How to Deliver Powerful Short Presentations

Deliver Presentation

In almost any job commu­ni­ca­tion skills, espe­ci­ally oral presen­ta­tion skills, are a must have. Many profes­sio­nals have not noticed a change in the way that presen­ta­tions are conducted in recent years. Others, however, have found, or will find, that many presen­ta­tions can change drasti­cally in the way that they need to be prepared and deli­vered. One thing is for sure: time is precious, espe­ci­ally the personal time of your audi­ence members. You have a great presen­ta­tion to make but if you take too long and bore them, it’s wasted. This article aims to give ten tips on how to give an effec­tive short presen­ta­tion, whether you will be deli­ve­ring your presen­ta­tion to a live audi­ence, to an online audi­ence, or both.

1) Start on Time

It may seem obvious, but one way to make sure that your presen­ta­tion gets out on time is to make sure that you start on time. As Kevin Daum wrote for Inc., don’t delay starting your presen­ta­tion because a few people are running late, if you can avoid it. While it may be temp­ting to give some late-showers a few minutes of grace, espe­ci­ally if some key people haven’t showed yet, this can make your whole presen­ta­tion rushed, along with being disre­spectful to the people who did show up on time. If you notice people coming in late, consider giving a quick recap on important points if you happen to mention them again later in the talk.

2) Break it into 3 Points

To keep a presen­ta­tion short, consider divi­ding your presen­ta­tion topic into three main points, as suggested by Danny Wong of Blank Label. By intro­du­cing yourself and your three points, and then conclu­ding by resta­ting your three points and how they relate to the overall message you can keep your presen­ta­tion on point, and in many cases, actually keep it down to five or six slides. If you break your presen­ta­tion into three points and repeat the three key lessons in your conclu­sion, it will greatly assist people in remem­be­ring the presen­ta­tion content. Deter­mi­ning what those things should be can almost guarantee that your audi­ence retains the important stuff. It also helps you focus your time on the main points that you want to cover, so you do not waste time on less important sub-points.

3) Limit the Number of Slides

Most successful presen­ters, such as Guy Kawa­saki, recom­mend limi­ting the number of slidesso that a presen­ta­tion is no longer than 10 slides , and that the presen­ta­tion does not take more than 20 minutes, or half an hour at most. Combi­ning these rules mean that you can keep the text of the presen­ta­tion, an intro­duc­tion and conclu­sion slide, and still have plenty of room for pictures or charts to help you if neces­sary. This method can also help you pace yourself and allow appro­xi­m­ately one to two minutes per slide, depen­ding on the number of slides, and still have time for discus­sion or ques­tions after the presen­ta­tion. If you can’t meet these criteria, it may be best to consider split­ting your infor­ma­tion and giving two or more sepa­rate presentations.YouTube

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4) Replace Lots of Text with Strong Visuals

One good way to make a presen­ta­tion effec­tive, both in terms of saving time and in terms of getting the point across, is to use strong, clear visuals. This is not about using stock clipart or colorful presen­ta­tion slides. It’s about using visuals that actually commu­ni­cate your message – this helps make a connec­tion between your verbal words and the message of your presen­ta­tion. It also leaves a lasting memory in the minds of the audi­ence, which is important when cove­ring important content in a short time period. Visuals can help the audi­ence visua­lize and remember a point long after the presen­ta­tion, but they can also save you from needing to go over statis­tics, even if those statis­tics are powerful or important. Instead of running through a list of numbers, just say, “as you can see from this pie chart…”, and instead of expec­ting your audi­ence to remember that 65.3% of opera­ting costs went into IT you can be pretty sure that they’ll remember “IT took up a big piece of the pie this quarter”.

