Whether you are delivering a presentation in front of a large crowd in an auditorium or conducting a web meeting for a small group of colleagues, you will be presented with the challenge of effectively communicating information in an allotted amount of time. It is unrealistic to expect your audience to pay attention for lengthy periods of time; therefore, you have to be concise in your delivery. We have all sat through a presentation when the presenter started off with a few good jokes and an entertaining intro before slowly beginning to drift off topic. All of a sudden, you went from listening attentively to checking emails on your phone. The purpose of any presentation is to give the audience information that they can take with them. If your presentation is not prepared properly, you could find yourself so far from your message that it becomes difficult to get back on track. The key to delivering a successful presentation is to stay focused and on track so you can convey the appropriate message. Here are a few suggestions for how to get your point across and say what you need to during your next presentation.
Highlight Your Key Points
Before doing anything else, you need to decide what information is most important for your audience to know. Jot down these key points to ensure you have a clear understanding of what message you are trying to convey. Once you define the most important points in your presentation, you can go from there and elaborate on each key point. This will ensure that your presentation stays centered around the most important information.
Outline Your Presentation
Outlines are important tools for helping you maintain your presentation’s focus. Your outline should consist of an introduction, main points (or body), and a conclusion. When you outline your presentation, you can read over it to be sure your information stays on target throughout the entire presentation. It will also aid you in staying on track to deliver a smooth and clear presentation.
Use a Tool Such as PowerPoint
Some people get so nervous when they have to present that they forget what they are there to say. Presentation software such as PowerPoint or something similar can be a great guide for staying on track. Rather than trying to memorize all of the information, presenters can use a slideshow to guide them on what to say next. This can deter speakers from drifting off topic.
Chunk Your Presentation
If slideshows aren’t your thing, you can speak off the cuff by mentally chunking your presentation. This means you memorize the order of your key points and each point is a chunk. You can even use notecards to remind you of which point comes next. Chunking information is a great tool for organizing it in your brain so that you can deliver it clearly. When you think of your presentation in chunks, you are less likely to stray from the topic at hand.