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Blog Beginner Guides How To Make a Good Presentation [A Complete Guide]

How To Make a Good Presentation [A Complete Guide]

Written by: Krystle Wong Jul 20, 2023

How to make a good presentation

A top-notch presentation possesses the power to drive action. From winning stakeholders over and conveying a powerful message to securing funding — your secret weapon lies within the realm of creating an effective presentation .  

Being an excellent presenter isn’t confined to the boardroom. Whether you’re delivering a presentation at work, pursuing an academic career, involved in a non-profit organization or even a student, nailing the presentation game is a game-changer.

In this article, I’ll cover the top qualities of compelling presentations and walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to give a good presentation. Here’s a little tip to kick things off: for a headstart, check out Venngage’s collection of free presentation templates . They are fully customizable, and the best part is you don’t need professional design skills to make them shine!

These valuable presentation tips cater to individuals from diverse professional backgrounds, encompassing business professionals, sales and marketing teams, educators, trainers, students, researchers, non-profit organizations, public speakers and presenters. 

No matter your field or role, these tips for presenting will equip you with the skills to deliver effective presentations that leave a lasting impression on any audience.

Click to jump ahead:

What are the 10 qualities of a good presentation?

Step-by-step guide on how to prepare an effective presentation, 9 effective techniques to deliver a memorable presentation, faqs on making a good presentation, how to create a presentation with venngage in 5 steps.

When it comes to giving an engaging presentation that leaves a lasting impression, it’s not just about the content — it’s also about how you deliver it. Wondering what makes a good presentation? Well, the best presentations I’ve seen consistently exhibit these 10 qualities:

1. Clear structure

No one likes to get lost in a maze of information. Organize your thoughts into a logical flow, complete with an introduction, main points and a solid conclusion. A structured presentation helps your audience follow along effortlessly, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction at the end.

Regardless of your presentation style , a quality presentation starts with a clear roadmap. Browse through Venngage’s template library and select a presentation template that aligns with your content and presentation goals. Here’s a good presentation example template with a logical layout that includes sections for the introduction, main points, supporting information and a conclusion: 

presentation preparing tips

2. Engaging opening

Hook your audience right from the start with an attention-grabbing statement, a fascinating question or maybe even a captivating anecdote. Set the stage for a killer presentation!

The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.

3. Relevant content

Make sure your content aligns with their interests and needs. Your audience is there for a reason, and that’s to get valuable insights. Avoid fluff and get straight to the point, your audience will be genuinely excited.

4. Effective visual aids

Picture this: a slide with walls of text and tiny charts, yawn! Visual aids should be just that—aiding your presentation. Opt for clear and visually appealing slides, engaging images and informative charts that add value and help reinforce your message.

With Venngage, visualizing data takes no effort at all. You can import data from CSV or Google Sheets seamlessly and create stunning charts, graphs and icon stories effortlessly to showcase your data in a captivating and impactful way.

presentation preparing tips

5. Clear and concise communication

Keep your language simple, and avoid jargon or complicated terms. Communicate your ideas clearly, so your audience can easily grasp and retain the information being conveyed. This can prevent confusion and enhance the overall effectiveness of the message. 

6. Engaging delivery

Spice up your presentation with a sprinkle of enthusiasm! Maintain eye contact, use expressive gestures and vary your tone of voice to keep your audience glued to the edge of their seats. A touch of charisma goes a long way!

7. Interaction and audience engagement

Turn your presentation into an interactive experience — encourage questions, foster discussions and maybe even throw in a fun activity. Engaged audiences are more likely to remember and embrace your message.

Transform your slides into an interactive presentation with Venngage’s dynamic features like pop-ups, clickable icons and animated elements. Engage your audience with interactive content that lets them explore and interact with your presentation for a truly immersive experience.

presentation preparing tips

8. Effective storytelling

Who doesn’t love a good story? Weaving relevant anecdotes, case studies or even a personal story into your presentation can captivate your audience and create a lasting impact. Stories build connections and make your message memorable.

A great presentation background is also essential as it sets the tone, creates visual interest and reinforces your message. Enhance the overall aesthetics of your presentation with these 15 presentation background examples and captivate your audience’s attention.