Presentation Visuals

5) Share a Personal Story

In addi­tion to remem­be­ring the infor­ma­tion, your presen­ta­tion can be more effec­tive if the audi­ence remem­bers you speci­fi­cally. Some presen­ters do this by drawing atten­tion to a perso­na­lity trait or past expe­ri­ence that you feel is unique about yourself. While this can leave a lasting impres­sion, it doesn’t take a lot of time to incor­po­rate into your talk, so it might be some­thing to consider.

Now while adding a personal story may seem like a waste of time when you have a limited time frame to make the presen­ta­tion, it can have a posi­tive effect. Sharing some­thing about yourself can quickly help the audi­ence iden­tify with you and the presen­ta­tion mate­rial. This means you grab their atten­tion which will help you quickly commu­ni­cate the points of your short presentation.

But the key here is to keep such personal stories or examples short, to the point, and ensure that there is a clear connec­tion with the content that will help you deliver your message.

6) Know Your Audience

You may also find it helpful to know who will be coming to your presen­ta­tion so that you can tailor the infor­ma­tion to the audi­ence. If you know what your audi­ence is likely to under­stand, you can skip intro­du­cing and educa­ting them on things that they’re already likely to know. On the other hand, if you know that one or a few of the people likely to be coming could use a little extra back­ground, you can incor­po­rate that into the presen­ta­tion quickly so that ques­tion and answer time after the presen­ta­tion isn’t taken up by the new guy asking what that big word on the first slide meant.

7) Test Your Technology Beforehand

Even if you have a masterful presen­ta­tion that clearly pres­ents your idea in 15 minutes flat, be sure that you can give the presen­ta­tion in that time by being sure you know the ins and outs of the equip­ment and soft­ware that you’re using. Whether giving an online presen­ta­tion or live presen­ta­tion, don’t let the actual show be your first time on that computer, in that room, etc.

Presentation Projector

8) At Least One Practice Run

Just as the tech­no­logy is needed to tran­si­tion properly, the human element needs to be polished as well. Most experts suggest that you prac­tice your presen­ta­tion in front of people to enhance your presen­ta­tion skills, but even if you don’t really get nervous, and are fami­liar with the soft­ware that you’ll be using, a prac­tice run can help you peg down the best way to present infor­ma­tion, and the best order to present it in. During a quick prac­tice run you may be surprised when you hear yourself repeat some­thing or spend too much time on one point. It will make you re-think what you really need to spend time on, which will lead to you redu­cing some content and focu­sing on what’s most important. This will help you finish your presen­ta­tion on time, as well as appear more professional.

9) Save Questions/Answers for the End

If these tips haven’t worked, and your presen­ta­tions still tend to go a little too long, it might be time to prio­ri­tize. Drop or skim over less important points to cover the big things. If you’re dedi­cated to saving time for discus­sion after your presen­ta­tion, consider suggesting the points you dropped be brought up after the presen­ta­tion. On the topic of ques­tion and answer sessions, if you know that you plan on leaving time for discus­sion after your presen­ta­tion, let your audi­ence know at the begin­ning of the presen­ta­tion to limit inter­rup­tions which not only bog down the presen­ta­tion on their own, but also can cause you to lose your train of thought as well.

10) Provide a Copy of the Slides

Provi­ding your audi­ence with copies of your slides allow late members to catch up on what they missed. It also allows you to put infor­ma­tion on the sheets that you don’t go into in detail in your presen­ta­tion, allo­wing indi­vi­duals in the audi­ence to direct more of their atten­tion to where they feel it belongs. This can be espe­ci­ally helpful if your presen­ta­tion is directed to a group of cowor­kers with various back­grounds and know-how. Having a copy of the slides to look back on can also reduce the chance of an audi­ence member asking for you to repeat some­thing that they can now re-read themselves.

Hopefully these tips will help you craft and deliver powerful short presen­ta­tions. Don’t put too much emphasis on keeping your time short and not enough on how exactly you will deliver the important messages in a limited time frame. Ever­yone wants a short presen­ta­tion, but even a short presen­ta­tion can be a waste time if it isn’t planned out properly.

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