By Kristina Lee
In this post I’m going to skip the BS and go right to the heart of the matter.
There’s no reason for me to try and convince you why it’s important to have great presentation skills; you’re likely already well aware of why. But you’ll want to keep reading on because if you’ve ever been given the floor to tell your story or command a stage (and that’s any stage, whether it’s in front of a small circle of friends , or at the pulpit) you know that your good looks and your tone of voice alone aren’t always enough to carry you. Not in an age where the average attention span lasts 30 seconds if you’re lucky. Not when the stories people remember most are shared on social media, in Youtube videos or GIF compilations. People want to see and hear. That’s why a good presentation must be accompanied by thoughtful visuals.
After more than 8 years of presentation making, that started in my undergraduate career while doing case studies/projects and into my professional day-to-day routine where I develop all types of sales, investor relations and business decks, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even as we face countless new tools and technology that give you better alternatives than the traditional Microsoft Office PowerPoint, people often overlook the building blocks that can make or break a presentation.
These are the components that are key to creating that killer presentation:
- Have a vision of what you want your audience to take away. Before you put together your script, consider the intended outcome. Take some time at the start to think deeply about this. The fact that you need to fill a 60 minute time slot with your voice can urge you to start the creative process and script writing almost immediately, overshadowing this crucial step.
- Tell a story that has a beginning and an end. Heard of the road to nowhere? Without a clear direction in delivering your presentation, you can end up here. As part of your script writing, make sure to start with a central idea and then don’t forget to actually end on a high (or low) note. Also key to remember: don’t let it drag on. A short, succinct script, interwoven with personal anecdotes will make your speech come alive.
- Run through your presentation to work out any kinks. Whether you’re using PowerPoint, Prezi or some other snazzy software, double and triple check that all design and technical elements are in place and completed professionally. All the time you put into the script and visual development of your presentation will be ruined if you can’t even get them up on the screen. Take into account all the various file types and formatting that may or may not be supported. Test, test and then test again on various technologies – all before it’s show time.