Making good presentations

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A presentation is a series of actions you take, while standing in front of a group of people, in an effort to enlighten them (or add more to their knowledge) about a concept or subject. To make a presentation is to stand in front of a group of people and try to make them understand a complex or novel subject you are discoursing.

During a presentation, there may be materials, and other graphic images or symbols on a slideshow that can be used to pass information effectively to learners, customers, or evaluators. Making good presentations is of great essence, since you may be tasked with the responsibility to do so at your school, work, or in a market place as a self-employed marketer.  ​

Several factors may be the reasons you have a phobia for making presentations (i.e. stage fright), some of which may include the fear of failure, the fear of being judged, the fear of being ridiculed, and the feeling of being inadequate. These can also contribute to being nervous all through the process of presentation. To overcome these fears and self-defeating beliefs you have, you can read my article, ‘Managing short-term anxiety’. In addition to having self-confidence and being positive, the following are what are expected of you if you are to deliver a great presentation.​

Be mentally prepared

You cannot make a wonderful presentation if you do not prepare for a wonderful presentation, the same way you cannot pass a test if you do not study for the test. Presentation requires not only the delivery of quality information to your audience, but also an effort to make this quality information comprehendible to your audience. Your audience must be able to understand the information you are passing to them. This means you have to really understand the subject you want to discourse.​

Be physically prepared

Making a presentation requires the presenter looking presentable. You should be well-dressed for the occasion; as a male presenter, a fine suit and tie could fetch you more marks, and as a female presenter, a suitable corporate wear will make you look responsible.

Make sure your hair is combed, your shoes polished, your shirts tucked in, and your clothes well ironed. If you are going to present to the audience, you might as well look presentable.

Be organized

Are the materials to be circulated for the presentation available? Are they available in the right amount? Have you prepared a power-point presentation? Do you have all the instruments you need to deliver your presentation? Are the charts, graphs, histograms, equations, technical construction, and articles all set? These are matters you may want to look into before the day of presentation 

Rehearse your material

Practicing your presentation before the day of presentation is a way of rehearsing before a big event. You may invite one, two or three friends over your place to act as the audience. Construct your introduction and ensure it is alright. Know how to move from the introduction to the body of the content. Explain elaborately, while being conscious of the time; make it brief, yet comprehensive. Aim at giving a very clear and understandable presentation (as a competent high school teacher would). Know how to conclude your presentation effectively. Go through your material over and over again, and then take a rest.

Exude a pleasant and welcoming gesture

Smile and gesticulate. Make eye contact with your audience. Speak aloud; be audible. Move around when it is necessary and cover enough space. Show that you are confident and have ownership of the topic.​

Prepare your slideshow effectively

Slideshows should be brief. A comprehensive slideshow should never contain more than ten slides, and should last not more than twenty minutes. Your slideshow should also contain more images than words, considering the fact that most words can be made through speech, but images can only be shown through a slideshow.​

Use your voice and body effectively

Do not speak too fast, or others may not understand your explanations. Do not speak too slowly or you may sound too boring. Be audible and clear, but do not shout. Know when to be gentle and when to be forceful with your voice. Put more energy on key words when you voice them out. Also, demonstrate with your hands, when you try to draw the attention of the audience to key words.

Enjoy yourself and be confident

It’s impossible to enjoy yourself if you are nervous and unsure of yourself. Ensure you are adequately prepared for the presentation, and then go on to show that you are an expert in the subject area. There may be other experts in the room, but as you show more confidence in your delivery of the subject, even if you are not perfect, you will be impressive regardless. Therefore, speak as though you have come to be excellent; this will positively impact the outcome of your presentation.