What Makes a Great Presentation?

What makes a great presentation? In this post, we share some top tips for delivering engaging presentations and ideas to make your presentations more effective and impactful.
What Makes a Great Presentation?
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Delivering Presentations

At some point, you're probably going to be asked to speak in public. This might be at work, at a wedding, social event or anywhere else for that matter. Some of us love doing it, some of us hate it.

When delivering presentations, particularly business presentations, we need to engage the audience. The presentation should be influential and sell you, your business and your product or service.

We've pulled together some top tips from expert presenters from around the world and listed these below. We hope you find some, if not all of them useful.

Is There a Difference Between Delivering a Presentation and Public Speaking?

It's a great question to ask. We often have clients contact us about our Presentation Skills training course and ask if it will help with public speaking. You might think the initial answer is 'yes of course as they are essentially the same thing'. But are they?

There are definitely some similarities to presenting and public speaking, but there are also some differences.

What things are the same?

Essentially, a lot. Whether you are delivering a presentation you will certainly need to do some preparation. You will need to think about:

  • You will need to know who your audience is - this will help with the next couple of points
  • What is your objective - what do you want the audience to leave thinking or knowing at the end of what it is you deliver to them
  • You will need a structure - what order will the items you deliver come in
  • You will need to make it engaging - how will you grab and maintain peoples attention
  • You will need some visual aids - you will probably need to put together some kind of visuals i.e. slides, videos etc. that you will use as part of your delivery

What are the differences?

  • Presentations are typically in smaller settings. When public speaking you may be presenting to larger audiences
  • Presentations normally have some kind of audience interaction. These may be throwing questions out to the audience, some kind of exercises etc. When public speaking, we often just pass the information on to the audience (although, you may do things such as asking the audience option by a show of hands).
  • Presentations may be about providing updates, learning or sharing new ideas. Public speaking is about inspiring others, moving people, introducing new initiatives or ideas.

Tips for Delivering a Great Presentation

  • Centre Around You Audience's Needs - Think about what the audience needs to get out of the presentation and the information you will provide. Have some clear objectives and base your presentation around them. Think about what they need to know, what they want to know and what they already know.
  • Get Off to a Good Start - The start of the presentation is key. Think about how you can quickly grab your audience's attention. You can use storytelling (see the last point), use some hard-hitting facts or figures or an eye-catching image.
  • Connect With the Audience and Show Your Passion - Tell the audience why the subject and content is important to you. Show you care. Show you are passionate. If you are passionate, it becomes easier for the audience to be passionate. Maintain eye contact with the audience. Smile. This helps to build rapport and connect with the audience. Sounds simple, but so many presenters forget to do this, especially when they are nervous.
  • Keep It Simple and Concentrate on the Core Message - Back to the objectives here. What's the message? What are the things the audience needs to take away? It's best to have 2 or 3 key messages in your presentation and focus the content around these
  • Use Story Telling - People love a good story, especially if it's short, punchy and has a point. Better still, if it's linked to the subject or something that is of interest
  • Use Your Body and Your Voice - You are the most important tool you have during the presentation so use it to great effect. Be aware of your body language and the tone of voice you are using. Vary the pitch, pace and tone of your voice. Move around (just not too much). Give the audience different views to look at during the presentation
  • Think Positive - Try and relax and enjoy it. Easy to say, but being prepared, knowing your stuff, knowing the key messages and being well-rehearsed will go some way to help you to relax and enjoy.

Think About the Key Message of Your Presentation

You should be able to communicate this quickly. If someone asked 'what's the message'? You should be able to tell them in no more than 30 seconds. Some ideas to do this from experts are:

  • You should be able to tell someone about the message in 30 seconds
  • You should be able to write this on the back of a business card
  • You should be able to describe it in no more than 15 words

Design Your Presentation Aids With the Audience in Mind

A tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple. He suggests that slideshows should:

  • Contain no more than 10 slides;
  • Last no more than 20 minutes; and
  • Use a font size of no less than 30 ppt

The last point should help to ensure you don't put too much into your slides. The other avoid the dreaded 'death by PowerPoint'.

It covers 5 main key tips. Have a flick through, we're sure you'll find it useful.

You Suck At PowerPoint! from Jesse Desjardins - @jessedee

A major point here - you should drive the presentation, not the presentation drive you.

Presentation Skills Training Course

Get more useful tips and more details about all of the above points on our presentation skills Training Course. We run them as scheduled open courses or can deliver the course in-house. See the Presentation Skills Training Course Page for more details.

David Lumley13-01-2017

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No PowerPoint
Yes, you read that right! We’ve removed PowerPoint from our face to face training courses.

Instead we opt for more creative ways to deliver course content and create more discussions in our courses.
Always Interactive
No matter how you attend your course, we will alway ensure it's interactive and engaging.

Our courses are designed specially for the delivery method to ensure we maximise the tools available.
Less Theory, More Practical
We don’t spend time on theory. We’ll introduce it but focus more attention on practical tools and ideas that you can actually take away and use.

We’ll provide the theory in your course materials to take away with you.
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We’ll quote an all-inclusive price for in-house and bespoke work. You won’t pay a cent more than we quote you.

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Revolution Learning and Development Ltd
3 Balkerne House, Balkerne Passage
Essex, CO1 1PA, UK

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