Presentations, you either love them or hate them. There are people in the world who are born to stand in front of a crowd and inform, educate and entertain, they light up when they have an audience and they make the whole process look easy, and then there are the rest of us who take to the stage like a dear caught in headlights.

The perfect presentation needs to be carefully planned but should look effortless to the audience – in short it’s no mean feat, but by following the right tips you can create a seamless presentation that will wow your audience and get you noticed for all the right reasons.

–Do – Consult The Experts

Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote are vital tools in the presentation game, but if you’re a tech novice they can be more of a hindrance than a help.

You can try and plan your presentation without them to avoid embarrassing yourself with a mouse, but they’re popular for a reason and your presentation could fall flat without their visual wizardry.

If you need someone to show you the ropes, ask. There’s bound to be someone in your office with experience working with the software, or at least help available in your IT department, and once you know what you’re doing you’ll see it’s not as scary as it looks.

–Don’t – Read From Your Slides

Never, under any circumstances, read directly from your slides! The only thing you should read when giving your presentation is cue cards, and even that should be done sparingly.

Many speakers attempt to read the information to help with nerves, but it looks to the audience like you don’t know what you’re talking about and they will immediately lose their faith and interest. Speak naturally, speak slowly and speak with confidence.

–Do – Make It Visual

We’ve all suffered through long, drawn-out and, let’s face it, dull presentations that forgo the use of slides completely and have the unfortunate side effect of making us feel like we’re sitting in the back of the classroom.

The result of these uninspired presentations is that we retain next to none of the information because we’ve spent the whole time watching the clock tick.

Studies suggest that around 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is based on what we see, so if you want your audience to retain all the painstakingly researched information you’re relaying, you’re going to need pictures, graphs, charts, quotes and videos.

Remember: a picture tells a thousand words, a video tells millions. Utilise them to make sure your presentation is engaging. You can produce slide after slide of text and quote figures all night but if you can convey the same information on a chart your audience is more likely to engage with it.

–Don’t – Let Your Visuals Steal The Show

While visuals are vital it’s important to find the right balance and not rely too heavily on them. If your slides contain all of the information the speaker is explaining, then there’s really no point having a speaker at all!

Your visuals should punctuate your speaker’s message and to enhance it in order to catch the audience’s attention and give them something to focus on besides the speaker’s voice, however dynamic that voice may be.

–Do – Arrive Early

When you’re relying on technical kit like audio visual equipment it is important to do three things: test it, test it, and test it again.

Nothing causes an audience to disengage quicker than watching the speaker wrestle with a laptop or waiting for a technician to fix the microphones, so make sure you check your equipment well in advance of the presentation so you can be sure it’s all working well when you need it.

If your equipment is working perfectly it’s still a good idea to turn up early to get everything ready so your audience is spared the task of watching you set up your slides.

It goes without saying, but one of the keys to technical success is to invest in premium quality equipment. Project Audio Visual offers most of the equipment you will need to deliver a great presentation.

–Don’t – Linger

You could put on the most energetic, enigmatic and entertaining presentation in the world but the attention span of your audience is still going to be limited.

In the opinion of the experts there’s no such thing as too short a presentation, snappy slides that get to the point quickly are likely to be remembered and keep your audience entertained, but it’s far too easy to let your presentation run on too long.

If you’re worried about the time frame then consider the 10-20-30 rule, your presentation should have a maximum of 10 slides, each slide should last no more than 20 minutes, and they should contain no text less than 30 point font.

This prevents your audience from getting board, helps them retain all of the information and ensures everyone in the room can read the slide.

–Enthusiasm Is Contagious

If you approach your presentation with confidence and run through all of your points with a smile your audience appreciate you for it, so go forth and inform, entertain and educate at your next presentation.

This post was written by Emma Smith on behalf of Project Audio Visual, providers of exemplary audio visual equipment and a custom planning and installation service that can be tailored to any commercial need and is always ready for your presentation.

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