Creating Effective Presentations – Planning Is THE Key Ingredient

Published on September 18, 2012 by Annetta Wilson

Creating effective presentations that hit the mark is a little like putting together a puzzle. The majority of professionals in the business world rely on presentations at some point during negotiations.  Yet, the results are sometimes inconsistent. Some presentations clearly demonstrate the intended idea, while others leave people confused or, worse, disinterested.

How DO you make this tool work for you? One simple answer to creating effective presentations: planning.

Creating effective presentations means planning, planning and more planning. This often requires meticulous research. For business presentations, the plan should include answers to the following:

  • What point you want to make?
  • What benefits you are offering?
  • What makes you unique from your competitors?
  • What deal you are offering?
  • Why are YOU the only choice?

Good planning helps ensure that enough of your presentation sticks in the mind of your audience to support what you’re proposing at the end of your presentation. Hence, your slides should be used as props, not as running commentary.  Crowded data-filled slides often result in confused minds.  They pull the audience’s attention away from you and what you’re saying.

Slides should have a maximum of four lines of text or one image that represents one main idea. Always use the slide as a prop while YOU present your message.

When creating effective presentations, one important ingredient is your own conviction. If you are not sold on the idea you’re talking about, the presentation is going to fall flat on its face. The enthusiasm of someone who believes in what he or she is saying is infectious and essential when selling an idea

Keep slides and your communication simple and clear. Whenever possible, eliminate lists and data tables. Instead, put the gist or result on the slide. The key to creating effective presentations is clarity in your communication. If you have a lot of data to share, put the details in a handout and distribute it before or after your presentation.

While we are on the subject of planning in creating effective presentations, let’s not forget about the hardware. Many presentations fall flat because the logistics around hardware was not given enough attention. Always check that Internet connectivity, computer battery, your projector, outlets and anything else you need are available and in working order.  If possible, run through your presentation once to make sure there are no hidden glitches.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to creating effective presentations.

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