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'Perfect' Presentation Tips

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by 2007-11-08 16:24:09

PowerPoint is the most popular tool for giving presentations. It's ideal for everything from sales talks to academic lectures.

The program makes compiling and running a presentation easy, but there are still pitfalls that can trip up even the best presenter. Here are the eight P's to remember when planning a presentation:

  1. Purpose: Make sure you always know why you were asked to speak, who you will be speaking to, what they're looking to get out of your presentation and how you plan on delivering what they're seeking.

  2. Presentation: To start your presentation off with style, make sure you have a powerful opening. As you get into the meat of your presentation, remember it's your job to educate the audience, not inundate them with too much information. The bottom line is to make sure your audience understands the information you are trying to convey.

  3. PowerPoint: Always remember that less is more when it comes to PowerPoint. As you are laying out your slides, try to use the 5 x 5 matrix: no more than five lines and five words maximum per line. Also, never read your PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint was created to support the speaker, not be the speaker.

  4. Podium: If you find yourself speaking a lot, a good rule of thumb is to use a microphone when speaking to a group of 30 people or more. This will save your voice from unnecessary wear and tear. If you have the opportunity before your presentation to visit the room where you will be speaking, make sure the thermostat is turned down so the temperature will be at a comfortable level once the room is filled with people.

  5. Passion: It is by far the most important part of speaking. If somebody asks you to speak about something that you do not have true passion for, I suggest you decline the invitation and find somebody who does have the necessary passion for that particular topic.

  6. Perspiration: To help overcome any nervousness you might be feeling, always remember that you are the expert. If you know one more thing about a particular topic than anybody else, that makes you the expert.

  7. Practice: Always take the time to listen to your own presentation. I suggest using an audio tape recorder to listen to how you sound and a video recorder to see what you look like during your presentation. You'll be amazed at how much you'll learn about yourself. For the true beginning speakers, I suggest you check out a local Toastmasters chapter. For the more experienced speakers, I suggest you check out The National Speakers Association. Go to NSASpeaker.org for more information.

  8. Perfection: There is no such thing. Making mistakes during a presentation is very natural. What makes you a real pro is how you recover from these mistakes. No one in your audience knows you made a mistake, so just move on to your next point.

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