Have you ever left a presentation feeling as though it was time well spent? That the presenter was engaging, the content engrossing and the delivery impeccable?

A strong presentation leaves the presenter exhilarated and the audience satisfied, even wanting more around the topic. Conversely, poor or even average presentations can leave a negative impression and could have a detrimental effect on your personal or business reputation.

Whether you are preparing for an internal meeting, a keynote presentation at a conference, a webinar or any type of presentation, it’s important to consider and carefully curate multiple components. In this blog, we’ll identify the critical components of what it takes to deliver an amazing presentation. Then, we’ll offer advice and tips to help you impress the audience in your next presentation.

Preparation

There is a range of preparation needed to make your actual presentation look easy, natural and effortless. Taking the right steps ahead of time can quell your nerves and ease a great deal of anticipation that can arise in many of us before presenting to a group.

Preparation can be broken down into multiple components. Let’s examine each of them individually:

Position

Search for insight into this topic on the internet and you will find no shortage of opinion! The truth is there is no definitive answer regarding sitting or standing during presentations. Of course, you’ve probably found that at most presentations you’ve attended, the presenter is standing. But, that doesn’t mean amazing presentations are relegated only to those presenters who stand for the duration.

Still, have you ever been in a team meeting where a colleague or superior discussed an important topic while sitting down? In fact, that is really a form of “presentation,” and demonstrates that topics can be properly and effectively discussed while sitting down. Although many experts acknowledge that physical movement (of your entire body) can help you illuminate topics and create a more engaging presentation, it is also possible to effectively convey information while sitting.

To know whether sitting or standing is for you, think about the following criteria:

  • Where is your presentation being delivered?
  • How many people will be in attendance?
  • Will you be delivering your presentation in webinar format?
  • Will you have room to move?

Considering these factors, go with how you’ll feel most comfortable, and how you feel your audience will be most receptive to your presentation.

Audio / Sound

If you are presenting in a large room or to a crowd that won’t fit in most office conference rooms, you will likely need a microphone. Generally speaking, if your technical capabilities include a wearable microphone, most novice (or even some experienced) presenters prefer that option. This is particularly true with wireless, wearable mics.

Holding a microphone may feel more “official”; however, many presenters are inexperienced. Pops, muffled sound, and other disturbances can negatively impact your presentation. Technology should enhance your presentation, not detract from it!

If you’re presenting in a conference room in your office, consider how you’re going to digitally share your presentation and if anyone will be joining the meeting remotely. If you have an interactive smart display like the Microsoft Surface Hub or Google Jamboard, you’ll want to make sure your presenter has been properly trained on both the display’s hardware and software.  Do a test run even if it isn’t your presenter’s first time using the system.  Taking a little extra time in preparation will make sure the presentation runs smoothly and professionally.

If you regularly run calls or presentations with multiple or even all meeting members joining remotely, you may also consider installing microphones in the room that hang from the ceiling or are situated on the conference room table and connect them to your conference room AV system.  You should adjust your audio system design based on the size of the room, the arrangement of furniture, the speed of your internet connection, and where your attendees are conferencing in from.

Visual / Video

Presenting to a client or potential client while in your office should be the optimal situation to ensure things go right when it comes to your AV technology.  Whether the meeting is in person or remote, make sure to plan for all aspects of what your audience will be seeing while you speak. If you have a display that you’re connecting to, make sure you have practiced casting your presentation to the device to ensure the font size and graphics are legible for everyone in the room.

Consider which software you’re using to present. Skype for Business, LogMeIn (GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar), WebEx and other presentation software contain features that will allow you to whiteboard on your presentation, present poll questions, and give specific permissions to attendees based on their roles.  Make sure you’ve done your due diligence to know what you have the power to present and you’re utilizing the tools that fit your situation. When it comes to follow-up, you can even have your AV system configured to automatically send out presentation materials to all who attended along with a summary of poll topics and a recording, if desired.

If you’re presenting outside of your office, ensure that you have all of the common USB/display port connectors in case you can’t connect your laptop or device to an external system wirelessly. Also, make sure to have your presentation deck and any other resources you need to use available in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) in case any issues arise with the system you’re connecting to.

