Top 10 Tips for preparing a presentation

Mon 18th Jan 2016

Public Speaking skills are not something you either have or don’t. They are learnt skills. Some may learn earlier or easier than others but they still need to be learnt. Here are some proven presentation skills tips on how to prepare an effective business presentation that won’t bore the audience! 

  1. Mindset – You need a good mindset before you can get your head round skill sets such preparation. If you are nervous or scared of presenting you’ll avoid the prep stage – you’ll be too busy worrying or burying your head in the sand. You may need to “Tame Your Public Speaking Monkeys” as I call it.
  2. Once your mindset is in the right place, you need to think about who the audience are – team members, employees, agencies, board members etc.
  3. Next imagine you are an audience member and ask yourself: a. ”What do I want from this presentation?” b. What preconceived ideas might I bringing to this presentation already? c. What do I need to see/hear/feel in order to make a decision or take action? d. List all your potential objections large and small.
  4. If there are different groups in the audience with different needs (like finance and marketing) then you need to answer the questions above for each and every group.
  5. Then put pen to paper. Do not prepare by opening the lap top and staring at a tile page in PowerPoint whilst considering what font and pretty picture to use!
  6. Use the simple 4MAT® approach to designing ANY presentation. Using the 4MAT® system means that people with all different styles will get what they need from your talk. a. Deliver a short introduction, no more than two sentences. b. Give your audience three reasons as to why they would want to listen to your talk. c. Share the actual content of your talk, the what. This is best split into 3 chunks. d. Explain how the audience can use the information you have shared. e. Allow ample time for the audience to ask questions and reflect. Then wrap up.
  7. Allocate your time into the sections, for example a 20 minute presentation might look like this: Intro and 3 reasons: 4 minutes, content: 8 minutes (allocate that into your 3 chunks), usability: 4 minutes and questions: 4 minutes. Already you may realise you don’t have as long as you thought and need to adjust your content accordingly!
  8. Run through your 4MAT out loud. Change and amend it until the storyline flows well and your timings work.
  9. Only then “add the meat to the bones” once you know it is the right “meat” to add. Too many people prepare in detail immediately, are unaware of their timings and thus share far too much irrelevant (for the audience) information. Boring!
  10. Consider how you will illustrate all your key messages with a diagram, “Smart Art” or flow chart and sketch them out. Perhaps a prepared and appropriate hand movement, a prop or other demonstration will be more appropriate. 

Now you are well prepared and ready for the next step – practising your presentation. Notice we still haven’t prepared any PowerPoint slides yet! If they are needed at all that will be the final step.

Dee Clayton from Simply Amazing Training specialises in Public Speaking Training and mentoring equipping you with the skills and confidence for business presentations, networking events, team meetings – in fact, just about any occasion where communication is key.