Written by: Ram Parthasarathy
About the author:
Managing Director | Chief Executive Officer | Dynalec Controls Pvt. Ltd. | Automotives | Manufacturing | Engineering
The ability to make an effective presentation is an important, yet often overlooked, skill.
How often have we had to sit through a presentation where the presenter puts up slide after slide and fumblingly reads through line by line. Is there value in this? I think not. You may as well email the presentation to the attendees. So what makes a good presentation different from a mundane one?
Research the customer or target audience. Understand what their problems and priorities are, and what value you can add to solve these problems. Structure the presentation to focus largely on these issues.
Keep only two or three major points in a slide
Don’t read the slide, talk through each point, elaborate on what is written in the slide. Focus again on how this point will help resolve the issues being faced by the target audience.
Slides should focus on methodology and outcome
You should talk through these in detail but not include all that detail in the body of the slide. If you feel the base data is very important, put it in a back up slide and tell the audience that the data is available in a back up slide. Put a hyperlink to the data in the main slide. Flick briefly to the data slide to show them that it is there, and then flick back to the main slide. The idea is to arouse curiosity.
Keep the presentation light, informal, vary the tempo of presentation
Don’t just drone on and on. Talk to the audience, do not talk at the audience. Remember, it’s a presentation, not a lecture. Do not speak too fast. Speak slowly and clearly, taking care to enunciate every word, especially technical ones.
That encourages participation. At every stage, ask if anyone has any queries, and pause to receive them. Some presenters ask the audience to wait for a Q&A session at the end of the session, but my view is that in the process many interesting questions are lost.
The more questions you get, the more successful your presentation is going to be
Do not react to negative comments or questions. There are always nay sayers in every group. Just smile and say you would be happy to discuss the point off line.
Finally, and this is very important, do not forget to thank the audience for their time and patience. It will certainly not hurt to say something like “It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to present before such a knowledgeable group”