9. Well-timed pacing

Pace your presentation thoughtfully with well-designed presentation slides, neither rushing through nor dragging it out. Respect your audience’s time and ensure you cover all the essential points without losing their interest.

10. Strong conclusion

Last impressions linger! Summarize your main points and leave your audience with a clear takeaway. End your presentation with a bang , a call to action or an inspiring thought that resonates long after the conclusion.

In-person presentations aside, acing a virtual presentation is of paramount importance in today’s digital world. Check out this guide to learn how you can adapt your in-person presentations into virtual presentations . 

Peloton Pitch Deck - Conclusion

Preparing an effective presentation starts with laying a strong foundation that goes beyond just creating slides and notes. One of the quickest and best ways to make a presentation would be with the help of a good presentation software . 

Otherwise, let me walk you to how to prepare for a presentation step by step and unlock the secrets of crafting a professional presentation that sets you apart.

1. Understand the audience and their needs

Before you dive into preparing your masterpiece, take a moment to get to know your target audience. Tailor your presentation to meet their needs and expectations , and you’ll have them hooked from the start!

2. Conduct thorough research on the topic

Time to hit the books (or the internet)! Don’t skimp on the research with your presentation materials — dive deep into the subject matter and gather valuable insights . The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel in delivering your presentation.

3. Organize the content with a clear structure

No one wants to stumble through a chaotic mess of information. Outline your presentation with a clear and logical flow. Start with a captivating introduction, follow up with main points that build on each other and wrap it up with a powerful conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

Delivering an effective business presentation hinges on captivating your audience, and Venngage’s professionally designed business presentation templates are tailor-made for this purpose. With thoughtfully structured layouts, these templates enhance your message’s clarity and coherence, ensuring a memorable and engaging experience for your audience members.

Don’t want to build your presentation layout from scratch? pick from these 5 foolproof presentation layout ideas that won’t go wrong. 

presentation preparing tips

4. Develop visually appealing and supportive visual aids

Spice up your presentation with eye-catching visuals! Create slides that complement your message, not overshadow it. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you need to overload your slides with text.

Well-chosen designs create a cohesive and professional look, capturing your audience’s attention and enhancing the overall effectiveness of your message. Here’s a list of carefully curated PowerPoint presentation templates and great background graphics that will significantly influence the visual appeal and engagement of your presentation.

5. Practice, practice and practice

Practice makes perfect — rehearse your presentation and arrive early to your presentation to help overcome stage fright. Familiarity with your material will boost your presentation skills and help you handle curveballs with ease.

6. Seek feedback and make necessary adjustments

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek feedback from friends and colleagues. Constructive criticism can help you identify blind spots and fine-tune your presentation to perfection.

With Venngage’s real-time collaboration feature , receiving feedback and editing your presentation is a seamless process. Group members can access and work on the presentation simultaneously and edit content side by side in real-time. Changes will be reflected immediately to the entire team, promoting seamless teamwork.

Venngage Real Time Collaboration

7. Prepare for potential technical or logistical issues

Prepare for the unexpected by checking your equipment, internet connection and any other potential hiccups. If you’re worried that you’ll miss out on any important points, you could always have note cards prepared. Remember to remain focused and rehearse potential answers to anticipated questions.

8. Fine-tune and polish your presentation

As the big day approaches, give your presentation one last shine. Review your talking points, practice how to present a presentation and make any final tweaks. Deep breaths — you’re on the brink of delivering a successful presentation!

In competitive environments, persuasive presentations set individuals and organizations apart. To brush up on your presentation skills, read these guides on how to make a persuasive presentation and tips to presenting effectively . 

presentation preparing tips

Whether you’re an experienced presenter or a novice, the right techniques will let your presentation skills soar to new heights!

From public speaking hacks to interactive elements and storytelling prowess, these 9 effective presentation techniques will empower you to leave a lasting impression on your audience and make your presentations unforgettable.

1. Confidence and positive body language

Positive body language instantly captivates your audience, making them believe in your message as much as you do. Strengthen your stage presence and own that stage like it’s your second home! Stand tall, shoulders back and exude confidence. 

