Preparing Presentations for Excellent Results: A Step by Step Guide

Preparing Presentations

Preparing presentations is as vital as actually doing presentation on the stage. Whether in academic or professional life, you may have to give oral presentations. Effective oral presentation requires rigorous struggle and keen observation as the objective behind the presentation is to change the behavior of your audience towards your desired mode of action. This article discusses the powerful planning steps in preparing presentations.

Whether you are to make a short speech of 3 minutes duration or you are to deliver a long speech of 30 minutes in length, you will plan it carefully in advance. Preparing presentations for an effective talk requires the following seven steps:

1. Determine the Purpose

2. Analyze Your Audience and Occasion

3. Research the Topic

4. Select The Main Ideas for Your Speech

5. Organize the Data and Write Your Draft

6. Create Visual Aids

7. Rehearse the Talk

five woman at the conference room discussing steps in preparing presentations

1. Determine the Purpose

This is the first and the most important step for preparing presentations effectively. You communicate to get the required results. You need some action or behavior as the ultimate result of your words. Thus the first step for preparing presentations is to determine your purpose. The goal behind each presentation is : to inform or instruct; to persuade; or to entertain.

To Inform or Instruct:  You aim to clarify, secure understanding, and explain a process. Your teacher delivers a lecture to Inform you. Similarly, in business often you are asked to make an idea clear, explain the results of a survey or investigation, or give instructions to the new employees. In all this, your purpose is to develop understanding.

To Persuade: Gaining willing acceptance of an idea is central to persuasion. Here the word willing is important. You hope that at the end of your speech, your listeners will accept your claim, proposal, thesis, or opinion. In business you have to do this through proving your claim logically. Besides, persuasion also helps us in stimulating, motivation, inspiring people to your view or offer.

To Entertain: Sometimes, you have to make speech to entertain social or business gatherings like anniversaries or the organization, celebrations of promotion or retirement of colleagues, inauguration of a new branch, etc. On such occasions you have to color your speech with humor to create pleasant atmosphere for amusement of the audience.

2. Analyze your Audience and Occasion

Adapt your speech to the audience and occasion. If your speech is within your organization, you already have detailed information about who and how much will be your audience. Thus you have little trouble preparing presentations that affects.

But if have to deliver a speech outside the organization, you must seek out information like age range, goals, size of the group, goals, occupations , and other details necessary for preparing presentations for results. You can get some of this information from the person who invited your to speak. Similarly you can obtain information from the other members of the group. Add more technical expressions and jargon if all the members of the audience are from the same occupation such as marketers, sales persons etc.

3. Select the Main ideas for the Message

 After your purpose and audience analysis, the next step for preparing presentations is to select your main ideas for the message. Then gather additional information. Your initial list of core ideas may be haphazard and disorganized which is OK. You can sort out those points and ideas that are workable, and comply with the requirements of your theme. You must be very careful on this stage. The biggest pitfall here is that most people rush on this stage. Make sure you are cool and meticulous. Do not assume that this early structure will work as your final version.

an old woman sitting while talking with another woman about steps in preparing presentations

4. Research the Topic

Never accept any ideas on the basis of their face value. Rather make necessary research to collect the facts for preparing presentations. Such research is not necessary for short talks but, in long speeches where important arguments and ideas are presented, you must be very careful what whatever the ideas you present are supported by facts, based on intensive survey and thorough research.

5. Organize the Data and Write the Draft

After gathering your information for preparing presentations, it is time to put order and organization on your data. This is usually in the form of an initial outline. Make sure you convert the data into a logical order to write the draft for finally preparing presentations. An important thing to remember here is the format of a speech. A good speech follows the following three parts format:

a. Introduction: Introduction of your speech has a great importance. Introduction does the following things for you: Get attention of the audience, include and aim or purpose, and lay out the direction of the speech. in order to do so, use the PAL formula.

Porch              These are your opening remarks. It is your throat-clearing statement, your preamble, your introduction, your greeting. Moreover, you may begin with a question, quotation, a reference to the occasion, a startling question, a reference to the past, or a humorous story. Use one or more of these choices to make an attention-grabbing start.

Aim                  Here you talk about your purpose as to why you are giving the talk. You state your purpose and aim of your remarks clearly and straightaway. Here you make your intent clear.

Layout             This is your agenda. Here you tell your audience your main parts. Doing this by number gives the audience a precise understanding of the major points you will cover in your speech. In other words, it is the road-map for what follows the introduction.

b. Body: It is the main part of your speech that consists of the message you want to convey. It includes a detailed discussion of the point. Some people call the discussion part as the heart of the message. Here you support your argument with evidence, and data for the central claim. Here you organize the supports for your central purpose. Organizing the body of the talk is similar to developing the text or discussion for a major paper. The difference, however, is that in speaking you are limited in terms of time. Such time constraints often demand to keep your talk to two or three main points.

c. Summary or Conclusion: Sum up your speech in the last part. Do emphasize wheat you want to convey. This summary reminds the audience of the main ideas covered in the body of the talk, whereas conclusion draws inferences from the data. Regardless of whatever is your intent, there must be an impressive and lasting ending or “closing” remarks to your remarks. Make sure to end your speech with words that resonate in the ears and mind of your audience even after your speech.

6. Create Visual Aids

Visual aids are useful devices to get your message across the audience effectively. They help you not only to explain your view point but also make your audience focus their attention on what you are displaying. So it is highly recommended to come up with visual aids like multimedia, charts, white-board, etc. to support you for preparing presentations that moves the audience.

7. Rehearse the Talk

This is the final step for preparing presentations before you actually present something to the audience. You cannot display confidence and command if you do not rehearse your talk. There are two main purposes behind rehearsals: You will become more comfortable with your material and you can still revise where needed. When you rehearse, make sure you stand and deliver your talk out loud. REMEMBER….! Three rehearsals are recommended. If you rehearse too much, the statement sounds memorized.

Remember The Following Issues While You Rehearse:

1. Always imagine as if you are delivering your speech on the stage in front of the audience.

2. Use transitional phrases and sentences to show your listeners that relationship between various sections of your report. Make sure you use short sentences and usual familiar words. Avoid long and complex sentences and unusual bombastic words. This makes your speech unclear and difficult to understand.

3. Take your points one by one. Support each with its supporting material. Move to the next point only when you are done with the current one.

4. Include the visual aids you will use in your actual presentation.

5. Anticipate questions from the audience. Jot them down on a paper, and consider thoughtful answers. You may take help from your friends, colleagues, class-fellows, as the case may be.

6. Stop at the allotted time. Then cut and revise the speech accordingly until you reduce it to the extent that you can deliver it within the time limit, allowing also for a question-answer session.

If you are interested in reading about Speaking Skills, please see my other articles regarding the subject.

Please don’t forget to leave your valuable feedback on the topic of preparing presentations in the comments section at the end of this article!

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  1. Navaid Ali

    Great article, very informative, thanks for writing.

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