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Nail Presentations like a pro - Top Tip Toolbox

Posted: 29 July 2015

We've all had to get up there, swallow the nerves and present the heck out of something before. No matter how confident a speaker you are, there's no denying that the success of any presentation is in its preparation. Any good presentation pro will have an arsenal of go-to tricks and techniques they call on when it comes to crafting and delivering a killer speech.

Awesome platforms like TED talks have re-taught us all about the wonders of giving a great presentation. The days of fumbling your way through a long-winded Powerpoint affair are far from the modern standard of presentations. You can have the most inspiring story of all time but if your structure sucks or you can’t hold the crowd’s eyes then you’re goosed. Having a solid tip list is your best defence against presentation floppery. Here is such a list.

#1 - Pick the right software.

Powerpoint has long been the signature presentation software. There’s nothing up with good old PP but there is some great other options out there. Tailor your software around your presentation is not the other way around. A good software fit can enhance and better communicate your content so don’t just reach for your usual option.

Google Drive Slides, Apple’s Keynote and Prezi are all sound alternatives and offer some pretty nifty features that can do super things for your content.

#2 - Get your theme down.

Regardless of your presentation’s purpose, there will be a theme locked away in there. Find it. Your theme is what will carry the flow and focus of your presentation so don’t neglect its discovery. This ties in with your main message, something that needs to be repeated a good 2-3 times throughout your speech, so be sure to match the pair up.

This theme will underpin the style and quality of your leave behind so ID it early on - struggle, collaboration, learning, confidence, it can be anything so take the time to really get to grips with what lays beneath.

#3 - Make eye contact.

It’s an oldie but a goodie. This is the easiest and most impactful way to connect with your audience. People like to see speakers who are passionate and genuine and a great way to convey that is project as much confidence as possible. It also shows that you actually know what you’re talking about, and not just reading off cue cards.

#4 - What’s the story?

Just like a theme, there’s a story at the heart of every presentation. It doesn’t need to be a life story type of deal but there’s something you can personalise and root in a lesson learnt. Real life insight, struggles overcome, problems experienced and conquered are all seriously engaging.

Align your story with a structure. Create a beginning (set up the topic and what’s coming their way), a middle (problems, solutions, personal insight) and an end (parting knowledge and inspiring conclusion).

#5 - Do your research.

Your audience set the bar for your presentation, don’t go in there blind. Maybe they prefer their info to be delivered visually? Maybe they’ve attended presentations of a similar style to yours, how can you resonate more? What level of knowledge and interest are they bringing to the event? Failing to know your audience sets you up for a pretty big fall.

#6 - Avoid boring bullets.

Yes they may be clear but they’re not the most engaging thing in the world. Always champion clarity but in the most audience-friendly way possible. Can an image represent your point better than text? Would a short video or animation be more interesting? This presentation is your personal brand in action so don’t bog it down with yawn-inducing gumf. Remember a video or image makes for much better social content so be sure important aspects of your presentation can translate to social media easily.

#7 - Plan on paper.

Before you reach for the software, get old fashioned with your planning. Pen and paper give you a different insight into the content of the presentation. Physically writing it down and gives you a peek into flow that digital tools don’t. Read your presentation out loud as you create so you can spot any awkward aspects straight away.

#8 - Create a supplement doc.

Everyone loves something they can take away and digest at their own rate. Utilise your slides by creating a supplement doc that your audience can grab and go. Brand it up and make sure it’s created with the same vision and effort as the presentation itself.

Don’t underestimate the power of a great presentation, it really is an art form these days. There’s resources galore out there that can you help you structure and deliver a quality presentation but getting the human heart and story of one is a whole other kettle of fish. Before you embark on your presentation adventure, commit to using this platform to its full advantage.

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