101: Making a Great Presentation

1. Have a Target Audience

Research, research, research! You need to know your audience to convey the information presented in a way relatable to them. Though you cannot pigeon hole your audience, you should consider a few ‘demographic’ differences:

Gender

Age

Interests

Knowledge of the topic presented

This is useful as if you are presenting to a group of highly qualified occupational health and safety officers, you may come across as condescending. The same replies for the opposite situation. Assuming your audience is highly knowledgeable on the topic ensures their interest will be lost as you discuss topics that are going over their heads.

2. Have a Great Opening

If you are presenting in a group it is always wise to have your strongest personality open and close the presentation. The opening is where you will capture the attention of the audience and is highly important. The closure is where you will make your final impact and it important to ensure it is a memorable one. However, we will talk more on closures later…

In the opening you would tell a story, paint the scene or ask a question. Your job, as a presenter, is to inform the audience and prove that you are effectively an authority figure on the topic of presentation. Throughout your speech emphasise important points and focus audio or visual aids on stressing these points to the audience.

3. Don’t Work of a Script

Memorising is advised against. It is unnatural and if you lose your place in the sequence the presentation will come to a halt. You should memorise the beginning and the end for maximum impact while focusing the ‘body’ section on key concepts. Your topic of presentation should be something you have researched and know inside-out. The best presenters connect with the audience through conversational like speech – something all presenters should aim for!

4. Close Memorably

As the close marks the finally of your presentation it is likely to remain etched in your audiences brain (more so than the introduction)! Emphasise and review your key points and encourage audience engagement, such as providing question and answers time.

5. Encourage a Q&A Section

Allowing your audience to ask questions is the number one way to promote engagement and interest. It keeps people focused on what you are saying and ensures they are actively listening if they know they will have their opinions and ideas heard. Another way of engaging the audience is through the use of PowerPoint presentations or video and audio prompts. Visual aids hold the audience’s attention span as opposed to just a presenter.

To read more about Inspire Education’s Training and Assessment courses, see Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

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