We have all heard our fair share of presentations. After all, a presentation is simply the transfer of information between two or more people. This means work meetings, sales pitches, school speeches, and church sermons are all classified as presentations. However, the delivery of a church sermon will differ greatly from that of a CEO. Sometimes presentations are formal and include slideshows while others are comedic and informal. With so many different styles of presentations, it is important to choose the right one for your topic. Choosing the right presentation method is just as important as the material you present. The way you deliver your message is vital because you want to make sure you are engaging your audience and encouraging them to listen to what you have to say. For this reason, it is important to invest some time in selecting a presentation method that will best suit your needs.
What is the Occasion?
A formal conference with 150 people will require a very different approach than a sales briefing with 8 of your colleagues. Likewise, a sales pitch to a potential client is much different than a speech at a wedding. Consider the expectations that go along with the occasion. Obviously, visual aids would not be expected at a wedding but would certainly be expected in a formal presentation.
Who is Your Audience?
There are several things to consider when it comes to your audience including size, familiarity of the topic, familiarity with you, and general demographic. If you are presenting to a small group, for example, you might choose to give them a handout that summarizes your key points and talk them through it. A larger and more formal presentation is likely to require slides. Similarly, a presentation given to close colleagues might not require extensive visual aids but that would seem necessary if you are presenting to potential clients who don’t know you. It is also important to note the general demographics of the audience including age and gender. This can impact your delivery and choice of visual aids. For example, you might include current pop culture references with a younger audience, but this would not be fitting for an older audience. Knowing your audience allows you to tailor the presentation to fit their needs and interests.
Where Are You Giving the Presentation?
Presenting in a large auditorium requires a much different approach than presenting in a small conference room. The presentation method you choose is highly relative to the room because the acoustics, range of view, equipment availability, and overall ambiance will be very different.
What is the Purpose of Your Presentation?
Is the goal of your presentation to simply deliver information to your audience or are you expecting audience involvement and participation? If your goal is just to present pertinent information, then you will want to prepare compelling visual aids that will capture the audience’s interest while also presenting the information clearly. If you are expecting audience involvement, you might not want to stay on the stage the entire time and you will want to walk through the audience and invite them to participate through questions or role-play activities.
An effective presentation is prepared with thoughtful consideration of where it is happening, who is in the audience, and the purpose of the presentation. If you want to be successful in the delivery of your presentation, be strategic in choosing the appropriate presentation method.