Presentation preparation

Do you still get nervous when delivering an important presentation in the workplace? You aren’t alone! In fact, some research suggests that a fear of public speaking is the most common phobia in the world, affecting more than 7 in 10 people.

Presenting with confidence

In the modern workplace, the ability to communicate well and deliver strong presentations to the right people is vital to further your career. Yet, with so much riding on presenting well, it can be difficult not to stumble on the spot and miss key points. Today virtual pitches and presentations have been thrusted upon us as well. If it is face to face or virtual many of the same rules apply.

When it comes to presenting well, preparation is key, because an effective presentation with effortless delivery is difficult to nail. Here are our top four tips for preparing a presentation and the questions you should be asking yourself as you get ready to wow your audience.

1 What is the purpose of this presentation?

The first and most important question to ask yourself is “what is the purpose of this presentation?”. What are the key points that you want to deliver and the messages that you want to get across? Without a clear goal defined, it is difficult to successfully structure your presentation and arrange the information you hold in a manner that leads your audience through to your desired conclusion.

You also need to define what success is. What would success look like as a result of this presentation? By defining what your ideal outcome would be, you’re better placed to deliver a well-rounded pitch with a tight focus and logical structure.

2 Who is my audience?

Knowing your audience is an essential for pulling off an effective presentation. First and foremost, you need to determine what your audience already knows on the subject. Get this wrong and the participants will either be bored or out of their depth. However, get it right and you’ll captivate the room. You can also call on your audience's interests to further engage the group and help them form a connection with you, the speaker.

3 How do you plan to deliver your presentation?

Having established your purpose and audience, you need to turn your attention to your delivery. Ask yourself how much time you will have to deliver and what notes , technology or other assets you will need with you when presenting. If it is a virtual presentation, ensure you are familiar with the platform that you intend to use. Run through what you intend to say and make certain you can comfortably fit it within the timeframe provided. Additionally, notes will compliment your presentation and ensure that you are not reading a script word for word, which can lead the audience to become bored and disengaged.

4 How can I incorporate visual aids?

Providing visuals such as slides, videos, handouts, will strengthen what you are verbally communicating to participants. Ask yourself how you can visualise key elements, facts and data to help your presentation be more easily digested and recalled by your audience. If you need special equipment to facilitate your visual material, you’ll need to have it ready ahead of time. As part of this, find out where the presentation will be taking place or what virtual platform you will be using. Establish what technical aids are available, ensuring your visual material can be incorporated seamlessly into your narrative and be visible to everyone attending.

As you prepare for your next important presentation, before you start putting pen to paper, take a moment to answer these 4 questions. They will guide you to get your message across with confidence and impact. You will no longer be one of the 7 in 10!