Presentation Preparation- The Most Important Step for Success

If you decide to walk into your presentation venue ten minutes prior to its start and just “wing it,” you are probably setting yourself up for failure.  Preparation is the single most important part of delivering a successful presentation.  It is the foundation to your entire presentation so you should dedicate ample time to preparing.  Not only will good preparation demonstrate that you have carefully thought about the message you want to convey, but it will also give you the confidence needed to communicate your presentation clearly.

Start with Your Objective

Before proceeding any further, you need to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of the presentation?  What outcomes are you seeking for the audience?”  It is important to jot down the ideas for your presentation, but you should never lose sight of your objective.  Once you have decided on a clear objective, you can start focusing on the subject at hand.

Outline Your Presentation

Outlines help maintain the speech’s focus by allowing the presenter to test the scope of the content and evaluate the relevance of supporting ideas.  They also help the presenter to organize the material in a logical way so that the audience can easily follow along.  This is an essential part of delivering an effective presentation.  Finally, outlines can serve as the foundation for speaking notes to be used during the presentation.

Rehearse

It’s not enough just to outline your presentation.  Part of proper preparation includes rehearsing your presentation.  Practice in front a small audience of family, friends, or co-workers.  It can be helpful to receive feedback from this mock audience so you can make any necessary changes.  You can also record yourself so you can take note of your body language, voice inflection, and overall delivery.  The more you rehearse the more confident you will be when it comes time for your actual presentation.

Consider Timing

Oftentimes there is not much flexibility about how much time you have to deliver your presentation. Outlining and rehearsing are great ways to prepare for this time constraint.  Preparation is key to ensuring that your speech is delivered in a clear, concise, and timely manner.

Preparing Visual Aids

Appropriate preparation of your visual aids is essential in making sure they are effectively incorporated into your presentation.  You need to make sure your visual aids are relevant and easy to understand.  You also need to be sure you can present them effectively.  This means being familiar with any graphs, charts, technology, or equipment that might be involved in your presentation.  Before you present, go through your visual aids and make sure you are fully prepared to present them.

Giving a presentation is no easy feat.  If you want to deliver an effective presentation, preparation is the most important step toward success.  Audiences are much more likely to see you as a credible and knowledgeable speaker if you come prepared.  Preparing will also give you the confidence needed to step out and own the stage.  When it comes to giving a great presentation, never underestimate the power of preparation.