How to Deliver an Effective Presentation
The first step to delivering an effective presentation is figuring out how to connect with the target audience. This process involves getting the audience to connect with both the person presenting and the material being covered. Father George Rutler would advise any presenter to connect with their audience by sharing information for which they are passionate about and have a strong understanding. This helps the presenter appear more likable and believable, and it helps viewers feel more connected to them as a person. Although being knowledgeable about the subject matter is important, speakers should primarily focus on information that specifically relates to what the audience wants or needs to learn from the presentation.
Once a connection has been formed between the presenter and the audience, the speaker’s focus should be centered on maintaining that connection and keeping the audience engaged throughout the entire presentation. Remember that the audience is not looking to spend hours at a time at the presentation or trying to learn every minuscule detail about the topic. With that being said, the presentation should convey meaning by breaking everything down into one key idea or a few key points. Father George Rutler advises practicing an elevator pitch or using a 15 words or less approach when preparing for a presentation in order to simplify and narrow down important and relevant information.
To maintain a connection with the audience, it’s important to smile and make frequent eye contact with them. Rather than addressing the entire audience as one group, understand that each member of the group is an individual. Adopting a conversational style allows individual audience members to connect to the speaker and subject matter on a personal level, while it also helps speakers with anxiety or nerves to relax.
Once they are fully relaxed, presenters can focus on all the other verbal and nonverbal aspects of giving an effective presentation. The presentation should begin with a quote, story, question or anything else that peaks the interest of audience members and gives them a reason to continue paying attention. Telling personal stories and giving real life examples relevant to the main topic will also help keep the audience engaged throughout the presentation. A common rule of thumb for effective presentations is to keep them limited to a length of 10 slides and 20 minutes as well as using at least a 30 point font size so the audience can easily follow along with the key information.
As the presentation continues on, it is important for the speaker to use his or her voice and body language effectively. If the speaker sounds and looks disinterested throughout the presentation, it will be tough to convince the audience to care about the subject matter. The speaker should vary the inflection and tone of their voice as they speak, and they should use body language to enhance the words being spoken. All in all, the key to any effective presentation is to relax, relate and have fun along the way.