Steps for setting up a presentation
1.Define your objectives.
•What outcome do you want? What do you want your audience to do as a
result of your presentation? Your objective determines what you say and how
you say it.
•Examine your purpose. Do you want to inform, persuade, or sell? Do you
want the audience to understand, learn, or take action? When do you want
your audience to take action and how?
•Be explicit in defining your objectives. The more explicit you are, the more
likely you are to design a presentation that supports them. For example: "I
want the audience to request that their direct reports participate in the pilot
system rollout in Q1."
2.Get to know your audience.
•Determine your audience's level of knowledge, interest and positioning, and
ability to act on what you present prior to the presentation.
•Make sure you know what is in it for them. Keeping your presentation
audience-focused is critical.
•If you are not familiar with the group, ask the liaison for the meeting to give
you some background. If possible, try to contact at least one person who fits
the audience profile.
3.Select a strategy that matches your objective.
•For example, making a sale will require a persuasive bent that might include
features and benefits and competitive data comparisons.
•Include whatever information helps you achieve your objective. Omit anything
extraneous, distracting, or interfering.
4.Match your presentation to your audience.
•For example, a presentation to a technical group of decision makers is going
to contain more quantitative detail than a presentation to a group of less
technical junior managers.
•In cases where there is a mixed audience, try to address the different
perspectives explicitly to keep everyone interested. For example, "This will
affect the product managers like this... and the engineers like this..."
•In cases where the audience is likely to be hostile, begin by emphasizing
concerns you have in common. Turn the negative into a positive, if possible.
•To energize an apathetic, tired, or hungry audience, open with a startling
statement or a vivid illustration
Steps for creating a presentation
2.Identify your message and supporting facts.
3.Select the number of points that will make the case to your audience within the
•It is better to make fewer points and make them well.
•If you do not have time to make a point clear or acceptable to your audience,
save it for another presentation.
•If you are not sure how long your talk may run, prepare extra supporting
material such as statistics, analogies, or examples that can be omitted if you
are running out of time.
4.Organize your points.
•To keep your audience on track, make the logic of your presentation clear at
•Place your strongest point first or last. Do not bury your best ideas.
•In the opening, state where you are headed and what you want to prove or
•In the body, support your main points with examples, visuals, and anecdotes.
•At appropriate intervals, note what you have already covered and where you
are about to go.
•To close, present your conclusions and give the audience a call to action. 5.Prepare a list of possible questions and objections, and decide how you will address them if they arise.
6.Prepare your visuals and support materials. These materials can help your audience to:
•Understand ideas, relationships, or physical layouts.
•Recognize that you are moving on to a new topic.
Steps for practicing and evaluating
•Rehearse with the equipment and visuals you will actually use at the event.
•Rehearse the entire presentation each time you practice, including how you
are going to stand and move, and how you are going to use the visuals.
•Rehearse out loud until the presentation does not sound memorized.
•Concentrate on the subject or message and your desire to communicate, not
on your notes.
•If the presentation is a high-profile one to a large group, you can videotape
your practice session to evaluate it more closely.
2.Gather feedback prior to your presentation.
•Practice your presentation on test audiences and get their feedback.
Assemble people who are similar to your audience profile. For example, if
you are presenting to experts on the topic, get an expert.
•Test as many features of your presentation as you can: the visuals, logic, etc.
•What kind of impact do you make on this group?
3.Evaluate the progress of your presentation while it is in process.
•Look for audience cues such as interest or boredom.
•If possible, have another person in the audience take notes on audience
reaction for you.
•Make notes on those issues immediately after the presentation while it's still
fresh in your mind.
•Note questions asked. They may point to areas of your presentation that
•Ask the audience how it's going, if appropriate.
4.Evaluate your presentation after you have finished.
•Assess the overall effectiveness of your presentation. Was your objective
achieved? Did the audience seem engaged and attentive? Note what went
well and what needs to be improved.
•Ask for feedback from credible participants.
•If you are going to make the presentation again, what changes would you
make to improve it?
•What general lessons have you learned about making presentations? 5.Reflect on what you have learned and use your new knowledge to improve your
Tips for setting up a presentation
•Identify the presentation objective—it will drive everything else you do. •Learn as much as you can about your listeners, their biases, and their expectations. •Address your topic from the audience's perspective.
•Tailor your presentation to accommodate the context—the physical environment, time
of day, and significant ongoing events that may affect your listeners.
Tips for organizing a presentation
•Make the logic of your presentation clear at all times.
•Place your strongest point first or last. Do not bury your best ideas. •State in the opening where you are headed and what you want to prove or
•At appropriate intervals, note what you have already covered and where you are
about to go.
•Summarize your main points and present your conclusions in the close.
Tips for creating visuals
•Use a single idea with no more than six lines per slide.
•Be selective with your words.
•Use pictures where possible.
•Don't use vertical lettering.
•Use a maximum of two sizes of type per page.
•Use bullets, not numbers, for non-sequential items.
•Use uppercase and lowercase letters. Only use all uppercase for titles or acronyms.
Tips for presenting effectively
•Do not talk from a script. Talk from notes.
•Face your audience and make eye contact.
•Walk around your audience when you want control, more involvement, or to become
one of the group.
•Do not jingle keys or coins in your pockets.
•Use gestures in a relaxed and normal way.
•Use your voice effectively.
•Keep your focus on your message and your audience.
•Preliminary planning worksheetAudience characteristics worksheet
Presentation context worksheet
Presentation outline worksheet