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Preparing for Presentations
After reading this Information Sheet, you should be able to:
1. identify key areas to prepare for in presentations,
2. properly prepare for presentations.
Preparing for Presentations
“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success” – Henry Ford
A wise trainer would know that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Even if you have excellent communication skills and know your topic like
the back of your hands, without preparation, the whole presentation could
come crashing down.
Preparation is not just about the content of what you want to say, but
everything else that is involved in the presentation from the structure of
your topic, to your audience, and down to the environment. Listed below are
ways and areas to properly prepare for in a presentation.
Prepare the structure of your talks carefully and logically, just as you
would for a written report. Define what are:
The objectives of the talk – The objective of your presentation is the
outcome you want to accomplish after the presentation. It drives the
development of your presentation and helps in determining the main
points you want to have in your succeeding slides. A well-defined
objective will help you organize your presentation and make the
session a smooth ride for your audience—not a bumpy one where
information is scattered all around and your audience is left guessing
on how to piece the information together.
The main points you want to make – write a draft of your presentation
like that of a written report. Read and review the draft and you will
find important things that you want the audience to catch. Doing this
will aid you say the right things at the right time.
The irrelevant points on the subject that could be deleted – making a
draft of your presentation will also help you eliminate some of the
empty information that will only make your presentation longer but
not add info needed…
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The inconsistencies that need to be adjusted – When you review your
presentation, you may notice some parts that need to be adjusted.
These may be as simple as misplaced slides, wordy slides, or
information that doesn’t match your objective.
Time frame allotted – This is a very important aspect of a presentation
that most trainers and presenters fail to consider. When presenting,
make sure that you know the time limit given for the talk so you can
match it with your material. You do not want to rush your
presentation when running out of time as this might cause you to lose
important parts that you want to highlight or your audience may not
absorb your message the way you want them to, all because you did
not consider the time allotted.
Knowing the audience to which you will speak is an important factor
in the success of your presentation. Since presentations are dialogues
between you and your audience, the more you understand them, the better
you can customize your presentation.
Prepare for your audience by trying to determine your learner’s levels
of knowledge. Effective trainers have different versions of their cases for
The training environment can have a major effect on the amount of
learning achieved. Even the best content delivered by the best trainers can
fail if the environment doesn’t support the instruction
Requirements vary with different training locations. Ensure that you
have a complete and up to date checklist of items to be included in the
preparation of the training event
Factors that might work against effectiveness include:
Too large and grand a room
Too small a room for division of the group into subgroups.
Inaccessibility of the training location for all learners
Failure to inform security of visiting learners or guest speakers
Basic Considerations in a Training Environment
Air Conditioning Temperature control
Rest Room availability
Note taking facilities
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A visible clock
Place for Visual Aid Equipment
The shape of the room and its relevance to seating and training
Location and suitability of electrical outlets
Windows with coverings that can be shielded against glare
Rehearsing your presentation is a crucial step in a successful
Rehearse your presentation—to yourself at first and then in front of
some colleagues. The initial rehearsal should consider how the words and
the sequence of visual aids go together. The act of coordinating audio-visual
material and equipment with verbal act of instructing is difficult and
Be sure that you rehearse as much of the presentation each time. If
you don’t, specific parts will be smooth; while other parts may be delivered
Never read from a script or your manual. It is also unwise to have the
talk written out in detail as a prompt sheet - the chances are you will not
locate the thing you want to say amongst all the other text.
You should know most of what you want to say - if you don't then you
should not be giving the presentation! So prepare cue cards or note cards,
which have key words and phrases (and possibly sketches) on them to
remind you of major sections. Don't forget to number the cards in case you
drop them. Remember to mark on your cards and the visual aids that go
with them so that the right slide is shown at the right time.
Ways to Rehearse
In Front of the mirror
Correct parts of the presentation that you noticed need work.
Make sure that you’re putting stress on the right words and
sentences. Make sure your gestures serve to emphasize your
message. See if you’re comfortable with what you see.
Used to test timing.
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Where do you need to pause for emphasis? Which words were
hard to pronounce? Which sentences were too long to say in one
Similar to tape, recording, and mirror. Quickest way to
Deliver to a single person
Try to get someone to give an honest opinion.
Rehearse for a small group
Simulate speaking conditions.
Pay careful attention to how they react to you.
Practice at the site or arrive early
Get the lay of the land; find out what is needed for
Practice with using all the visual aids
How to best incorporate your visual aids in the
Practice with background noise
Turn on TV or radio to get used to distractions.
E. Working with Nervousness/Stage Fright
Stage fright is a good set of signals, but we don’t want anybody else to
notice that we’re going through it. There are a lot of ways to control the
Being well prepared can help but you also have to consider controlling
your Body, your Environment and your Material.
Controlling your body
Smile – nobody can tell you are trembling
Keep your hands out of your pockets – jingling coins or keys is a
If you are using notes, put them down on a table or podium. (if
your hands are shaking)
Anchor yourself – stand still. Pacing or shifting from one foot to
another makes it worse
Drop the fig leaf – let your hands hang comfortably at your sides
Use your hands to express yourself
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Shift the spotlight to the group. Open with a question. Give you
something to do- listen, write down responses. Gets you in the
swing of things while the audience members focus on one
Owning the space
You need to realize that you have Power in a training situation.
You are the expert; people have come to work with you so that
they can learn.
Even resistant members of the group will give you the benefit of
the doubt for a while.
Try interacting with the group members as if they were in your
living room at home. They are your guests.
It is your space, and you can set it up to your advantage.
Build a space –with seating arrangement, music, peripheral
information, handouts and so on - that puts you at ease and the
learners will no doubt relax as well.
The better you know your material, the more relaxed you will
Be sure to know the material backward and forward.
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A. Enumerate three key areas to prepare for in presentations and explain
the relevance of each area to the presentation.
B. Enumerate five ways to practice your presentation.
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1. Structure – since you are the presenter, the audience expect that
you know a lot about your material. Preparing the structure of
your presentation will show mastery of the subject and will let you
anticipate questions that might be asked by your audience.
2. Audience – understanding who your audience would be is key in
adjusting and fitting your material to the group. Instead of
providing general scenarios or examples, you can provide more
specific ones to the target group having them relate to your topic
3. Environment – if you know the environment or venue of your
presentation such as the layout of the room, materials and
equipment provided, you can strategize your approach in
presenting, vary your techniques or you can arrange the
environment, such as the seats and tables to complement your
1. In front of the mirror
2. Tape-record speech
4. Deliver to a single person
5. Rehearse for a small group
6. Practice at the site or arrive early
7. Practice with using all the visual aids
8. Practice with background noise