1. Prepare well in advance
If you have an upcoming presentation it’s a good idea to get a head start on it ahead of time for a couple reasons. First of all, the more time you revisit the presentation subject, the more you’ll know about it and be able recall research on the spot. Moreover, if you have any questions or worries about the presentation, you’ll have more time to get a second opinion before you have to present.
2. Practice going through the presentation
Practice makes perfect is definitely a thing. There’s a reason actors rehearse their shows weeks in advance – presentations, both creative and professional, require practice in order to go well. It doesn’t matter how talented or knowledgeable you are.
3. Use visual aids
Having visuals to back up your verbal presentation will reinforce and better explain the information you’re trying to deliver. Strong visuals will also keep your audience engaged and help your audience retain the presentation’s content. In fact, people retain 65% of what they learn when oral and visual information is used in tandem. That percentage drops to 10% when people learn through only oral means, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
4. Identify your main talking points
Before you get too detailed with any one part of your presentation, it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what you’re going to talk about and where your presentation will start and end. These will be the building blocks for the rest of your presentation prep.
5. Brainstorm what questions may come up and prepare for them
You can cross your fingers, but there’s always the chance you will be put on the spot during your presentation. Anticipating some possible follow-up questions that may be directed your way will help prepare you and at least make you more confident when you’re fielding questions.
6. Know the data well
Take some time to memorize well the figures or information you’ll be relaying. Know how to talk about specifics of the data in different ways, even if it takes a little studying.
To keep you on track during your presentation, the use of mnemonics can be incredibly useful. Maybe you use a yellow background for your second slide because you’re talking about yields. Because the color of the background starts with “y” it will bring you to the topic or word “yields”, which also starts with y.
8. Consider what equipment you have available to you
The last thing you want to happen the day of the presentation is to realize that you’re computer cord isn’t compatible with the projector equipment. Plan ahead to know what equipment you’ll have access to and plan accordingly.
9. Prepare your body and mind
The last thing you need before a big presentation is to be underslept or malnourished. It’s so important to get a decent night’s sleep before your presentation as well as a good breakfast. Taking a run the evening before you present and stretching in the morning will also help relieve any stress you may feel.
10. Take a moment before you start
There’s nothing like taking a nice long breath before you begin a presentation. Even better if you take that moment to look everyone in the room right in the eyes. It’s a way of inviting them personally to listen to your presentation. Because isn’t that why you spent so much time preparing for it?