How to Deliver a Presentation


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The session covered the structure of a presentation, covering aspects of an introduction, content and conclusion, as well as the use of props and equipment, such as slides and microphones. Furthermore, I discussed verbal and non-verbal forms of communication, ensuring a consistent delivery and approach.

One of the main areas of conversation was around strategies to help overcome nerves. In this regard, I often advise against writing a presentation out word-for-word, as this creates pressure to follow an exact script and shifts the focus towards reading content, rather than delivering content. Instead, I suggest that a presenter focuses on remembering the key points they wish to convey with flexibility in delivering the rest of the content. This has the advantage of providing a more natural style of presentation and ensures that a presenter only needs to remember the key points they wish to communicate.

It is also important that a presentation is targeted towards the audience, for examples a sales presentation would have a different approach to a presentation that provides a status update on a project. It is also necessary to be aware of the outcomes you wish to achieve, and to be mindful that these outcomes may be different to each of the individuals who are receiving the presentation. For example, in an advocacy context the presenter is obviously seeking to secure policy change, while the attendees would be consideration the wider implications and implementation issues of such changes.

Presentation skills improve with practice and it is worth noting that everyone has their own preferred style of communication. A presenter needs to know what their strengths are and to utilise these abilities when delivering a presentation.

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How to Deliver a Presentation

