How to Make a Successful Presentation: 5 Tips

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“You need to give a presentation this Friday.” The eight words students and businesspeople hear and shudder. Giving a presentation is stressful and it's easy to understand why. Between preparing your presentation to delivering it successfully, there are many different steps to take and many different things to take into account.

Fear not, though. We've compiled a list of the top five tips that you need to consider in order to make a successful presentation.

1. Compose your presentation carefully.

Think about the best presentation you've ever seen. Chances are, it was carefully crafted and curated in a way that was easy to follow and clear. There was most likely a clear introduction, body and conclusion (or call to action). From the beginning to end of your presentation, your audience should know exactly why you're giving a presentation, the pertinent information and what the next steps are.

The first step to creating a successful presentation involves creating an intro, body and conclusion. Here are some things to consider for each part of your presentation:

Intro:

The best introductions are brief, but deliver an overview of what you're going to talk about and why it's important so your audience knows exactly what to expect.

Body:

In the body of your presentation, you'll deliver the facts and evidence of your presentation.

Conclusion:

During your conclusion, you'll put the pieces together for your audience and direct them for next steps or deliver a call to action. Make sure that it's strong enough to elicit a response from your audience and compel them to take the next step you want them to.

If you're using a visual aid, such as a PowerPoint, for your presentation, you'll want to carefully construct this visual aid. Aim to use no more than 10 slides for your whole presentation, no matter how long it may be. On each slide, you should limit the amount of copy you use to no more than six words per slide, according to marketing experts. If you have too much text on the page, your audience will be concerned with reading all the text instead of listening to your words.

2. Strive for perfection.

There is nothing more destructive to your self-confidence or your credibility to give a presentation that is riddled with errors. Court cases can be decided by the placement of a singular comma—let that sink in. If something as simple as a comma can decide as case, it's not unlikely to think that if you've misspelled or misconstrued a key fact of your industry, you can lose your credibility and your presentation can be ruined.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to budget enough time for edits to be done on your presentation. It's ideal to have second or third set of eyes review your presentation before you deliver it. However, if that's not possible given your circumstances, give yourself a full 24 hours before you come back to your presentation and review it before delivering it. You can also employ the services of an online editing service to polish your presentation's grammar.

3. Don't underestimate the importance of the design.

The way you design your presentation is almost as important as the message you're delivering. There are plenty of free services that you can use to create a professional and clean presentation that will captivate and wow your audience. Here are some crucial considerations to keep in mind when designing your presentation:

Don't go crazy with color:

Color can be powerful, but it can also be extremely overwhelming. Try to stick to as few colors as possible, and only use one or two loud colors. That way, you can dazzle your audience without making them nauseous while they look at your visual aid.

Choose one font:

Choosing one font will help you establish an air of professionalism. Aim for a sans serif or serif font and stick to it throughout your whole presentation.

4. Be real with your audience.

Let's face it—people don't like to be duped. It's easy to spot an unauthentic pitch. And, in most cases, focusing on your prepared presentation when it's not authentic to you can cause you to seem insincere, which will make it hard for your audience to buy into your cause. Some ways that you can be real with your audience include:

Being vulnerable:

Letting down your guard will make you seem sincerer to your audience. You'll also seem more relatable, which will help you win your audience over even more. Sometimes, being vulnerable means sharing deep details about your life. For example, if you're asking for help raising money for cancer research, it may be helpful to share how cancer has affected your life.

Using humor:

Getting your audience to laugh, when appropriate, can make the tension in the room disappear and make you seem more likeable. However, if you're talking about a serious topic, you should probably not use this technique.

5. Practice makes perfect.

It's an old saying, but there's truth in it. Practice does really make perfect. By practicing your presentation over and over again, you'll become more familiar with the topic and more attuned to everything within your delivery.

Make sure to practice it out loud so you can get any tripping over your words out of the way. If possible, practice your presentation for your friends and family. They'll be honest with how you're doing and if they think you should change anything up.

Finally, always have a backup plan. No matter how much you practice, something could always go wrong when it's time for you to give your presentation. That's why it's so important for you to have a Plan B and Plan C so that you're prepared, no matter what happens.

Summary

By following these five tips, you'll be well on your way to delivering a successful presentation. Remember to create your presentation carefully, strive for perfection, don't underestimate the importance of design, be real with your audience and practice, practice, practice.

Through these steps, you're going to reach your goal of delivering a successful presentation. Best of luck!