How to Plan a Good Presentation

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Before you start:

  • Gather the necessary material and arrange it in a logical sequence.
  • For best results, maintain a content theme and format by using common borders page layouts and colors.
  • Ensure the correct placement and usage of the company logo, if applicable.
  • Most people only absorb about three key points from a speech.
  • What about those key points and how are they best communicated visually?
  • Remember that the visuals are used to emphasize important points, not to reproduce the speaker's notes.
  • Illustrate one topic per slide.

Determine your objective, are you instructing, informing or selling a product or idea?

  • Choose a font that is easily comprehended and large enough to be seen.
  • Do not use capitals. Upper and lower case is more easily comprehended.
  • Limit copy to 6 lines maximum per slide and 6-7 words per line.
  • Use the titles to make a statement, but keep them short.
  • Use a larger font font for the slide title, 36-point is the minimum.
  • Use color to highlight important points and add interest.
  • Use complimentary colors.

Consider the impact of different colors.

- Blue portrays calm and quiet, gives a positive feeling and is ideal for the background.
- Red is related to danger, alertness and problems, use it sparingly.
- Green is seen as restful, cool and assured.
- Yellow is warm and vibrant, it gives a feeling of energy.
- Use tinted backgrounds to reduce glare and aid concentration.
- Use light colors for text and for emphasis.
- The best text colors are white, light green, light blue etc.
- The eye is naturally drawn to yellow.
- More than 4 feature colors, including the background, can reduce comprehension.
- Use illustrations and diagrams that are relevant.
- Use symbols to draw attention to important points.
- Use dark colors for background and avoid gaudiness.
- Use color, rather than underlines, to make important points stand out.
- Avoid overuse of italics, dropped shadows, bold and color emphasis.
- Remember when using color, that 4 percent of men and 1 percent of women are color blind.
- Charts are an ideal way of conveying information and they should be used to emphasize a point.
- Line graphs show relationships over a long period of time.
- Bar charts show relationships over short periods of time.
- Pie charts show percentages.
- Organizational charts show structural relationships.
- Flow charts demonstrate the flow of data and processes.
- Gannt charts show time flows and interdependencies in projects.

Preparing the presentation:

  • Become familiar with the room and its layout.
  • Check seating and lighting and the data projector position for optimal viewing.
  • Before starting check the equipment and learn the controls.
  • Try and keep a spare data projector lamp (these are expensive though).
  • Focus the data projector and adjust to obtain clear images.
  • Go to a black screen when you are talking for a long period or using a white board.
  • Ensure that the audience have an uninterrupted view of the proceedings.

 Verbal presentation tips:

  • Speak clearly and use simple language, avoid complex sentences.
  • Involve your audience, challenge their preconceptions.
  • Ensure that the image matches the spoken text.
  • Use rhetorical techniques to maintain interest, change voice intonation and vary tone and volume.
  • Use pauses for effect.
  • Rehearse your presentation to get it right!

Check out the Small Business World Mailing List, great tips information, and FREE downloads to help start and grow your business!

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2 thoughts on “How to Plan a Good Presentation

  1. Graeme Walker

    well done John your knowledge is SME development is in valuable keep up the good work Graeme

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