“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff
Will a presentation be good or bad depends on the actions we take from start to finish. We should all learn how to create and give a good presentation, regardless of our profession. We all need good presentation and public speaking skills: on a business meeting, when we prepare some lectures, presentation in class, when we want to present a certain idea of ours, etc.
It’s astonishing and defeating at the same time how just a couple of people are capable of making a good presentation. When it comes to people who know perfectly the topic they present, it happens they really get into it and start speaking with terms which are unfamiliar to the audience. That’s why it’s very important to keep the presentation simple and understandable so that everyone, including the people who have no idea about the thing you present can actually follow you and know what you’re talking about.
One of the main rules when it comes to writing a good presentation are:
1) make a plan – brainstorm about the topic you’ll be talking about, think about your audience, what’s the purpose of your presentation, etc. Make a small intoduction, the middle section and conclusion and elaborate what you’ll be talking about in which part. It’ll help you a lot and it’ll be a huge time saver.
2) don’t overwrite! (can’t stress this one enough) – people tend to put everything they’d like to say on their slides. Wrong! Even though the presentation should be applied to the audience, it also represents a tool which helps us follow the flow of our story. Put the most important things on a slide, in short sentences (like taking notes). Otherwise, people will get lost in a huge amount of text and in the end, they won’t be listening to you. Instead, they’ll be preoccupied reading irrelevant information. We don’t want that. If you have issues with this, you can use the Pecha Kucha technique. The only rule is you need to use only 20 slides and talk about each one of them for 20 seconds, which equals to 6’40” of your presentation. A life saver.
3) don’t get too crazy with colors, fonts and letter size – putting many colors or writing with a special font will not make our presentation look good and it can create a completely opposite effect because fonts are hard to be read. Keep it simple, don’t experiment (I know there’re so many interesting things to be used, but not all of them should be) and when it comes to the letter size, keep it minimum 18, so that it can be visible and it can also present a limit (of words which can fit on a slide) when it comes to overwriting. Don’t forget to put dark text on a light background and vice versa.
4) use media – by adding a picture or a video, it’ll make a presentation much more interesting and catch people’s attention. However, bear in mind to keep the pictures/charts simple and understandable.
5) don’t use way too many numbers/statistical data – when a presenter gets way deep into too many numbers and just talks about the unimportant data, people start yawning and becoming disinterested. Just put the most important information or some interesting facts which can catch people’s eyes.
6) thank you slide – a lot of people make a mistake with this one. They tend to make it way too colorful or put some unnecessary pictures or clip arts. Please, don’t do that. Sometimes it’s better not to have this slide at all and just thank the audience by yourself, instead of ruining the entire presentation with the same one. Keep it simple. Less is more.
7) practice! practice! practice! – it’s said that for an one-hour presentation, we’ll need to practice 30 times more. If you want, write certain things on a piece of paper (flipchart) and put it in front of you (e.g. on a desk), just in case you forget something. By constantly reading from our slides, we’ll give an impression of not knowing the topic we talk about and not having created a presentation by ourselves, which can make the audience not believe in us or listen to us.