Many years ago, it was felt that making effective presentations was a skill required of people in sales and marketing. For others, it was thought, it was a “nice to have” skill and not by any means an essential skill. The world has changed since then and presentation skills has become an essential skill across every function in the corporate world. Be it a team meeting, a budget proposal, a project review or an employee conclave, presentation skills is the means for you to express your thoughts and ideas and convince people of your point of view.

Here are my 7 Steps for Making Effective Presentations:

  1. What’s The Objective? : Decide on the objective of the presentation: Are you sharing some information, making a sale, convincing someone of a different point of view, teaching a skill, providing perspective ? What is the end outcome you seek to achieve?
  2. Who Is Your Audience?: Crucial to decide the depth of content, length of presentation and the sequence of events. What’s In It For Them? What do they expect from your presentation? If you don’t remember anything else, remember Keep The Audience In Mind.
  3. Plan for Involvement: Depending upon the objective, make your presentation as interactive as possible. Anticipate issues and questions and be prepared to answer them. Budget adequate time to clarify doubts and answer questions. The presentation is over only when you have answered the last question.
  4. Use Body Language & Tone of Voice: Tough as it may sound, how you make the presentation is as important – and sometimes even more important – than what you say. Paying attention to your tone of voice and making sure that your body language signals confidence are essential ingredients to an effective presentation. Audiences smell fear. Be bold and overcome stage fright- with practice.
  5. Summarize key points: Either by listing the key points covered or by a chronological summary of all that you have said, remind the audience of the points you have made. This will underscore your message and help them retain it.
  6. Conclude on a positive note: The end is as important as the beginning. End on a positive note. Avoid an abrupt end or one so  prolonged that the audience becomes impatient. It’s your conclusion that determines the last impression you make on your audience.

Let me conclude on a positive note. You have it within you to make effective presentations. You know your stuff. All you need to do is to use these 7 steps and practice till you master this essential skill.

The next time someone asks for volunteers to make a presentation, don’t look at the others in silence. Grab the opportunity to develop yourself and project a positive image of your professional knowledge.

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This is Post No: 230  of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success