We have all sat through a presentation at some point in our lives that really stuck with us. The information resonated in our minds and we can still recall many of the things that were said. That begs the question, “What makes a great presentation?” Is it the design? The content? The speaker? While it’s true that all of these things are important, there are a few qualities that every great presentation has in common. If you are preparing for an upcoming presentation, here are a few elements that all good presentations should have.
Knowledge of the Subject
First and foremost, you can’t give a presentation on a topic you know very little about. Before getting started on your presentation, you want to learn as much as possible about the subject on which you are presenting. You want to become as close to an expert as possible so that you could speak at length on the topic if you had to. If you aren’t knowledgeable on the subject, the audience will spot it right away and you will lose credible credibility right from the start.
A Strong Opening
The first 30 seconds of your presentation are the most important. You only have a matter of seconds to capture the audience’s attention and hook them. Therefore, use this time wisely. Don’t waste your time with a lengthy instruction or a description of what you are going to talk about. Rather, start with an interesting one-liner that will really grab their attention. Once you have their attention, it’s the perfect way to ease into an interesting story, quote, statistic, or personal anecdote.
A Fluid Approach
Keeping your presentation on the move is the key to maintaining audience attention. Make sure you flow seamlessly from one point to the next. Make sure your transitions are smooth and your content is well-structured. Presentations are like a story where everything needs to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Text heavy slides won’t cut it. You need to remember that your audience came to see YOU, not read from your slides. However, people are captivated by interesting visuals. Visuals can help you to further explain your points and communicate more effectively with the audience. For example, charts and graphs are a great way tool if you are sharing data. Photographs and videos can also be effective visuals. You can also use props to demonstrate your point. Choose visuals that are relevant to your topic and will be remembered by your audience.
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your audience engaged. With cellphones and laptops at our fingertips, it can be quite a challenge to compete for the audience’s attention. That’s why every great presentation will include audience involvement. You want the audience to feel like a part of your presentation so they don’t even think about checking their phone. A few ways to involve your audience is through question and answer sessions, demonstrations, games, live polls, or even something as simple as walking up and down the aisles. Great presenters know the importance of involving their audience.