I was trying to hide but you found me!

I remember the first time I made a presentation when I still employed in a large firm.  The best way to describe it, at least from my perspective, was “disastrous”.

Here are a few reasons why I say it was “disastrous”: the images I had prepared came up heavily pixellated when called up on the large screen, one of the two videos I had inserted didn’t play, and a lot of the graphs I put in turned out with the data scrambled, since obviously in my excitement, I forgot to group all the figures I inserted.  Thankfully, I was able to get all of the statistics add data correct, and I still managed to get the entire message of the presentation across, although just barely.

While my presentation did what it was supposed to do —  by a hair’s breadth at that — it still could have been better.  Even more, another slip could hae made my presentation a smoking failure, and while it might have been excusable for a first timer, it could have seriously hurt my chances for any sort of advancement in the job.  In many cases, an aspiring employee’s worth could very well depend upon how their presentation goes, since a lot of people in management attribute an aspiring employee’s competency and potential to their communication and presentation skills.

This view is not restricted to management.  There are a lot of people who tend to base the perceived value and ability of a person on whatever presentation they do.  This is mostly a natural reaction, since the people watching the presentation may not know the presenter very well, if at all, so they will need something to base their opinion of the presenter on.  In this case, their opinions are now based on the presentation.

If this is the case, then a presenter must at least then remember  that there are certain points to a presentation that may ensure they are above the minimum level of expectations:

Go for the engaging story

So, who doesn’t love a story?  A prevailing problem when preparing a presentation is this mentality that someone will shout “get to the point” while you are still doing your build up.  If you do get this feeling when you’re preparing your presentation, then one of two things is possible: (1) you are utterly afraid of doing the presentation itself, regardless of the quality, which is why you are shooting it down yourself, or (2) the content of your presentation is subtly shouting “boring!”.  Everyone knows an engaging story almost never fails to capture the imagination and attention of readers, you just have to stick to a few tried and tested techniques to ensure your story IS engaging, such as a build of appropriate length, statement of facts, and aptly timed conclusion.

Use striking images

Images used in presentation, particularly those found as default images in presentation-making software are perhaps among the most popular and most-seen images everywhere.  This is why using these default images when making your presentation will not really do anything to make your own look spectacular or interesting, let alone amazing.  Search engines today have evolved to the point of making finding better images simplicity itself, so there really is no excuse for not using unique, fresh, and uncommon images, to help give your presentation more credibility and make it all the more interesting.  In many cases, using the appropriate image might even save you from putting in so much stuff to read in your presentation, since the saying “picture worth a thousand words” also applies quite well with presentations.

Pizzazz and panache can only go so far

Ensuring that your presentation is quite good and entertaining is immensely important, in fact, it may be the only things that sustain the interest of your viewers, particularly if your topic really isn’t the most engaging.  However, there are those who take this a bit too far, relying on frivolous videos and images and colorful graphs to dazzle the presentation viewers and hopefully divert their attention from the fact that the presentation itself is severely lacking in substance.  This is a shady measure often done by some who fail to come up with enough material on their topic to sustain an actual presentation.  While there might be some topics that getting enough information is difficult indeed, it does not really warrant resorting to diversionary tactics to make it appear that the presentation has anything to offer.  In instances that very little information can be researched for the presentation, it might be simply best to go with what is known, and maximize on that.

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