  1. 1. How to Deliver a Presentation How to Deliver a Presentation Alex Makin Syneka Pty Ltd
  2. 2. Introduction  Background  The need for presentation skills  Know the audience  Preparation  Overcoming nerves  Verbal communication  Non-verbal communication  Engaging the audience  Presentation structure  Conclusion
  3. 3. About Alex Makin  Councillor in the City of Maroondah • Elected in 2005 • Re-elected in 2008 • Mayor during 2010  Community Involvement  Business Owner: Syneka Pty Ltd  Manager of Marketing, Eastern Volunteers
  4. 4. Maroondah City Council  City of Maroondah • 104,000 residents • Nine Councillors • Presentations • Chairing meetings • Speeches at openings • Meetings with MPs • Speeches at community events • Variety of functions and presentations
  5. 5. About Syneka  Strengthen the capacity of organisations • Services include • Organisational and business planning • Marketing strategies • IT assessments • Website design and development • Professional speaking services • Established in 2009 • Website: • Twitter: • Facebook:
  6. 6. Presentations through Syneka  Businesses and organisations • Key decision makers • Committee members • Sales focus • Speaking at events • Differ in scale and function • Demonstrations • Support content of presentation
  7. 7. About Eastern Volunteers  Not for profit organisation • Formed in 1976 • 14 Staff • Over 100 volunteers • Office locations • Ringwood • Box Hill • Two divisions • Volunteer services • Community transport services • Growing organisation and increasing prominence
  8. 8. Presentations through Eastern Volunteers  Public events • Proceedings at Fun Run • Proceedings at Multicultural Festival  Presentations • Business Partners • State, Federal MPs and Councillors • Workshops with staff and board
  9. 9. Every presentation is different  No single success factor  No two presentations are the same • Even if content is the same • The audience is not  Everyone has a different presentation style • Different speaking styles • Different postures • Different use of language • Different strengths  Use this to your advantage
  10. 10. Presentation skills are critical  At some stage everyone will need to present • Job interviews • Assignments • Team meetings • Client / supplier meetings • Social occasions  The audiences will change but presentation skills are required  Skills we are required to have
  11. 11. Be yourself So be yourself during a presentation
  12. 12. But cater for the audience  Consider • What is the purpose of the presentation? • What is the location? • Length of presentation? • Who is attending: • How do they act? • What do they want out of the presentation? • Level of formality? • Is there discussion? • What do you want to achieve?
  13. 13. Preparation  Format required • Are there sides? • Are notes distributed?  Layout of venue • Lecture hall • Focuses attention on the speaker • Separates audience and speaker • Board room / workshops • More interactive • Smaller groups • Where will you be positioned?
  14. 14. Know your topic  Know your topic • You don't need to be an expert • But you do need knowledge  Knowing your topic will assist with confidence • Means you can focus on content • Delivery of content
  15. 15. 'Virtual' presentations  Not every presentation is in person • Teleconferences • Importance of voice • What you and how you say it • Webconferences • Limited visual elements • Importance of engaging the audience • Prerecorded presentations • Anticipate the areas of interest from your audience • Keep presentation engaging
  16. 16. Overcoming nerves  Prepare notes • You do not need to write a speech • You want to communicate NOT read  Audience is there because they want to be • Understand the key points and why your audience is interested  Know the key points you must convey • Everything else links these key points together • Key points are what you want to communicate  Make eye contact – they will respond
  17. 17. Types of presentations  Know what outcome you want  Is this best delivered through: • Humour • Motivation • Serious  The use of language will differ  As will body language and tone  Not everyone has the same sense of humour
  18. 18. Individual words are not important  No one will remember every word you say • Even if the presentation is recorded the overall content is still more important than each individual word • Do not stress over each individual word • But know what must be said • For example: formalities • Focus on content • This reduces nerves because you are not worrying about every single word
  19. 19. Verbal communication  The words you want to say • Use language suitable for the audience • Make sure formalities are covered • Know the tone of your presentation and use words accordingly  Learn pronunciation of any difficult words  Know definitions and content  Make sure you pause to pace the presentation
  20. 20. What you say and how you say it  Once you know what you want to say make sure you say it right  Audiences notice inconsistencies  Tone reinforces what you want to say • Are you seeking to motivate? • Are you conveying bad news? • Do you want to convey facts?  Make sure you sound genuine
  21. 21. Non-verbal communication  80% of communication is non-verbal • Posture • How you stand / sit • Are you looking at the audience? • Use of hands and arms  Audiences notice inconsistencies • Your posture must reinforce your speech  Practice non verbal communication
  22. 22. Practice makes perfect  No one is born an expert in presenting  Every presentation gets easier  Some nerves are normal • But control nerves • Focus on the key points  Relax • Remember that the audience is there to listen • Focus on key points
  23. 23. Engage the audience  Depends on the type of presentation • Ask the audience to introduce themselves • What are they seeking from the presentation • Encourage questions  Make eye contact • Audience will see that you are speaking to them • Keeps audience engaged • Look at audience • Do not speak to slides  Make everyone feel welcome
  24. 24. Using props and resources  Props are an aid • They are not a replacement • Technology can go wrong • Be prepared with a replacement • Know what equipment is required • Slides are useful to serve as a prompt • One slide = two to three minutes of content  Use a microphone if available • Acoustics in a room may not project your voice  Have all resources available do not disrupt the presentation
  25. 25. Structure of a presentation  Three main sections • Introduction • Content • Your key points • Why these are important • Conclusion • Questions and discussion
  26. 26. The Introduction  Introduce your topic  Undertake formalities (special guests) • This can be very important to the audience • Welcome attendees  Introduce yourself • Who you are • Why you are presenting  Provide an overview of content • Table of contents  Engage with the audience
  27. 27. Content  What are your key points • Why are they important • Why should they matter to the audience • What action do you want • Policy change • Sales • Good marks • Offer support • Know what motivates the audience • It may be different to what motivates your interest in the topic  Be mindful of the audience
  28. 28. The key points  Know the key points  Do not have too many • Depends on type of presentation • Duration of presentation  Need to clear and concise  Audience needs to know what you want
  29. 29. The Conclusion  Summarise the presentation • Repeat the key points  Discuss the next steps or follow up • Be clear on who is undertaking what actions • Be clear on anticipated timeframes  Thank attendees  Provide an opportunity for questions if appropriate
  30. 30. Taking questions  Provide an opportunity for questions if suitable • Answer questions as directly as possible • If you are unsure as to the answer or if it detailed suggest you follow up later  If there are no questions then repeat the key points  Thank people that ask questions
  31. 31. What if you get stuck?  What if equipment fails? • See if equipment can resume • If not, use notes from paper • Ask questions during any disruption  What if you forget content? • Focus on key points not individual words • Rehash key points • Pause, ask questions and involve the audience • This will work as a prompt  Sound confident – the audience will not know
  32. 32. Evaluation of a presentation  Did you achieve your outcome • Did you get good marks or the sale? • If not, then focus on areas of improvement  Provide a fair assessment • Some presentations include feedback forms • Learn from experience • Ask people their opinions  Practice • Review recordings • Ensure consistency  No one gets every presentation perfect
  33. 33. Conclusion  Prepare your presentation • Know what resources are available • Who will be attending • Know your key points  Be consistent in presentation style • Verbal and non-verbal communication  Keep audience on your side • Have the right presentation style  Be prepared if something goes wrong
  34. 34. Remember do not panic The audience does not know your presentation word for word