2. Eye contact with the audience

Break down that invisible barrier and connect with your audience through their eyes. Maintaining eye contact when giving a presentation builds trust and shows that you’re present and engaged with them.

3. Effective use of hand gestures and movement

A little movement goes a long way! Emphasize key points with purposeful gestures and don’t be afraid to walk around the stage. Your energy will be contagious!

4. Utilize storytelling techniques

Weave the magic of storytelling into your presentation. Share relatable anecdotes, inspiring success stories or even personal experiences that tug at the heartstrings of your audience. Adjust your pitch, pace and volume to match the emotions and intensity of the story. Varying your speaking voice adds depth and enhances your stage presence.

presentation preparing tips

5. Incorporate multimedia elements

Spice up your presentation with a dash of visual pizzazz! Use slides, images and video clips to add depth and clarity to your message. Just remember, less is more—don’t overwhelm them with information overload. 

Turn your presentations into an interactive party! Involve your audience with questions, polls or group activities. When they actively participate, they become invested in your presentation’s success. Bring your design to life with animated elements. Venngage allows you to apply animations to icons, images and text to create dynamic and engaging visual content.

6. Utilize humor strategically

Laughter is the best medicine—and a fantastic presentation enhancer! A well-placed joke or lighthearted moment can break the ice and create a warm atmosphere , making your audience more receptive to your message.

7. Practice active listening and respond to feedback

Be attentive to your audience’s reactions and feedback. If they have questions or concerns, address them with genuine interest and respect. Your responsiveness builds rapport and shows that you genuinely care about their experience.

presentation preparing tips

8. Apply the 10-20-30 rule

Apply the 10-20-30 presentation rule and keep it short, sweet and impactful! Stick to ten slides, deliver your presentation within 20 minutes and use a 30-point font to ensure clarity and focus. Less is more, and your audience will thank you for it!

9. Implement the 5-5-5 rule

Simplicity is key. Limit each slide to five bullet points, with only five words per bullet point and allow each slide to remain visible for about five seconds. This rule keeps your presentation concise and prevents information overload.

Simple presentations are more engaging because they are easier to follow. Summarize your presentations and keep them simple with Venngage’s gallery of simple presentation templates and ensure that your message is delivered effectively across your audience.

presentation preparing tips

1. How to start a presentation?

To kick off your presentation effectively, begin with an attention-grabbing statement or a powerful quote. Introduce yourself, establish credibility and clearly state the purpose and relevance of your presentation.

2. How to end a presentation?

For a strong conclusion, summarize your talking points and key takeaways. End with a compelling call to action or a thought-provoking question and remember to thank your audience and invite any final questions or interactions.

3. How to make a presentation interactive?

To make your presentation interactive, encourage questions and discussion throughout your talk. Utilize multimedia elements like videos or images and consider including polls, quizzes or group activities to actively involve your audience.

In need of inspiration for your next presentation? I’ve got your back! Pick from these 120+ presentation ideas, topics and examples to get started. 

Creating a stunning presentation with Venngage is a breeze with our user-friendly drag-and-drop editor and professionally designed templates for all your communication needs. 

Here’s how to make a presentation in just 5 simple steps with the help of Venngage:

Step 1: Sign up for Venngage for free using your email, Gmail or Facebook account or simply log in to access your account. 

Step 2: Pick a design from our selection of free presentation templates (they’re all created by our expert in-house designers).

Step 3: Make the template your own by customizing it to fit your content and branding. With Venngage’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor, you can easily modify text, change colors and adjust the layout to create a unique and eye-catching design.

Step 4: Elevate your presentation by incorporating captivating visuals. You can upload your images or choose from Venngage’s vast library of high-quality photos, icons and illustrations. 

Step 5: Upgrade to a premium or business account to export your presentation in PDF and print it for in-person presentations or share it digitally for free!

By following these five simple steps, you’ll have a professionally designed and visually engaging presentation ready in no time. With Venngage’s user-friendly platform, your presentation is sure to make a lasting impression. So, let your creativity flow and get ready to shine in your next presentation!