Physicality

During your presentation, pausing for emphasis at times or gesturing toward the screen or audience can be effective ways to engage your audience. Prior to your presentation date, it’s important to take your deck for a test run, practicing gestures and pauses to achieve the maximum benefit for your audience.

Delivery

Preparation and practice will help you feel comfortable with your topic and ensure your delivery is smooth and polished. In particular, ample practice will help you avoid using filler words like “um” or “uh” or “like” during your presentation. It will help you work on achieving a comfortable pace and help you define your timing so that you do not feel rushed on presentation day.

Content

Quality content is at the heart of an amazing presentation. Without it, even the most dynamic presenter will likely fall flat. Focus on these elements to prepare content that grabs your audience throughout your presentation:

Length

The length of your presentation deck and the duration of your presentation itself will largely be dependent on the topic or forum. The popular TED Talks clock in at a brisk 18 minutes, most sales presentations are between 30 minutes and an hour, and at a large conference, presentations usually last for an hour or even a few hours. There’s no fast and true rule to consider.

With that in mind; however, you’ll want to confirm your allotted presentation time well in advance, so that you can adequately prepare your content and discuss your topic. Once you have a confirmed time slot, it’s time to plan your presentation deck.

The general rule for deck length for a presentation follows the 10/20/30 methodology. With this rule, you should use about 10 slides for a 20-minute presentation. Each slide should contain content typed with a 30-point font. The result is a length of about two minutes per slide. You can adjust the rule accordingly based on your time allocation. While the 10/20/30 methodology is a great starting point, keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule for the length of your presentation.

If you find that, despite your preparation and practice, you are running short on time during your presentation, avoid talking faster to get through it all. Instead, jump to your key takeaways and action statements (more on those elements below). Then, be sure to adjust your planning and preparation accordingly for the next presentation.

Opening

Getting the attention of your audience from the first moment -- then keeping that attention -- is essential for an amazing presentation. The best way to grab attention is to start with a strong positioning statement.

Why are we here? Why does this matter? How is this relevant to me? Answer these questions early and succinctly to hook your audience, then dig deeper into each individual component to keep them engaged.

Closing

An excellent grade for the first two-thirds of your presentation is meaningless if the closing falls flat. In a vast majority of instances, attendees are left with the impression left from the tail end of your presentation. Start with this basic formula to assemble your close, then work from there to flesh it out and maximize its impact:

  • Start with a transition statement to let the audience know you are about to wrap up. Something like, “As I finish today” will do the job nicely.
  • Create and share a two-to-three point summary to recap your main ideas.
  • Include any action statements clearly and concisely so the audience knows what, if anything, they should do next.
  • Offer to answer questions after your presentation, rather than at its close, so that your audience is left with the strategic closing you have prepared.

Technology

The right technology can enhance a strong presentation, creating a more polished, engaging experience for both the presenter and the attendees from its beginning to follow-up. It can also alleviate stress or apprehension that some people may have about presenting to a large group.

Depending on the venue, you may be limited in the technical options for your presentation. But for presentations delivered in your office or a potential client’s office, there are a plethora of options to create an exceptional experience. Rather than take over your presentation or make it more complicated, the right technology integrates smoothly, enhancing your content and delivery.

Earlier in this blog, we touched on audio, and how it can impact your presentation. That is just one factor though. Custom solutions include the design and implementation of AV Systems that maximize your space and take into consideration the type, duration, and audience of your presentations.

That means if you’re delivering a presentation to 10 colleagues in the office, a split team in the office and at offices across the globe, or to 100 webinar attendees, your custom AV system works seamlessly to help you deliver your presentation effectively.

When integrated correctly, you can focus on properly using the tools while having the confidence that they’ll work. A well-designed and properly integrated AV system will simply work with and for you and your attendees, allow your presentation to run smoothly and without technical hiccups that can plague so many businesses and presenters.

What Next?

At Spinitar, our team is comprised of Presentation Experts. We understand how the right technology seamlessly integrates with your operations, empowering your team to deliver effective, engaging presentations whether your team is assembled in the conference room, or across the globe.

Schedule a consultation with one of our Presentation Experts now to see firsthand how Spinitar can transform your AV system design and optimize the way your team executes presentations.

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Presentation tips provided by Jim Endicott at Distinction Communication