5 Steps for Giving a Great Presentation
Sometimes, you might have a lot of time to prepare for a presentation. Other times, you might have no time at all! Here are 5 steps you can follow to ensure that your presentation is extremely effective, even if you are starting last minute:
Step 1: Plan your presentation according to the situation
How do you do this? There are a few things to keep in mind before you start creating your plan:
- Your audience
Who is your audience? The audience can vary in age, their work backgrounds, their cultural backgrounds, or their fields of interest. You will have to present your information according to the best interests of the audience, and use your language in order to connect with them.
- The place
Why are you presenting at this location? The location of your presentation will let you know exactly how formal/ semi-formal your presentation can ideally be.
- The time alloted to you
How much time do you get? The time you get to present your information is important while you are planning out the structure of your content - you need to fit everything into the time frame, and make sure you are not rushing through your important points.
- Your message
What is your message? A good presentation will always keep the main message in mind, so that all the important points are directly related to it. If your main message is clear, it will also be easier for you to start creating a mindmap for your presentation.
- Your knowledge
Are you confident that you know enough about the topic and can speak confidently about it? If not, you must do some research in order to gather more information that you can present. Even if you are fully fluent about a topic, it doesn't hurt to get some additional points through a bit of research.
Step 2: Start your writing process
- Review your main idea
Now is a good time to go through your main idea and assess whether you have enough points to properly convey your message to the audience. Think about whether your points and information sound convincing, or if you need to add something more in order to satisfy your audience.
- Organize and develop your main points
You may not be realising how important it is to structure your points. Create a mindmap so you can think about which points to discuss first, and what to include in them. Make sure to give good explanations for all your points in order to make your audience understand why you have mentioned them.
- Add examples and details
When you add examples, you are solidifying your points and making them seem more credible. You can also give statistical facts and data by giving tables or graphs, in order to highlight your point.
- Create an introduction, main body, and a conclusion
Think of an interesting hook for your introduction, and think of an interesting way to conclude your presentation. For the introduction, you can start off with a question, a quote or a story. Your conclusion can perhaps include a humorous summarization, or again, a quote.
Step 3: Edit and polish your presentation
- Check how long your presentation will take
Assign a time limit for each section of your presentation, or time yourself to see how many minutes the presentation is taking. If the presentation is too long, try making it more concise by summarizing your points a bit more.
- Add connecting words and other transition words
Connecting words and other useful phrases are sure to increase the overall flow of your presentation, and will also make it more formal. There is a list of useful phrases at the end of this article, that you can use for your presentation.
- Prepare an outline for you to practice
Create a hand drawn card for you to write down all your important points. Create seperate bullet points for each main point, so you know how you will be covering everything. Within each bullet point, you can also note down all the important words and phrases you will be using.
- Try memorizing the outline
The outline that you create contains everything you need to ensure you don't miss any of the important points. Regardless of how confident you are with your points, try to memorize the outline, or read it enough times for you to thoroughly understand the order in which you will be mentioning all the points.
Step 4: Practice speaking and get yourself ready
- Think of your approach towards presenting
Are you more of formal speaker who will be relying on the accuracy of your words, or are you more of an informal speaker who loves using hand gestures to emphasize your points? Decide which style you will like to adopt while you are presenting.
- Be aware of your voice and body language
The confidence in your stance will be noticed by your audience. While it is completely normal to be nervous, make sure to project your voice so you are clearly audible. Your body language should ideally be friendly, so make sure to stand straight, and think of what you will do with your hands.
- Practice speaking with the presentation
Try speaking alongside the presentation you have created. This step can take at least 1 hour for you to feel a bit comfortable with the task, so make sure you have enough time for practicing. If your presentation requires more than one person, you must ideally practice with them too.
On the day of the presentation, you must be confident with your points, and ideally have your outline completely memorised. Be aware that you might get questions from the audience, but know that confidence is key. Here are a few tips:
- Get over your nerves
You might get a rush of nervousness when you begin presenting, but try to not speak robotically to the audience. Ensure that your face is not frowning or closed, and that you are also not closing your body language, by crossing your arms or slouching. The key to having a good attitude while presenting, is by trying to be present in the moment and think of how the audience wants you to do well.
- Use the presentation skills that you have practiced
Use your voice to capture the attention of your audience, and make sure to stress/ emphasize on words and phrases that are important. While speaking, if you are feeling slightly more confident, look around, make eye contact and even try smling! Try to connect with the audience to make them invested in what you are saying.
Be present while you present
Try to not rush through the presentation. If you feel like something requires a bit more explanation, go for it. If you feel like saying something quite spontaneously, don't hold yourself back - be yourself.
Pay attention to your delivery
Try to let the audience know how important your points are. Pause after each important sentence. Speak with clarity so your message is clear, and conclude the presentation with simplicity, or a hook (as mentioned previously) - be confident that you have already made your point while presenting.
How can you gain confidence while presenting and develop your speaking skills? Whether it is giving a TED Talk or giving a presentation during class, or for a speaking exam, it takes quite a bit of practice.
For increasing your speaking skills at the secondary school level for speaking examinations in the IB Diploma, A Levels, IGCSE or IB MYP, get in touch with us here.
We can work on your fundamental speaking skills such as fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronounciation, as well as necessary metrics, such as critical thinking, analysis, presentation, and evaluation skills.
Additional: Useful words and phrases while presenting
Take a look at these transition words and phrases, which can be used to connect or link all your points together. These words will help your audience understand your presentation better, as you logically move from one sentence/ one point to the next. Use these words to help you give a great presentation:
- I'd like to talk to you about...
- As far as I'm concerned...
- If you ask me...
- Don't you agree that...?
- Have you got any idea...?
- Someone has told me that
- I'd just like to say...
- Personally, I believe (feel)...
- As I see it...
- My view is that...
- Moreover, ...
- All things considered, I must say...
- Generally speaking...