Giving presentations, typically PowerPoint, is mostly a routine matter for CEOs and top managers Business leaders extensively use PowerPoint for a multitude of purposes including showcasing their strategies, presenting their business plans, declaring their financial results, persuading investors to put their money in their business or conducting different training sessions.
With software, like Microsoft's PowerPoint, offering myriad features – different fonts and typefaces, bullet styles, customized backgrounds and foregrounds, charts, screen effects, graphics, and clipart libraries; you have got all ingredients to prepare a persuasive and powerful presentations.
However, a presentation is not about software or how adept you are at using all its features. An effective presentation is all about 4 crucial things:
• the objective
• the planning
• the content
• the expected results
Though we don’t expect you to develop a headache on the mere thought of giving a presentation, you may like to consider some tips for preparing it.
1. Analyze the Audience
Your audience may include the board of directors, department heads, inquisitive members of a project team, a bunch of sub-ordinates or peers, prospective investors, uninterested government regulators, or bored reporters.
It is very important to know about your audience while preparing a presentation and choose the content, message, backgrounds and style accordingly. For example, if the presentation is for your core project team, the content should be informative, guiding and motivating with an inspiring display.
To woo investors, you would be talking the salability of your idea and, reputation and growth prospects of your company. Create the presentation in your corporate colors, with the logo and company name firmly visible in the initial slides. The display should convey the gravity of the issue being discussed. Similarly, when you are addressing a media gathering, focus on a recent product or achievements that the consumers would be interested in.
If you are giving a talk at a CEO club or CEO association, your presentation must match the understanding level of your audience. Your content, thoughts and flow should be mature and incisive enough to interest your erudite audience.
2. Don’t lose focus
The presentation should have a single agenda or objective that should be clearly introduced to the audience in the beginning. Make sure you don’t stray from the central idea or objective.
Stay relevant to concern and add content, accordingly. Take care of the audience's needs, concerns, interests, and urgency of the issue so that audience feels belonged and stays wakeful.
Presentation software usually contain a lot of features to help you give a pictorial display to the data being shared. Use images, charts, graphs, pie diagrams and smart art graphics to engagingly and lucidly present your data. But don’t get carried away and load your presentation with too much graphics. You will end up distracting your audience.
3. Use facts, not generalities
Nobody is interested in stories and generalizations in business, if not supported with facts and figures. Sorry, no brownie points to predict that the market of SmartPhones will double in next 6 months or Tablets will start selling like hotcakes overnight. But if you support your claim with stats, survey findings or study insights from some reputed consultancy or research organization, it would make an impact.
Don’t expect a standing ovation or a huge round of applause for making claims. Make sure whatever you showcase in your presentation, it has the facts and figures to back it.
4. Be very particular about backgrounds and fonts
Maintain consistency in fonts and backgrounds throughout the slides. Choose simple and light backgrounds (they should not interfere with the visibility of content) with dark (not fluorescent) font colors. The font size and images should be large enough to be visible to the person sitting at the farthest end of the conference room.
5. Narrate like a story
Presentations get boring when they are presented in the form of pieces of information without any reference or common idea between subsequent slides. Narrate a story through the series of slides.
The following slide should start from the point you ended the previous slide. The audience should feel curious what is in the slide to come. Raise a concern, address its different aspects, introduce the insights and serve the solution, accepted to all or at least to the majority.
From the reactions of your audience, you will get a fairly clear idea about what impact your presentation has managed to create or what results you can expect from it. If you are alert and patient enough to listen to the feedback after the presentation, you will know get your answers soon enough.