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SkillsYouNeed

  • PRESENTATION SKILLS

Top Tips for Effective Presentations

Search SkillsYouNeed:

Presentation Skills:

  • A - Z List of Presentation Skills
  • General Presentation Skills
  • What is a Presentation?
  • Preparing for a Presentation
  • Organising the Material
  • Writing Your Presentation
  • Deciding the Presentation Method
  • Managing your Presentation Notes
  • Working with Visual Aids
  • Presenting Data
  • Managing the Event
  • Coping with Presentation Nerves
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  • How to Build Presentations Like a Consultant
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How can you make a good presentation even more effective?

This page draws on published advice from expert presenters around the world, which will help to take your presentations from merely ‘good’ to ‘great’.

By bringing together advice from a wide range of people, the aim is to cover a whole range of areas.

Whether you are an experienced presenter, or just starting out, there should be ideas here to help you to improve.

1. Show your Passion and Connect with your Audience

It’s hard to be relaxed and be yourself when you’re nervous.

But time and again, the great presenters say that the most important thing is to connect with your audience, and the best way to do that is to let your passion for the subject shine through.

Be honest with the audience about what is important to you and why it matters.

Be enthusiastic and honest, and the audience will respond.

2. Focus on your Audience’s Needs

Your presentation needs to be built around what your audience is going to get out of the presentation.

As you prepare the presentation, you always need to bear in mind what the audience needs and wants to know, not what you can tell them.

While you’re giving the presentation, you also need to remain focused on your audience’s response, and react to that.

You need to make it easy for your audience to understand and respond.

3. Keep it Simple: Concentrate on your Core Message

When planning your presentation, you should always keep in mind the question:

What is the key message (or three key points) for my audience to take away?

You should be able to communicate that key message very briefly.

Some experts recommend a 30-second ‘elevator summary’, others that you can write it on the back of a business card, or say it in no more than 15 words.

Whichever rule you choose, the important thing is to keep your core message focused and brief.

And if what you are planning to say doesn’t contribute to that core message, don’t say it.

4. Smile and Make Eye Contact with your Audience

This sounds very easy, but a surprisingly large number of presenters fail to do it.

If you smile and make eye contact, you are building rapport , which helps the audience to connect with you and your subject. It also helps you to feel less nervous, because you are talking to individuals, not to a great mass of unknown people.

To help you with this, make sure that you don’t turn down all the lights so that only the slide screen is visible. Your audience needs to see you as well as your slides.

5. Start Strongly

The beginning of your presentation is crucial. You need to grab your audience’s attention and hold it.

They will give you a few minutes’ grace in which to entertain them, before they start to switch off if you’re dull. So don’t waste that on explaining who you are. Start by entertaining them.

Try a story (see tip 7 below), or an attention-grabbing (but useful) image on a slide.

6. Remember the 10-20-30 Rule for Slideshows

This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple. He suggests that slideshows should:

  • Contain no more than 10 slides;
  • Last no more than 20 minutes; and
  • Use a font size of no less than 30 point.

This last is particularly important as it stops you trying to put too much information on any one slide. This whole approach avoids the dreaded ‘Death by PowerPoint’.

As a general rule, slides should be the sideshow to you, the presenter. A good set of slides should be no use without the presenter, and they should definitely contain less, rather than more, information, expressed simply.

If you need to provide more information, create a bespoke handout and give it out after your presentation.

7. Tell Stories

Human beings are programmed to respond to stories.

Stories help us to pay attention, and also to remember things. If you can use stories in your presentation, your audience is more likely to engage and to remember your points afterwards. It is a good idea to start with a story, but there is a wider point too: you need your presentation to act like a story.

Think about what story you are trying to tell your audience, and create your presentation to tell it.

Finding The Story Behind Your Presentation

To effectively tell a story, focus on using at least one of the two most basic storytelling mechanics in your presentation:

Focusing On Characters – People have stories; things, data, and objects do not. So ask yourself “who” is directly involved in your topic that you can use as the focal point of your story.

