Before you start making a presentation you need to ask yourself what your main goal is, and what message you want to convey. This way you’ll know what to work on in order to achieve your objectives.
There are three main characteristics of a successful presentation:
- Speaking skills – in order to have a successful presentation, whether business or at school (teaching or presenting your paper), you need to learn to pronounce your words clearly. You need to have a natural flow when speaking, and hand gestures can also play a significant role in highlighting certain words. So, practice in front of the mirror or record yourself in order to see what you look like when presenting.
- Visual aids – All things used to visually upgrade your speech fall into the category of visual aids, and these should be used carefully and intelligently. Whiteboard, interactive board, flip charts, YouTube videos, pictures and PowerPoint or Prezi presentation can help you achieve the wanted goals.
- Content – you should write concise and informative content, which you will arrange into clear points in your presentation.
All these three points should be taken into consideration, but you should implement them carefully. Don’t avoid using visual aids just because you aren’t sure how to use them effectively, it’s easy to learn a few basic rules, and you can always experiment to see what works best.
1. They serve as notes and improve the retention of your audience
Many people get easily bored during presentations, because they lose focus. This happens not because they aren’t in the mood, but because the person who is delivering the speech is doing something wrong. By using clear statements in your slides, the audience will certainly memorize everything, because the slides will serve as notes. Many of us have a sort of photographic memory, so well-designed flip charts and slides help your audience retain more information – which will lead to a successful and effective presentation.
At the end of presentation you can use handouts where you will write the main points of the presentations and explain some things that you consider to be important. This way when people leave the room, they’ll remember what you talked about for a long time.
2. Visuals are the best choice when presenting a process step by step
When presenting a complex process, it is recommended to use slides or even videos to better explain the steps involved. However, you need to be careful not to turn your presentation into one long film. Visuals should be well-implemented and used sparingly.
Make a guide that uses visuals to highlight certain parts of the process and help you explain them in fewer words. However, if you have a whiteboard, than it would be perfect to explain something simply by writing on it as you go. Be careful not to stand in such a way as to obstruct the audience’s vision – people need to be able to see it clearly from several different angles.
3. They attract attention and shed more light on a given point
People are usually attracted by images and videos – they can relay additional information, while at the same time helping you creating a more dynamic atmosphere. People tend to focus better and retain more information when it is presented in video form. Moreover, as pictures and clear points on slides are sometimes clearer than a spoken word, some complex information will be much easier to understand.
If your presentation is supposed to show some numbers and lots of data, it’s much better to show them using visuals, than just speak about them, because the audience will have the clear image in their mind. Make sure you use simple charts and diagrams, as people will certainly get confused if you bombard them with too many bland numbers.
4. Creating a positive atmosphere
No matter how serious the matter is, you need to create a positive atmosphere in order to improve people’s mood, which will cause them to be more receptive your speech. Visual aids are perfect for turning even the dullest of topics with tons of statistics into an interesting presentation. You can also play some funny videos related to your topic, and use humor and sarcasm to spark their interest. This will also help you relax, especially if you suffer from stage fright.
Visuals have a great impact on people, but only when used properly. Don’t use too many aids as they will turn your presentation into a huge mess. Even the smallest details such as font and the color matter, so make sure you use HD videos and pictures, as well as elegantly designed slides.