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5 Tips For Improving Work Presentations

Woman presenting charts at conference

Contributed by Cadrene Heslop

Sharing information with company staff is crucial for ensuring everyone that gets briefed about important company matters. There are many methods of communicating these matters. Companies with large resources make videos that are standardized according to the company brand. In smaller companies, weekly meetings usually suffice. But many situations call for live presentations.

If you are charged with the task, you are well aware of the pressures of having to give a presentation. The two biggest struggles include nervousness and unpreparedness. The more prepared the presenter is, the easier it is to deal with the nerves. So the first thing to do to take the pressure off is to research and learn.

Know Your Topic

When you stand in front of a group of people to present ideas, knowing the topic inside and out will help the words roll so much more easily off your tongue.

If your presentation is not on a topic you’re very familiar with, take the time to learn it before you present. If your presentation includes discussion, thorough research allows for the flexibility necessary to answer spontaneous, direct questions.

Having a wealth of information on the topic gives you some power to steer questions away from some areas and onto others. Additionally, broad knowledge base on the topic of the presentation allows you to provide an answer that adequately satisfies the inquirer’s curiosity.

Prepare Your Slides

Slides are a tool for your audience. They help them visualize what you are saying. The slides should not merely be your notes from which you read during the presentation. Nor should they be someone else’s notes that you don’t really understand. If you simply throw together your presentation with slides based on other people’s work, you will depend on them too heavily and stumble through your presentation. Your slides should be aids to help your audience understand, rather than your crutch to lean on because you don’t understand.

Slides don’t have to be complex to be worthwhile. They don’t have to include stats that you never discuss or complicated graphs and diagrams. They don’t have to be works of art. Slides simply need to be visual aids that give the audience another method for grasping the topic. Slides should be well-planned and well-timed that reinforce key points, showcase relevant images to engage the audience, and compliment the overall authentic tone of your presentation.

Present Information as an Idea

Great presentations are sometimes overshadowed by the audience’s lack of understanding. For general audiences, your presentation should have a buildup to the main idea of the presentation. Have your slides display definitions of jargon and spend a little more time on background information.

Generally, when presenting statistics, make comparisons with previous datasets (if any), show the relationship between datasets, and explain numbers using real-world contexts and examples. When the presentation is over try to keep channels open for feedback, as continuous communication ensures the concept is fully grasped.

Keep it Simple

Presentations that are simple are more easily digested by the audience. Straightforward language helps the audience understand the concepts, which are likely new to them. When we are introduced to new ideas, seeing them presented simply is helpful.

If your topic is complex, start out with simple ideas, presented clearly, and build on those ideas as you move to the more complicated concepts.

Include Team Members

Your coworkers have a different knowledge set than you have. Take advantage of that where you can. Delegate sub-topics to different team members and let them discuss the topics they know best in work presentations. At times, during the presentation, you can open the floor for accompanying presenters to further elaborate on a particular idea.

Conclusion

The best presentations are created by thorough research, diligent practicing of your speech, simple slides that reinforce the main idea, uncomplicated language, and using real-world, relateable examples.

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