For example, instead of talking about cars (your company’s products), you could focus on specific characters like:

  • The drivers the car is intended for – people looking for speed and adventure
  • The engineers who went out of their way to design the most cost-effective car imaginable

A Changing Dynamic – A story needs something to change along the way. So ask yourself “What is not as it should be?” and answer with what you are going to do about it (or what you did about it).

For example…

  • Did hazardous road conditions inspire you to build a rugged, all-terrain jeep that any family could afford?
  • Did a complicated and confusing food labelling system lead you to establish a colour-coded nutritional index so that anybody could easily understand it?

To see 15 more actionable storytelling tips, see Nuts & Bolts Speed Training’s post on Storytelling Tips .

8. Use your Voice Effectively

The spoken word is actually a pretty inefficient means of communication, because it uses only one of your audience’s five senses. That’s why presenters tend to use visual aids, too. But you can help to make the spoken word better by using your voice effectively.

Varying the speed at which you talk, and emphasising changes in pitch and tone all help to make your voice more interesting and hold your audience’s attention.

For more about this, see our page on Effective Speaking .

9. Use your Body Too

It has been estimated that more than three quarters of communication is non-verbal.

That means that as well as your tone of voice, your body language is crucial to getting your message across. Make sure that you are giving the right messages: body language to avoid includes crossed arms, hands held behind your back or in your pockets, and pacing the stage.

Make your gestures open and confident, and move naturally around the stage, and among the audience too, if possible.

10. Relax, Breathe and Enjoy

If you find presenting difficult, it can be hard to be calm and relaxed about doing it.

One option is to start by concentrating on your breathing. Slow it down, and make sure that you’re breathing fully. Make sure that you continue to pause for breath occasionally during your presentation too.

For more ideas, see our page on Coping with Presentation Nerves .

If you can bring yourself to relax, you will almost certainly present better. If you can actually start to enjoy yourself, your audience will respond to that, and engage better. Your presentations will improve exponentially, and so will your confidence. It’s well worth a try.

Improve your Presentation Skills

Follow our guide to boost your presentation skills learning about preparation, delivery, questions and all other aspects of giving effective presentations.

Start with: What is a Presentation?

Continue to: How to Give a Speech Self Presentation

See also: Five Ways You Can Do Visual Marketing on a Budget Can Presentation Science Improve Your Presentation? Typography – It’s All About the Message in Your Slides

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  • Communication

How Do You Prepare a Good Presentation in 2024 in 12+ Practical Steps? (+ Expert Tips)

Sharon Hurley Hall

There's nothing more nerve-wracking than having a big presentation coming up and feeling unprepared. Public speaking can be difficult. Not feeling ready makes it even more of a trial. Learn the essential steps for presentation preparation.

how to prepare for a presentation with templates from Envato Elements

If you want to calm those nerves and wow your audience, then it's a good idea to understand the basics of creating attention-getting presentations.  

In this guide, I'll share 12+ presentation preparation tips that'll walk you through how to prepare for a presentation from start to finish. So, you can feel confident when preparing to give a presentation .

Find Premium Presentation Slides on Envato Elements

One way to save time in the presentation preparation phase is to use a premium template to design your slides. This will help you feel secure about how your presentation looks, even if design skills aren't your core strength.

presentation preparation - choose from the well-designed premium PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements

A great place to find templates when preparing to give a presentation is Envato Elements. This marketplace has a great offer you can grab today. Download as many premium PowerPoint presentation templates as you want, all for one low price.

Design without limits on Envato Elements

This offer includes other items you can use to make your presentations stand out, like stock photos, graphics, icons, and more. 

Choose graphic design elements for PowerPoint presentations on Envato Elements

The great thing about using premium design elements for your presentations is that they're well supported by the creators, are compatible with major software and apps, and are kept up to date .

Get More PowerPoint Presentation Templates on GraphicRiver

Envato Elements is an excellent resource if you've got plenty of presentations to do. But if you need a single presentation template for one-off use, try GraphicRiver. 

how to prepare a presentation with templates from GraphicRiver

GraphicRiver is a great option if you prefer to pay as you go, and choose a single PowerPoint presentation template each time you need to create a new presentation.

