WRITING YOUR PRESENTATIONS.
Presentations are all about passing out particular information to an audience. But then, there seem to be something quite intimidating for many people about the process of moving their thoughts from their head to paper (or a series of slides on the computer). Few people feel comfortable writing presentations.
Here, we will see the basic things you need to know when preparing your presentation. First, you really need a good mastery of what you want to talk about as you also need, to inspire your audience.
- Choose the medium which you would use to write out your presentation. It could be in powerpoint, canva etc.
- Consider the time you would be given to present as this will help you better organize your work.
Divide your presentation into 3 main parts.
Organise your work to have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. This could be summerised as ‘say what you’re going to say, say it, then say what you’ve said’.
Your introduction needs to ‘set the scene’ a bit and give a broad outline of what you are going to cover in your presentation. This should be in one slide.
Your body is where you present your main message. Make it short and straight forward, giving out your pertinent points. Here, you can have many slides depending on your topic of presentation and the time given to you for your presentation. But you should have 04 main points to make. These three main points could be summerise to answer to the questions “What, Why, How and Result”.
Divide your key message into four elements and then expand each of these points into four sub-points. If you are using a visual aid such as PowerPoint, limit the number of bullet points to four/five on each slide and expand on each of these as you go along.
- “What?” identifies the key message you wish to communicate. Think about the benefit of your message for your audience. What will they gain, what can they do with the information, and what will the benefit be?
- “Why?” addresses the next obvious question that arises for the audience. Having been told “what”, the audience will naturally then start to think “why should I do that?”, “why should I think that?” or “why should that be the case?”. Directly addressing the “why?” question in the next stage of your presentation means that you are answering these questions and your talk is following a natural route through the material. This will ensure that you have the audience on your side immediately.
- “How?” is the final question that naturally arises in the audience’s mind. They want to know how they are going to achieve what you have just suggested. Try not to be too prescriptive here. Instead of telling people exactly how they should act on your message, offer suggestions as to how they can act, perhaps using examples.
- “Result” shows the outcome of end results. This will make them have an idea of the outcome of all what you have been talking about. This serves as proof to the previous ponts already made.
Think about using stories to get your message across
Stories helped us survive by reminding us about important behaviours. We therefore tend to remember them much better than dry lists of facts or bullet points.Think of your presentation as telling a story to your audience. What is the point that you are trying to make, and how can you best get it across?
When, you start by telling a story, it will act as a ‘hook’ to draw in your audience. You can also use stories to illustrate each point you want to make. Of course, your story has to link to your main message, because you can pretty much guarantee that your audience will remember the story much longer than the conclusion!
Your conclusion needs to sum up and present your main message to your audience, probably again in a single slide. You could, of course, have a final slide that says something like “Thanks for your keen attention. Any Questions?”. Or, you could give your contact for details.
Editing Your Content
It is advisable, to take a break before starting this step. As you will be more awake to take note of any little mistakes you might have made when preparing your presentation. You could also ask a collegue or friend to help check out your presentation in case of any errors.
Once you have a first draft of your presentation, it is important to review and edit this. This will help to ensure that it really does get your message across in the most effective way.
When editing presentation content, you should consider:
- The language. Make sure that what you are saying will be clear to your audience. Remove any jargon and try to use plain English instead. If necessary, explain terms when you first use them.
- Consider using diagrams for a better representation of your work where necessary.
- Sentence structure. Use short sentences and keep the structure simple. Remember that you will be talking through your ideas and that the audience will be listening rather than reading.
- The flow. Make sure that your presentation structure leads your audience through your ideas and helps them to draw your conclusion for themselves.
- Use metaphors and stories to aid understanding and retention.
- ‘Hooks’ to get and hold the audience’s attention. Ensure that you have included several ‘hooks’ at various points in the presentation. This will help you to get and then keep the audience’s attention. E.g stories, videos.
- Check, and double check, for spelling and grammar. Make sure that any presentation slides or illustrations, titles, captions, handouts or similar are free from spelling mistakes.
Now, You are set to write your presentations without intimidation.