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Ten Things You Would Expect to See in a Good Business Presentation
chillibreeze writer — Chaithali Pisupati
From reviews to sales pitches, assessments to results, presentations are the order of the day in today’s business culture. As the lights dim and the presentations roll on, many audience members zone out and much of speaker’s verbal drone drains into oblivion. An effective presentation is a symbiotic culmination of both good content and a good presenter. Let’s take a look at what people expect in a good presentation – the things that make the audience sit up and pay attention...
Awareness of the topic: - Know your topic inside out. Invest time in adequate research. Do not give out information that the audience knows or just the results of a generic search engine. Know the facts, background, numbers or anything that add value. Take time to anticipate potential questions and prepare standard answers. But do not memorize the content, as any unexpected interruption may throw you off.
Stick to the topic: - Just as too little information is bad, too much is bad as well. Stick to the topic. Do not overload the audience with so much information. That can lead to a lot of unrelated discussions and no real conclusion thus negating the whole cause of the presentation. For example, a sales presentation should be about what you can do for your prospective customer rather than having too much information on the company background and past accolades.
Audience engagement: - A good business presentation draws in the audience early on. In the first couple of slides, set a context and what they would get from the presentation. Ask the audience to list out their expectation and explain how the presentation would address them. This is a good time to understand if the audience has understood your topic clearly. This gets the audience buy-in, thus breaking the ice and the “presenter-audience” barrier.
Solid Ideas: - Once you set the context and understand expectations of the audience, have solid ideas to offer - solutions that cater to the expectations. If you have prepared differently, take a minute and see how your pitch can be reconstructed to offer the audience what they are looking for. The same topic can be presented in many ways. Find the style that best suits the target audience.
Simple slides: - It is the responsibility of the speaker to deliver the presentation effectively. Putting all information on the slides and expecting the audience to read them is a bad idea. A good presenter should be able to present his topic without his visual aid if need be. Only the most important information of the presentation belongs on the visual aid.
Devil in the details: Resist the temptation to go overboard with graphs, clip art, fonts, and animations. Have a standard font, a color scheme that doesn’t overpower or change during projecting. Avoid over usage of Bold, Italics and underline.
Seamless delivery: - The presenter and the presentation should operate as one. If you are running the PowerPoint yourself, practice the changing of slides as a natural movement. If you have someone doing it for you, have a cue not noticeable to the audience so there are no awkward stops and interruptions to your presentation.
Maintain a comfortable style: - Do not try the old adage of opening with a joke or a personal story unless you are really comfortable. It could end up damaging the whole presentation. Present in the same style that you would talk – be conversational and enunciate but not in an obvious way. As clichéd as it sounds, practicing in front of the mirror helps if you aren’t a natural born speaker.
Stick to the time limit: - A good presentation sticks to the time limit and even if there is no time limit, the presenter should make an informed decision of how long the audience can be engaged. Finish introduction slides quickly and keep the majority of the time for the main topic.
Encourage Questions: - A good presentation should generally elicit a few questions. A Q&A session planned after the session is a good platform for discussing any overlooked details or going into those details that you left out due to paucity of time.
Surveys suggest that public speaking ranks even above death when it comes to phobias. However, as with everything else, practice is what makes perfect and a properly rehearsed script is what makes the presentation flow freely.
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Chillibreeze's disclaimer: This is a contributed article and was published on Chillibreeze in June, 2012. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of Chillibreeze as a company. Chillibreeze has a strict anti-plagiarism policy. Please contact us to report any copyright issues related to this article. The relevance of the facts and figures cited (if any) could change after a period of time.
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