Effective Presentations Guide #4

Key Factors in Making Your Presentation

by  Al Valletta

Planning is the key to a successful presentation! Now that you know your audience's background and their attitude toward both you and the subject, and you know their needs, it is time to prepare your language accordingly. Let's take a look at the important aspects of creating a language style appropriate to your presentation. The following is a list of key factors to remember.

Be You

The audience wants to hear you, your style, your way of talking. When making presentations, we often try to put on certain airs; to make our audience believe we are something that we are not. Guess what? That is hard to maintain and it is draining energy away that you could be using to more easily connect with your audience. In addition, some of the people in your audience will read through your facade and it will reduce your credibility. Be natural . . . BE YOU!.

Personalize the language

Be part of the presentation and its content, not an external observer. For example, talk about your problem and solution and not the problem. We will create; it is our chance to make a difference; you and I have a responsibility, etc. Convey to your audience, "we are in this together."

Stay away from jargon

If the audience doesn't understand you, both the objective of your presentation and you will be hurt. Knowing your audience in advance means understanding their education levels, background, etc. so you can use appropriate words. In global, technical industries this becomes even more crucial because people come from different regional areas, cultures, and disciplines. Words have different meanings and acronyms, in particular, tend to confuse others. Minimize, or even better, eliminate their use.

Be specific and concrete

Once again, think about how your words, might be interpreted. Use language like, "we are working with 15 new companies," rather than "we are working with a lot of new companies." What does a lot mean: 50, 2 or 2000?

Keep sentences short and simple

People think at four times the speed that most of us talk. This provides lots of opportunity to lose the audience. If you use long sentences or ramble on you will lose the audience. They will find it easier to follow you if you use short sentences and avoid complex ones.

Stay away from abstract words

Your purpose is to transfer ideas into the minds of your audience and abstracts may transfer numerous, different ideas into the minds of different people in your audience. Therefore, stay away from abstract words. Try and be specific by staying away from words like—many, a lot, all the time. These words are too vague.

Look for a continuation of this guide in the near future.

‹‹ Al Valletta
[About the Author]

Contact Al Valletta at valletta@dslextreme.com