Whether we’re at a team meeting or making a presentation for an audience, we all have to speak in public once in a while.
We can do it well, or we can do it badly, but one thing is sure: the result will affect what other people will be thinking about us.
That’s why public speaking causes so much anxiety and worry; the good news is that with preparation, practice, and other techniques, you will overcome your nervousness and perform exceptionally well! In this article, you will learn which elements make an excellent presentation.
The 10 Key Elements of a Great Presentation
We all want to make a good impression, to build rapport and ace any presentations that we do at work, or when speaking in front of others in general. There are those who are great at it, and those who for the lack of proper guidance and experience fail at it, or worse never even try to do it due to fear.
The question that raises then is…
What are the elements of a good presentation?
The 10 key elements of a GREAT presentation a1. PREPARATION AND PLANNING
Before getting into a strong presentation opening, the overall delivery techniques to keep the audience engaged and so on, we have got to talk about Planning. In order for a Great presentation to come to be, there needs to be serious planning for it (like many things in life).
What are the key aspects of Planning a Great Presentation?
- Get to know Your Audience
- Select a Relatable Topic
- Plan the Delivery from Beginning to the End
- Write down a simple speech outline
- Get some interesting Quotes and Stories ready
- Rehearse and Rehearse some more!
- Finish under 10% below the Real Presentation allotted time
- Familiarize with the venue
- Arrive early and test all the tech before starting the delivery
2. THE DEBUT AND OPENING
A successful entry will give you energy, a good connection with the audience, and establish your presence on stage.
Most presentations are often determined by the quality of how they begin; hardly an audience will be interested in what you have to say if a negative image is already created in their head.
Start big and make your mark! Before entering the stage, you will be backstage, seated in the back of the stage or at the foot of it.
As soon as your turn arrives, enter the stage by walking with a determined step, neither too soft nor too fast, make eye contact with the audience as soon as possible (keep on reading, and we will explain to you why this is crucial).
To deliver the presentation, we advise you to move to the center of the stage, take your support and count to three before you start talking.
3. SHARE VALUABLE INFORMATION
The first thing that will guarantee you to make a good presentation is the choice of material: talk about what you know, so much so that you’re comfortable talking about it.!
To prepare your presentation, make a list of some ideas; they must be in a few words and be logically linked: it is the structure of your outline that you must know by heart.
Each of these points must be simple enough to be dealt with in less than ten minutes; too long a development would make you lose attention.
When you hold your structure, you can work on transitions. These are key moments where you release the audience and mobilize their attention again for the next part.
4. PRESENTATION STYLE
There are many ways to tell your story. Some people, primarily if they are not used to speaking in public, prefer to write a text and read it aloud; others prefer to make a list of things they want to talk about.
Finally, some people who speak in public do not need notes to make their presentations.
Choose the style that suits you best, and you will probably notice that your presentation style will change over time or depending on the audience you are speaking to.
If you want to learn more, we have an interesting piece on the different methods of speech delivery. Check it out, it should prove helpful in deciding your approach.
5. GOOD ARTICULATION OF IDEAS
A good speaker must have several qualities, which you will develop as you make presentations; in addition to conveying your message, you need to showcase yourself. Show the public that you are confident – even if you are not entirely convinced.
Being an excellent speaker requires having some degree of knowledge of the topic of discussion, it is not helpful to not have nothing to say; this is why we always advise starting by identifying the key message.
Be aware of the words you use and make sure they are appropriate for your audience. For example, if you talk to young people, use words they understand.
Use terms that will attract their attention based on their interests; whatever you say, be yourself, and don’t use slang or jargon if you don’t know the meaning.
6. ENGAGE THE AUDIENCE WITH COMPELLING STORYTELLING
Telling a story is much catchier and can be very visual and engaging to the audience when it comes to delivering the message and engaging the audience.
There are several ways to do this, but none draws so much attention to the public and creates future memories, such as using a good story.
Inserting experiences, facts, and anecdotes will make the whole thing more personal, appeal to each listener, and make it easier to remember your message more.
According to the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive, and Others Die,” in a speech, only one in ten students counts one.
It is curious to note that after the end of the speech, about 63% of the public say they remember the stories told. It seems so obvious this is a great way to create an impactful presentation.
7. CONTENT OF THE PRESENTATION
Be sure to highlight the three key ideas you want to share; these ideas will be the thread of your presentation and will prevent you from getting lost along the way.
The simpler and clearer they are, the better. The same goes for the visual support, and we hope it is user-friendly without it becoming a distraction to what you have to say. Less is more; that is the rule.
In video conferencing, the same approach applies; opt for a simple presentation, with moments for your audience to ask questions.
If you need to submit complex charts, you can also send them in advance to avoid losing your audience’s attention.
8. VISUAL CONTACT
One of the most common mistakes is to address everyone as a group; the best way to hook an audience is to look at people individually and face-to-face, and spend 3-5 seconds talking to each one of them, as you shift to a different sentence or idea.
If you have a videoconference, choose to look at the virtual eyes and try to look at the camera rather than yourself; this way, you will not give the impression of looking elsewhere.
If it intimidates you, we look for an open and benevolent gaze in the audience to which we can return whenever the nervousness takes over.
In a video conference, you can hang a picture of a person you are comfortable with above your camera and pretend to present it to that person to look in the right place. Although, some people may see through this trick.
9. BODY LANGUAGE
Good body language will give you comfort on stage and reinforce the critical passages of your speech; the gestures are much simpler than they seem.
A good body language also is natural, open, and expressive. Natural, because it corresponds to your style. If you are rather expansive, you can make significant and many gestures.
Each gesture has a meaning, so if you try to adapt some motion that doesn’t correspond to your natural communication style, it can be noticed, and everything may seem forced.
We will explain how to practice the gestures, but before that, let us list some gestures to avoid:
- Putting one or two hands in the pockets gives an impression of disregard, of flippancy;
- Contrary to a common myth, keeping your arms crossed does not mean that you have a closed attitude; it is usually just a comfortable position and may sound a bit informal.
- Having the arms behind the back this is a position indicating a certain discomfort on the part of the speaker;
- Finger-pointing (regardless of a finger): This is a gesture that is considered coarse or inappropriate in many cultures;
- If you want to show a direction, it is better to do it by extending the whole hand, using an image, or verbally.
10. STRESS MANAGEMENT (Keeping Fear in Check)
Public speaking is one of the most feared activities, as it leaves us very vulnerable to the sometimes unpredictable reactions of the public.
Fortunately, there are different methods to manage this stress; we are all different, and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another.
For example, some people will use meditation to relax before delivering a presentation, or in other situations, they get anxious or nervous. In contrast, for others, it will only increase their stress.
However, fundamentally, the root causes are almost the same for everyone:
A. The fear of facing judgment and the eyes of the public, this fear can also derive from fear of failure;
B. The fear of the unknown, the impossibility of controlling the future, generates anguish of sometimes unbearable waiting.
To combat these two causes, there are many methods. I will list a few here:
- Repeat to yourself the content until you know you know it. Lack of preparation is one of the significant causes of stress and one of the reasons why people choose reading notes;
- Stay in the present moment by counting each time you inhale and exhale to avoid building disaster scenarios or worrying about the future;
- Treat the content like a casual conversation you will relate your friends in so it will be easier for you to remember without anxiety because it’s familiar.
- Do not assume that you don’t know enough, teach what you know, and endeavor to keep learning about what you don’t know. One sentence of what you know today could very well change the life of one or more people in your audience.
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Reference and Further Reading