Making an effective presentation is not only about being prepared with respect to the content of your presentation, but also requires you to take certain tips to ensure that you are accepted, understood and appreciated by your audience.
Attire and Accessories
Dress impeccably in formal or semi formal attire depending on the topic and the importance of the event. Pick an outfit that is subtle and doesn’t attract too much attention. Ill fitting, gaudy outfits will distract the audience. Women, if wearing a skirt should ensure that it reaches the knee. Accessorise minimally. Wear neutral coloured, well polished and preferably closed shoes. Comb your hair in such a manner that it doesn’t fall on the face.
Punctuality and Preparedness
You should reach the venue at least 15 minutes in advance and take a look at the stage, dais, overhead projector, microphones and seating arrangement of the audience.
During the presentation, if needed, refer to the cue cards or PowerPoint slides made by you. Add inputs as you speak, don’t simply read word to word. Moving around too much is not a good idea and avoid fidgeting with your hair or dress.
Maintain eye contact with the audience, this will give them a feeling of being addressed personally. If apprehensive, find a friendly face in the audience and direct your presentation there for a while till you feel confident again. Use a combination of high and low pitch tones as you speak for emphasis on certain points.
Attentiveness and Adaption
If you are among the list of speakers at a gathering, listen carefully to all those who speak before you. Take cue from the previous speaker and proceed accordingly. For example, if the previous talk has been serious, you can include a bit of humour in your talk to lighten the mood of the audience. Personalize your presentation depending on the audience reaction. If they look distracted, you can gain their attention again by asking questions, narrating an amusing incident or referring to a point made by an earlier speaker.
Short and Sweet
Make sure that you cover all the points in lucid language. Keep it crisp and don’t go on and on. See to it that your presentation finishes well within the stipulated time limit.
In the end, summarize by going through the main idea, the problem, major points and allow the audience to ask questions.