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Presentation is the process of presenting the content of a topic to an audience. Presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote or OpenOffice.org Impress is often used to illustrate the presentation content.
Skeleton of a presentation
To deliver a good presentation, you should follow the four steps below:
- Planning: Understand your audience -- about their needs, their background, and the place where your presentation will be delivered. The way to present a topic to a group of elementary students is different from the way to present to undergraduates. To present in a meeting room, you can speak quickly; but when presenting in a hall, you need to speak slower. Plan your coverage so you can present within the time frame available.
- Preparing: Thesis statement -> objectives -> Outline -> coverage depth. Encourage responses, and stimulate reactions and their learning desire.
- Delivering: Deliver your presentation, with visual aids like presentation slides. Use animation sparingly, so it will not distract the audience. Think of putting summaries of each slide in the "note" portion of your presentation, and have them printed out as handouts to the audience.
- Reviewing: You may wish to deliver your presentations again. Review your performances so you can improve them the next time you perform.
- Waterfall diagram: This diagram breaks down 100% of the market share into their holders, sorting from largest to smallest.
- BCG diagram: This diagram is extremely useful in marketing, although most people only learn the basics of the diagram at undergraduate level.
- SWOT Analysis: This is clear and precise, and states the problem effectively.
Caution on Presentations
- Keep characters large enough to be read by your audience – minimum 18 pt font.
- Consider the place where the presentation will be delivered, and also the visual ability of your audience.
- Use Bullet Points sparingly. Use visual images instead as these will increase message retention.
- Avoid tables with too many rows and columns (such as balance sheets, as when people cannot read the characters, they become useless)
- Avoid jamming too much content in a page. Break it into two or three pages. Keep only a few points on each page.
- Make sure that you rehearse your presentation. You should plan to rehearse your presentation out loud at least four times.
There are a number of pitfalls that one should try to avoid when using different types of presentations. Some are as follows.
PowerPoint: Keep the slide layout and color scheme constant to make the presentation look professional and non-distracting. Limit the color scheme to two or three colors so that the slides do not look too complicated. Transitions and animations may be fun, but they should be used sparingly so that you do not distract the audience. Also, when presenting, use slides as an outline. Do not put all of your information onto a slide. Keep notes with you so that you can speak freely and not have to read the slides for help.
Posters/Collages: Keep these visual aids concealed until they are needed. If they are left in the open while the presentation is taking place, the audience will not pay attention to the presenter, but rather the poster/collage. After the visual has been used, conceal it once again for the same reasons. Make sure that the visual can be seen from all parts of the room so that the audience can see. Collages may require clutter at times, but it is best to avoid this for posters. Include a manageable amount of information that will get the point across, but still make the visual appealing. Be sure to keep the typography of the poster readable from even the back of the room. Large and clean font should be used at all times. It is also important that the color of the text compared to that of the background is such that it is also readable.
Pamphlets/Handouts: Try not to hand these out to the audience if at all possible. You could use an overhead projector if you like. If it is necessary to hand them out, do so only when needed so that the audience does not look at them and/or play with them. If they are handed out early, ask the audience to keep the visual face down or direct their attention to a specific page so that they are always following along. Always number the pages if there is more than one. This will help in case an audience member accidentally gets the pages out of order. It is best to wait till the end to give them out.
The speaker: Keep eye contact with the audience and not the visual. This shows you know your information well. Do not pace or walk around unless it is part of the presentation. This will distract the audience. Do not block visuals with your body. Practice the presentation so that it is pulled off with ease and always be prepared for the unexpected.
Questions: Whilst you may prepare some questions to ask the audience, you should also be aware that the audience may also ask you questions so it is best to come prepared for that too.
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