When you make a presentation, there exists a fine line between too much information and too little, especially as it relates to technical information. Inundating your audience with technical information or complex jargon can result in problems with audiences losing interest or being unable to digest the data being presented.
Outstanding presenters and presentations cause the audience to relate to what is said and make any subject accessible and engaging, while at the same time working around the specifics of a presentation format. When preparing a presentation, consider the following:
1 – Explain Your Key Points and Structure
A good presentation should begin by outlining a few key points, as well as how you will be structuring the presentation. The conclusion should then briefly recap and emphasize your main points, in effect explaining what you have just spoken about. It may seem like an obvious approach, but inserting this structure will help to orient your audience.
2 – Rehearse
Significant amounts of rehearsal time will help you become comfortable with the format and material, along with the timing and appropriate emphasis. Without adequate rehearsal you will find it necessary to rely too heavily upon your notes and in the end you will appear as though you are reading.
During rehearsal, envision and predict the audience’s reaction and response to your comments and time your inflection and subject changes accordingly. Just as comedic timing is essential to a comedian’s success, dramatic and informational timing is important for presenters of all types.
3 – Know Your stage
Never walk into an unfamiliar scene and present. Know the stage, the lighting, and the sound. Be sure that the lectern available has the reading light and other accoutrements you require, such as cup holder, drop down for your laptop, built in sound etc., and that it is the proper height. When using adjustable height lecterns either set your height in advance or when following another speaker be sure you know how the height adjustment feature works and the lectern height that is most comfortable for you.
Bottom line, there is no substitute for preparation and with it comes confidence!