How to Prepare a Good Presentation Step by Step in 2024 (+ Expert Quotes)

Now, let's look at  some of the key steps in preparing a presentation, covering everything from topic selection to delivery, so you understand how to develop a presentation :

1. Choose the Right Topic

Choose the right topic

One of the most important presentation preparation tips is to pick the right topic for your presentation . You've got a few choices that'll give you a head start on wowing your audience. For example, you can:

  • Choose a topic you're passionate about. This will make it easy to give an animated and appealing presentation.
  • Pick your topic based on your knowledge and skills, so that you can wow your audience with the information you include.
  • Do a data-driven presentation based on the latest statistics on a topic of interest, plus your expert opinion or conclusions.
  • Select a presentation topic that relates to your business goals, such as reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) or revenue .

Stephanie Schwab , Marketing Expert, Coach and Consultant, advises:

"Finding the right topic is all about knowing your audience. What's keeping them up at night? What do they really need to hear from you, right now, that will help them in their lives, or their businesses? If you're not sure what they need, ask them - survey them through email, ask your community on social media, talk to your customers directly. Meet your audience where they are and they will come to you again and again."

2. Know Your Audience

Related to that, another important step in presentation preparation is to know your audience . Your presentation plan will be completely different depending on whether audience members are novices or experts in your topic. Understanding who you're presenting to helps you select appropriate data and anecdotes to convey your topic. 

Jared Karol , Speaker, Coach and Group Facilitator, says it's extremely important to think of your audience when preparing your presentation:

"If you can trust that your content and presentation flow is solid, you can give more attention to how your audience is thinking and feeling during and after the presentation. Involve the audience as much as possible. Invite them to be part of the presentation––whether rhetorically by using "we" and/or "you" language––and literally by utilizing chat and poll features, or, depending on the size of the group, allowing verbal interaction. Remember that you are creating an experience, not just delivering content." 

If you're presenting to the C-suite, you'll want to keep your presentation short and focused to avoid wasting their time . Learn more executive presentation preparation tips in the following article:

presentation preparing tips

3. Brainstorm

The next tip in our series of presentation steps is to brainstorm. This can be something you do on your own or with others. Either way,  note down initial ideas and inspiration for your presentation. Use tools like mind mapping to connect related concepts. 

By the end of this process, you'll have a clearer idea of the intended focus of your presentation and can move onto the next stage of your presentation plan.

4. Do Your Research

Do Your Research

If you're thinking about how to prepare a great presentation, one of the key elements that separates good business presentations from the rest is research.

Tara Furiani , CEO & Host, Not the HR Lady, says:

"On our show, Not the HR Lady, we are huge proponents of ‘facts’ and call on our audience to fact check us. Presentations must be rooted in more than the theories of the presenter, to be credible. This can take on a lot of different looks. For me, I use and reference a lot of movies, music and pop culture to humorously drive serious points home (like racism, misogyny, bigotry, etc…) and that means finding just the right clip that illustrates your point. Not all ‘research’ has to be academic in nature, but all presentations should call upon someone other than one’s own opinions, for maximum impact and action."

Once you know your topic, you can search for supporting information such as:

  • recent news or features
  • the latest statistics (taken from reliable sources like .gov and .edu industry reports, and Google Dataset Search )
  • relevant quotations

Once you've got that information, you're ready for the next step in presentation preparation.

5. Plan Your Presentation

Now it's time to put your presentation plan together. This is where you bring together ideas from your brainstorm and information from your research and organize them into a rough outline. 

A good way to do this is with headings for different parts of your presentation and bullet points with facts, quotes, and stats. By the end of this process, you'll have a pretty good idea of the content of your slides. That's a crucial part of presentation preparation.

6. Draft/Write Your Presentation

Of course, creating a presentation isn't just about the slides. Use the outline you've created to draft the spoken part of your presentation. It's good to start with an overview of what your presentation will cover. Get it right, and this will whet your audience's appetite and make them pay attention.

