Most people can recognize a great presentation, the kind that leaves the audience engaged, entertained and inspired. But it’s much more difficult to create one. I can get overwhelmed by the process of conveying something to an audience in a way that’s both easy to understand and fun to listen to. Fortunately there are certain elements that can make or break a presentation, so the trick is paying attention to the basics.
Just like any good pitch, essay or any other kind of communication, your presentation should have a clear, core message. No matter the complexity of the topic, it’s the presenter’s job to make sure the audience follows along. One foolproof way to keep them on track is to understand what they want to hear. Focus on the needs and interests of your target audience to deliver the contents of the presentation. Use relatable anecdotes, helpful facts and demonstrate that you know why this topic matters to them.
Presentations are a unique opportunity to make your messages visual. That being said, the audiovisual aids should only be there to enhance each point . The speaker is the primary vessel of information, so slides should never be so text heavy that they distract. In fact, some of the best presentations have very few words at all. Find a high quality series of coherent images to keep your audience looking up and leaning in. Try curated online photo libraries like Unsplash for inspiration.
3. Body language
Presenters by definition have a certain level of expertise on their topic. Audiences pay attention because they want to leave more knowledgeable than they came. So own the topic, demonstrate the passion you have for the material through confident body language. Stand up straight, project your voice and make sure to pause frequently so that the audience has a time to process each new piece of information.
A presentation is not just a live reading of a memo, it’s an opportunity to convey information in new and meaningful ways. One of the best ways to make a lasting impression is telling stories because humans are hardwired to learn from them. Help your audience tune in by offering your ideas in a recognizable narrative arch. People can remember concrete details better than concepts.
Photo by Tong Vo via Unsplash