8 Steps to Preparing a Winning Presentation

preparing a presentation

There is no one who does not desire the standing ovation. That moment when you end your presentation with a “thank you” and the crowd bursts our in boisterous applause. Standing before people to present what is your brainchild or otherwise the product of your research is often a daunting task. Whether it is just an official presentation to a panel or an address to a crowd or congregation, it could be scary. Believe it or not, a lot of people are more scared of public speaking than death.

The need to be prepared and properly articulated could be your saving grace. It can save you from the sweating palms, nervous voice and the embarrassment of failing.

Are you a business owner, a sales rep, or a manager in your firm? If you are, then you cannot really run away from giving presentations. These tips below will help you prepare properly and deliver a winning presentation anywhere:

  1. Carefully Determine Your Topic

This first point is clearly working with assumption that the topic is not pre-determined for you.

Working on a presentation is work and requires a fair bit of research and planning. It is little wonder that the process often gets burdensome and boring. Choosing a topic that interests you is the wave of the magic wand that turns a herculean task into an exciting foray into knowledge.

We all work better with information that interests us.

  1. Expand Your Approach to Research

Assuming that the topic is predetermined as it often is then research will be the first place to start. Research presupposes that you are seeking information that you do not possess or do not possess with sufficient clarity. In other words, feeling familiar with a topic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t research on it.

Some people understand research as typing in your topic on Google and taking whatever comes up first. This kind of shallow research can hamper both your preparation and presentation.

Research here means doing all you can to get sufficient knowledge to work with. It can include interviews, internet searches, observation, experiments and any other means of collecting relevant information.

  1. Know Your Audience, Gauge Their Expertise

There are few things as frustrating as standing before a panel of doctors and telling them about basic personal hygiene. The demands on you for the presentation is largely determined by the expertise, the inclination and the expectation of your audience.

Studying and researching on your audience will help direct your work as to what heights you should aim for, what you should avoid, and what you should emphasize.

  1. Determine the Objectives and Sequence of Your Presentation

It is not sufficient to know what to say. The essence of preparing before the presentation is so that you will have all your facts and data all together in one place, your work planned out in proper sequence and your mind fixed on it.

A whole lot of charisma and data cannot undo the harm of a presentation presented in catastrophic sequence. Before you arrange your work, determine the areas you want to cover. Then arrange your ideas in such a way that they naturally flow into each other, creating a beautiful sequence.

While making presentations, many people make the mistake of overemphasizing on one point to the detriment of others. Proper planning will help you avoid this.

  1. Determine Your Presentation and Visual Aids

To enhance your presentation, use handouts, slides, video clips, audio recordings or other tools. Visual and audio aids help to stimulate attention and appeal to people of diverse learning styles.

Displaying slides or data visually to the audience often makes their leaning easier and makes it easy to follow you.

When presenting, you should also use aids like charts and tables, quote notable figures to give your work flesh. The good news is that creating these things isn’t rocket science. Even as a novice, you can follow these steps and create powerful visual aids.

  1. Determine How Much Time You Have and Plan Within Its Limits

There are few things as frustrating as strolling in with a hundred-page slide arrangement and hearing the dreaded words “you have just five minutes”.

If you notice that you probably over-prepared for a presentation, it will be difficult to tone down and just give an overview. Chances are you will not know what to include and what to exclude.

To avoid this, always ask to know how long your presentation is supposed to last.

  1. Practice Your Presentation

It is good practice after you have completed your research and arrangement to rehearse the entire work a few times and time yourself to fall within time. This way when you present you know exactly what will amount to an overemphasis.

Practice also helps ease tension and builds confidence. If you do not have an audience to practice with, try using the mirror. There is something unnerving about speaking to yourself that is quite similar to the experience of speaking to an audience.

  1. Start Pleasantly and Go Out With A Bang

The two parts of a presentation that people always remember long after the pie charts and mean curves and data has left their memory is your introduction and your conclusion.

It is because these are the most memorable points of your presentation. They are also your selling points and your distinguishing points. It is good practice to plan them beforehand and write them down.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to hold your own before any panel and audience. If you do your homework then all that is left is a home run!


Writer of TobyandKC
Toby Nwazor is an entrepreneur with a lot of hands-on experience in business start-ups, marketing, and customer service. He is equally a freelance writer and motivational speaker who believes that life is meant to be lived and not just existed in. He passionately writes every Monday and Wednesday on My Startup CEO about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups.