagine & note down the questions that might come up. And finally you should aim to
become totally familiar with each of these questions & answers pairs.
2. Consider the audience.No matter how muchthoughtyouputinto predictingyour audience will
think of something else.
3. Note the news. In spite of all your presentation newsevents canstill conspire against you. The
evening before the presentationsimply pickup the newspaper & go throughthe headlines, find
out if anything is related to you or your presentation.
4. Be brief. Your answers must be brief, concise & to the point. This isn’t the time to discuss a
mass of arcane detail. Your answer should be directedbackto the questioner with plenty of eye
contact. If necessary you might need to repeat the question for the benefit of the rest of the
audience before you give an answer.
A properly executed question & answer session can be a rewarding experience for both speaker &
audience alike. Yes, there is a dependency on you to use imagination & resource in your preparation.
Keeping the audience interested:
As a speaker it might seem remarkable that some of your audience don’t listen to you. But it’s not
remarkable. It’s true. And there are goodreasons for an audience being in attentive. Some of them are:
1. Information overload.
2. Notunderstandingmind state of your audience.
4. Audience exhaustion.
In order to tackle these you should do something. You shouldn’t put too much information in your
presentation, less informationis more. Know whatyour audienceis up to, their routine, demands & all.
Your presentation shouldn’tbe too much lengthy, stay in time which you are assigned with. Deal the
noise with patience & try to eliminate the source of noise. Think ahead that how you are going to
speak, how many words per minute etc. Show enthusiasm& be more expressive. Audience should be
able to see the energy in you. Ask them questions so they stay alert& focused. Crack a joke every now
& then so that it doesn’t become boring & one dimensional.
Presentation Anxiety: Mastered
In the moments, hours or days before a presentation youcan be very anxious; anxious about yourself,
anxious aboutyour audience& anxiousaboutyour presentationstyle. Such anxiety canbe deeprooted.
It can become allover pervasive & threatening but fortunately there are techniques to both overcome
anxiety & actively use it to your advantage. There are three main techniques to master:
1. Preparation: Being prepared counts for everything. Effectiveplanning, preparation & rehearsal
2. Mental Preparation: Being ready to give a good presentation requires a state of mental
preparedness. Being prepared is one thing. Being up for it is another. You should remember
why it is thatyou are speaking.It’s because you have the expertise. You are the best& you are
the professional. Mentalpreparation requires youto remind yourself of your own capabilities.
You boost your own esteem & belief as a result.
3. Breathing: The bestrule for public speakingis:keep breathing, withoutitallis lost. Before you
begin your presentation you need to control your breathing with some breathing exercises.
Take deep breaths as it will help you control your anxiety & will slow your heart rate. When
you accelerate your speech you lose your breathing control, the heart increase its beat rate &
you become more anxious.
Your presentation become effective when you’re underlying anxiety, your nerves are channeled to
better effect. Your natural nerve state will result in a polished performance when you are in control.
Masterful Presentation Time:
One of the major problems experiencedby the presenters involves the time;notenoughtime, too much
time & running out of time. The difficulty is that when time becomes a problem you suffer, &
sometimes you go to pieces. Presentation timing problems cause anxiety & stress for a presenter. You
end up giving the wrong impression to the presentationaudience & youneed to fix the problem. There
are five key planning steps that you’ve to consider for any presentation.
1. Time to plan.
2. Plan to time.
3. Run to time.
4. Planning quick time.
5. Tangent time (Additional time).
Presentation timing doesn’t need to be a problem. And it certainly shouldn’t impact your
professionalperformanceas a speaker.You have the time to plan & use the time wisely. You know the
time slot available & you plan to fill it.
Your rehearsal techniques ensure that you do run to time and finish when you should. Your
planning & preparationmeansthatyou’re ready if asked for a shorter presentation, andyou canachieve
thatpolitely & professionally. And finally your investmentin research means that you’ve the material
to extend your presentationshould thatbe needed. A presenter’s time is there to be managed; you just
have to do it. Masterful.
Finally in my conclusion, I would like to say thata perfector close to perfectpresentation requires a lot
of practice, planning & preparation.As much you do these, it just makes you better & better. Control
your fear & anxiety. Don’t let them get to you. Keep & maintain a consistent eye contact with the
audience. Audience is the heart of all this stuff. Be confident, surely you are going to rise & shine if
you follow the right footsteps.
“Perfect Presentations” by Andrew Ivey.
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