Presentation is art of presenting, for the purpose of information, persuasion or to analyze something. And there are as many types of presentation as there are life situations. It depends upon, occasion, purpose, history of presenter, and type of audience which makes a buildup of a presentation. A good presenter knows situation, types of audience, duration of presentation, expected 1st reaction of audience, possible question to be asked, and their answers. And then prepare the presentation based upon that.
So by know you would have realized that presentation is a broad topic and to understand it fully one has to have knowledge of psychology and mass communication, good at linguistics and expert of what (s)he is presenting. This hub just covers some essential presentation skills which in general apply to most presenting situations, with little variations if not exactly the same. These apply mostly to in-classroom seminars or university project presentations.
Recently I had been part of a course seminar where we had to present our project. The project was related to design of water & wastewater and storm water management system for a small community. All the presentations went well, and at the end the professor commented in general on all presentations. Some of the comments were related to technical and engineering details of projects and some of them were related to general presentations and their styles. And I want to share some of those here as I think these are quite useful not only for students but also for professional presenters.
The quality of work, services or whatever you are presenting speaks itself and you cannot do much about that during presentation. However it is the presentation style which makes or alters 30% of opinion about what you are presenting. Following are a few points which can improve the presentations and helps audience to listen you more attentively with a positive mindset.
- Start presentation with your own introduction and your background in one or two sentences. This helps audience to be more familiar with you and creates positive impact on what you will have to describe. There is a well know saying that “First impression is last impression”.
- During presentation stand with a stable position, and show that you have control over your actions. This shows that you are not nervous or unconscious and are fully prepared and attentive. Normally it happens that boys cross their arms on chest or put both hands in pockets while talking. Similarly girls stand most of time cross legs. These are just unconscious things merely to feel inner security and confidence, and presenters do not even notice this while presenting. This does not pose a good effect on audience. Just remain in position or style which you make during discussions with parents or style. Also next time just see your favorite teacher during class, and observe deeply his or her presentation style. That how he enters the class, how he start his presentation (that is lecture), how he ends, his style to pick and use of pointer. This will make you learn many things just beside course contents.
- Use pointer only when you need it and use it carefully, and just know that you have pointer in your hand. And when you have used the pointer to show audience something on slide, just place it back on table or other suitable position. Sometime it happens that if you have pointer all the time in your hand, you start moving or rotating it unconsciously. That is not a good gesture during presentation and it may even sometimes be harmful to you or for audience.
- Try to be fully prepared before presentation. However, if at all you need some papers during presentations do not pick them in hands all the time. Place them on dice or on a table in front of you. If you need to see or read these papers, pick those papers and when you finish the need just place them back. Do not use papers in your hand as pointer.
- Know that how much time you have been given for presentation. And always finish your presentation about 30 seconds before allocated time will make a really good effect on audience. Normally it is good to keep eye on clock during presentation. But even better is that practice the presentation about 1 to 3 times before official presentation.
- Practice the presentation before delivering; it gives you confidence and control over time. This is especially good if it is a group presentation, as then you know how much you have to speak on each topic or slide. And how much everyone has to talk in a group. If you are presenting alone practice in front of mirror or ask a friend to listen and comment on it. The confidence you gained by practicing will also help you having a eye contact with audience. While otherwise it is likely that you spend most of your time looking at slides instead of audience.
- If you are using figures or tables it is always better to reference them as to who made them or who photographed them. However this is not necessary when you have yourself photographed or prepared yourself. But then mention it during presentation, not specifically, just in flow.
- While making answer at the end of presentations, do not get nervous if you realized that something went during the presentation, or in assignment or project you are presenting. If you realized yourself (that is without being pointed by someone else), just stay calm and see if someone noticed it or not. And if somebody points out some mistake or something which you missed, or even something by which your project could be more improved, take it positively. And just say “Thank you very much for your valuable suggestion, I did not thought about it during making of project, However when next time we shall do similar thing we shall take care about what you have pointed out etc. “
Last page of presentation is what that is normally displayed most of time during presentations. Because when you end the presentation, you stop on last page and ask the audience for any question or comments about what you have just presented. During this occasion last page is being displayed for most of time during discussion. So it should not be just ended with a question mark on it. You can use one or more from below for making your last slide more value added. You should use this opportunity to
- Display a beautiful picture or diagram related to what you have presented
- A good message which you want to deliver at the end of presentation, that may be the extract of your presentation
- Your contact informationor
- Just latest write “Thank you for listening”, Thank you for your patience” etc.