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How Do You Actually Ace That Presentation?

by Jananie Chandrarao. |

For some, there would be a ton of presentations you would need to do every semester as a university student. If you’re in university and this is not the case yet, please enjoy yourself while the freedom lasts. It gets even tougher when you enter the work environment where what’s at stake for a presentation is not just marks anymore, but your job itself.

Ever wondered why learning “The Art of Presentation” is extremely vital? As easy as it looks like when others are presenting, the process behind such an outcome is not. In this article, I will walk you through the ‘Pre-Presentation Preparation Process, let’s just call it 4P for short, bolstered with smart tips divided into three main categories so that you can blow minds at your next presentation:

1. Preparation is key

The first part of our 4P is preparation itself - this includes many things. If a presentation topic is not something that is assigned to you then the first step is choosing the right topic.

  • Tip #1: Choose topics that you can relate to or have the most understanding of. Being able to relate to or having an understanding of something gives us a general idea of what we want to discuss during the presentation. In the instances where topics are assigned to you.

  • Tip #2: Do extensive reading regarding the topic. Google and YouTube make it even easier by providing you unlimited access to material to read on, learn and understand regarding your topic.

Once you have enough of an idea of what you are going to present about, next will be the preparation of materials used. Almost all the time, it comes down to a PowerPoint presentation slide.

  • Tip #3: The purpose of any presentation material is a tool to ease the transfer of information. So don’t be that guy who reads the ENTIRE slide to everyone. Instead only include the summary of the information, even in bullet point form and use it as a guide to further explain the information. Try to use a light-coloured background, and a dark and visible font size so that your audience would not have to strain their eyes trying to read your slides. A reminder that no one gives extra marks based on how many colours you can put in a slide. Include visual representations such as charts and images if necessary to further aid your presentation.

  • Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to explore. Although PowerPoint is the default presentation material used, remember that there are more visual aids such as overhead projectors, whiteboards, paper handouts, videos and flip charts. Choose what helps you best to present your material. Fool around a little and have fun with a tinge of creativity.

2. Practice makes perfect

If you think that you can nail a presentation without sufficient preparation, anyone in the universe would tell you that it's wrong. Based on the drive theory of social facilitation, the mere presence of other people, in this case, your audience will only facilitate a well-learned response and inhibit the less-practised one due to increased physiological arousal. This means, unless you have sufficiently practised before an anxiety-inducing presentation, the tendency for a screw up is incredibly high.

Practising is not just dryly repeating what you plan to say in a presentation. It consists of how you’re going to present your material in the most engaging way possible. Sitting down and watching a presentation is more boring than you think it is. Thus, the only way to keep your audience engaged to listen to what you have got to say is how you present it.

3. Present yourself well

The third part is the final preparation before the big day. It's important to look proper and presentable. Dressing well not only boosts your self-confidence but it also allows others to take you more seriously. In the process of dressing well, make sure you adhere to the dress code policy of the university or company.

Trust me, no one needs captain sweatpants presenting. Instead, go for more semi-formal to formal outfits. Avoid strong perfumes and excessive jewellery. Moderation is always the key. The central focus here is the presentation, not you.

This final set of prepping is to be very well prepared with your material as well. There is nothing wrong with having the slides and videos backed up in two other pen drives, or keeping the charts in your bag or car a day before the presentation. You don’t want to rush at the last minute and stress yourself out even further.

4. Present your best and not to impress

Delivering important presentations is not easy, but it is not impossible either. With a little hard work and a lot of practice, you can leave even your lecturer, client or boss in awe. Remember that the goal here is not to just impress everyone but to just do your best in a way it leaves your audience impressed. Robin Sharma says that ideation without execution is just mere delusion.

We hope that you have gained some insightful ideas and tips to help master The Art of Presentations. It's time to put these tips to good use and leave your audience with a lasting impression of your presentation and even the information you'll be sharing.

Good luck!

You may find out more about Jananie on her Instagram too.

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