How to Give a Successful Presentation at Work

To give a good presentation you should connect with your audience by showing them your passion for your subject. You should be honest with your opinions. If you are speaking honestly and about something you genuinely care about then it should help you relax. The more relaxed you are the more your audience will connect with you and what you are presenting.

Keep the audience in mind at all stages

While preparing your presentation, keep in mind your audience needs and wants. Why are you conducting this presentation? Is it to inform the audience of something new? Is it to advise the audience on current systems and procedures? Keeping their interests at the forefront of your mind will help shape your presentation to be most relevant and effective. While you are presenting you should keep the audience interests in mind as well. Pay attention to their response.

Simplicity is Key

What is the main message? Try to make each point as brief as possible without losing the overall meaning of the message. Include information that relates directly to or helps the audience understand your key message. Keep irrelevant information out.

Smile and Make eye contact

As difficult as it may seem, especially if you are feel nervous throughout your presentation, try to take a second to smile. Make eye contact when you can. This help you connect with your audience which help keep their attention. Making eye contact with someone could help to make you feel less nervous. If you imagine you are talking to an individual as opposed to a whole room of people, it may be easier for you.

Get off on the right start

Regardless of how nervous you feel you need to start strong. Have a look around the room and make eye contact with a few people. Really know your first couple of sentences and speak clearly and loudly. This will grab your audience’s attention. If you have kept your presentation brief, focus on the audience and speak honestly then you should be able to keep their attention for the duration.

Follow the 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations

Maximum of 10 slides

Anything more and your audience will lose focus. There is nothing worse than being stuck on the receiving end of a presentation that seems to be lasting forever. Especially if you stopped paying attention and have no idea what is going on.

Maximum of 20 minutes long

Similarly to the 10 slide rule, 20 minutes is long enough for a group to be listening to one speaker. Anything longer and people will start to focus their attention elsewhere.

Minimum 30 point font size

Not only does this allow your audience to see clearly, it also reduced the amount of information you can fit on your slide thus helping you to stick to the first two rules.

If you need to provide the audience with any additional information then you should provide a hand out at the end of the presentation.

Tell it like a story

People respond well to stories. It improves memory and maintains focus. Think about how you would tell your friends and family a story. Try to speak with the same excitement and intonation. You could even open with a short story, but it needs to be relevant to your presentation. Add a personal point of view, this creates a story effect. Focus on characters or focus on a changing dynamic. Both of these elements are prevalent in stories. By incorporating one or more of these will make the presentation seem like a story and encourage focus from your audience.