1. Begin with an introduction that clearly states the aim and summarises the content of your presentation to attract audience interest, reveal your topic, establish goodwill and compel your audience to listen.
2. Connect your points using transitions such as 'and', 'in contrast', 'more importantly', 'in comparison', 'Now we've dealt with X, let's look at Y' and other similar phrases.
3. Conclude effectively by reviewing previous points instead of disclosing new information; reiterating the thrust of your introduction gives a natural sense of closure.
4. Concentrate on your message and keep your presentation simple. Audiovisual aids can add clarity and impact to your presentation by helping your audience stay focused and retain more information. But unless well thought out, the use of audio-visual aids may detract away from or clutter your delivery, rather than improve it. Unforeseen problems (e.g. equipment failure) may also easily derail the most planned of presentations.
- Choose the most appropriate tool that will suit the purpose of your presentation and the presentation environment. For instance, preparing a PowerPoint presentation for a simple tutorial session may be overdoing it.
- Ensure that all the audience members can see/hear your audio-visual aids. For instance, the words on an OHP transparency should be of a font large and simple enough for all to see clearly what you are stating; when using a flip chart/white board, write in large block letters for legibility; use dark colours to write on a light background and vice versa.
- Avoid cluttering slides with too many specific details. List your ideas briefly and in point form, rather than long sentence structures. Try to have only one item, or a few pieces of information, rather than squeeze a large amount, on a single slide.
- Use charts/graphs to present statistical information so that your audience can comprehend facts easily. For greater impact, make each graphic as easy on the eye as possible by not cramming too much detailed information within.
- Keep the presentation as brief and precise as possible to sustain audience interest.
- Avoid distracting the audience. Distribute handouts to the audience before or after, but not during, your speech.
5. Practise. The more formal the presentation, the more you need to prepare in advance and rehearse both your speech and use of audio-visual aids. In this way, you become familiar with what you wish to say and how to use your aids without fumbling in front of your audience.
6. Recce. Come early to check out the venue and equipment before the audience arrives. Test the acoustics so that you know how to adjust the way you speak, whether you are using a microphone or not. Always have a back-up plan in case your PowerPoint slides don't work, the OHP bulb blows, the videotape jams, etc. Even if little pre-speech preparation is needed, it is always good to be early so that you can settle down and focus on your task ahead, rather than be late and flustered.
7. Be conscious of your appearance. As first impressions count, it is important that you take care of how you look for your presentation to achieve the maximum positive impact.
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