At some point in your career, you’re going to have to give a presentation. You could be reporting year-end results to upper management, pitching to a new client, even trying to convince your boss to give you a promotion. It’s fairly common knowledge that many people don’t enjoy or fear public speaking. However, learning how to give a solid presentation not only makes you a better employee, but also leaves a lasting impression.
Getting more comfortable with giving a presentation doesn’t mean you need to do them all the time – though it helps – or spend all night moving around pictures and text for the “perfect presentation.” There are simple steps to making your next presentation at work your best one.
Create, Prepare, Present with the Audience in Mind
If the task at hand is to present the results of a recent social media campaign, the first step is to interpret the data. Now you need to present this data to upper management. This can go multiple ways, but let’s imagine that upper management has nothing to do with social media, and they need to understand what you’re talking about.
Assuming that your audience understands every nuance of social media and speaking to them as if they do is the first way to lose them. In this case, you’re interpreting data, but you also need to adapt your explanations to different audiences.
So, as you prepare this presentation, think about who you’re talking to. You can keep a base presentation, but you shouldn’t give the same exact one to your direct colleagues as you would to higher-ups. Presenting for your audience is one of the better steps you can take to giving your best presentations at work.
When you’re putting together your presentation, a natural inclination is to include lots of data, bullet points, pictures, and more. The key to preparing a great presentation is by sticking to one idea per slide and relying mostly on what you’re going to say, rather than how it looks. Include key information only, make sure all images are relevant, and be ready to present what the slide means. Don’t let the slide do the talking for you.
When it comes to fonts, try to stick to two for the whole presentation. This helps your presentation remain visibly pleasing and gives it a professional sleek look. Make sure everything is easy to read and the colors mesh well together. You can also implement the 10/20/30 method by Guy Kawasaki. His method is for salespeople giving a pitch, but has good standard rules to follow.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It should go without saying, but practicing is undervalued when it comes to giving a presentation. It’s better not to waste time designing a presentation; instead, you’ll want to get your key information down and then run-through the slides. Prepare in front of a colleague to receive feedback in order to improve before the big day, practice at home, and practice in the room you’ll be giving the presentation. If giving a group presentation, run-through the presentation together a few times. Practicing helps alleviate nerves, builds confidence, and can help you work through any tech issues.
A final tip: use humor with caution. There are benefits to using humor in a presentation, but if you don’t know your audience, not sure the joke will land, or don’t feel comfortable, avoid it. It’s better to keep the presentation strong without a couple of jokes backfiring.