You’ve worked hard to put together the research you want to share with your colleagues -make sure that effort pays off by creating a presentation that your audience will remember and appreciate.
On average, you should budget one hour of writing and practice for each minute you speak. A 15-minute presentation should be backed up by 15 hours of preparation and practice.
A rule of thumb is also that a good slide or sheet takes on average 2 to 3 minutes to present. So for a 15 minute presentation you have to condense your contribution to 5 to 8 sheets.
Rehearse your presentation several times before you leave for the meeting. Prepare and rehearse enough that you don’t rely heavily on your visual aids to keep you on track.
Strive to keep your presentation’s tone as a casual conversation with the audience. It should not be a session of the audience staring at the back or side of your head as you read from the screen. And don’t read the text from paper, unless you think that your English makes this absolutely necessary.
Organisation & order
Your presentation creates a path for the audience to follow - be sure your introduction lays out where you will be taking the audience throughout your talk. In your introduction, provide a focus (statement of your main idea), a reason to listen (significance of the main idea) and an orientation (structure of the presentation).
Like a newspaper article a good presentation and paper starts with providing the focus, the statement of the idea, the main conclusion. This helps the audience to follow you.
Summarise after you finish each point, to wrap up what you’ve said and connect it to the next point.
Audiences tend to be very attentive at a presentation’s beginning, less attentive during the middle section, and more attentive as it ends. Use your conclusion to re-emphasis the most important elements of your presentation.
You can try to recapture the attention of the audience in the middle section by making a nice joke, or an interesting analogy. A nice picture might also be useful.
Set the pace
In an oral presentation, you control the speed - stick to short sentences and re-emphasis the main points. Don‘t try to include more information simply by speaking faster. A tight, clear delivery that makes the main points and answers common questions is more effective than a rushed delivery that throws too much information at the audience.
Enthusiasm is contagious!
If you are excited about your information, the audience will be also. If you deliver your presentation with a « flat » vocal quality, the audience may fell asleep.
Audiences can only absorb a few points during a 15- to 20-minute presentation. Concentrate on the most significant points of your presentation and avoid complicated formulas, intricate graphs or lengthy statistics. Your final paper can be read after the meeting, and audience members who want to see your complete findings will be able to do so.
Preparing visuals that are useful
When creating your slides or overheads, remember that « less is more » in visual aids. Limit the number of elements on each slide to maintain readability for the audience.
Limit the amount of information on each slide. Each slide should contain:
One main point
One thought per line
No more than 5-7 words per line. Skip articles (‘a’, ‘the’) and stick to nouns and verbs. No more than 5-7 lines per slide
Use large text sizes. For most visual aids, titles should be 36- to 48- point and text should be 24- to 36-point.
Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters. Words typed in all capital letters offer few recognisable shapes to catch the audience’s eyes.
Colour considerations: for PowerPoint presentations, use dark blues, grays, greens or black for backgrounds. White and yellow text are the most readable and contrast well against dark backgrounds.
Use italics, different colours or fonts to...