Plan your introduction to draw your audience in . Using a story, or an unusual fact or stat can help with this.  Christina Strickland , Vice President of Crackerjack Marketing, says:

"Presentation introductions are a chance to capture your audience’s attention right away. This is a good time to set the tone for the presentation and the meeting in general. Before you head in, know in your own mind the objectives for yourself and for your audience. When you introduce the presentation, begin by laying out the objectives for the audience and then a quick overview of the format and flow. This will help participants know what to expect and the right time to ask questions."

Plan your conclusion, too. It's helpful to know where you're headed so you can steer your presentation the right way.

Use storytelling throughout to keep your audience's attention. Don't be concerned if the final spoken presentation is a little different from your prepared outline. The outline is a guide, but you'll know what you need to include or exclude as you start to polish the actual presentation. 

presentation preparing tips

That's part of the reason you don't always need to create your slides at the outline stage of presentation planning. Instead, update that initial outline based on what your ACTUAL presentation will be. Then it's time for slide preparation (PPT templates, as you'll see, will be a big asset for the next stage).

7. Design Your Presentation Slides

how to prepare your presentation

Wondering how to prepare your presentation with minimum hassle? Use a premium presentation template from Envato Elements to get a harmonious design. This means you can focus on your content, rather than worrying about needing graphic design skills . Remember, you can download unlimited PowerPoint presentation templates from Envato Elements, all for one low price.

There are also attractive PowerPoint presentation templates on GraphicRiver , for those preferring a single-use template. So, there's lots of choice.

Here are some other useful presentation preparation tips:

  • Don't overdo the font choice . A single heading font and a single body font will be fine for most presentations. 
  • Choose your fonts carefully . Some fonts look attractive on your computer but are hard to read.
  • Pay attention to font size . You'll need to make sure that even someone who's at the back of the room can read your slides.
  • Avoid walls of text . They make slides hard to read and is pretty off-putting. A wall of text is a sure way to lose your audience.
  • Make one key point per slide . Have a few supporting bullet points.
  • Use charts, graphics, images, and quotes . They can help make your points and keep your audience's attention.

For more presentation creation tips, check out our in-depth PowerPoint tutorial: How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide) .

8. Expect Questions

Once your main presentation is ready, there's one more way to make your presentation great. That's to prepare for questions. As part of your presentation planning, you should:

  • Think about what people might ask about your presentation content and be ready with answers.
  • Consider how to deliver your presentation to lead people to ask certain questions that you're prepared for.
  • Prepare an answer for when you've got no answer so that you're not left floundering.

Christina Strickland says:

"Unexpected questions are bound to happen. Don’t feel like you are required to answer every question that comes up. It’s always good to have a few different responses prepared for different types of questions. Remember, it’s ok to say “That’s a really good question but it’s not really in my area of expertise.”"

9. Practice the Presentation

Practice the Presentation

When you're happy with your slides and have prepared for questions, it's time for some presentation practice. This is where you do a complete run-through of your presentation, with both your presentation script and the slides. 

As you practice, pay attention to anything that doesn't flow, or is hard to say . Edit both your script and your presentation slides to remove these items. You don't want to be stumbling over your words on the day.

Some people prefer to practice alone but consider using a few friends or trusted colleagues as a test audience. It's a good way to make sure your material is clear and easy to understand.

Keep practicing till you feel you know your material inside out. This will help you deliver a polished presentation when it's time. If you're presenting online, Jared Karol suggests:

"The biggest thing to focus on when delivering presentations virtually is the idea of presence over performance. Try to recreate as closely as possible the vibe and feel you would create if you were all in the room together. Yes, prepare and rehearse. Yes, make sure the technology is good to go. And, remember that how you deliver the information is just as important as what information you're delivering. Wherever possible, try to personalize and humanize your presentation. Try to make your audience feel something not just remember something." 

To learn more about presenting in public, read our public speaking guide: 

presentation preparing tips

10. Prepare the Room

When thinking about how to practice for a presentation, there's one element some people overlook: the presentation space .  If it's possible, check it out well before it's time for you to present. 

One thing to pay attention to is the presentation equipment. Whether you're using a laptop and screen, a projector and screen, or some other piece of technology, get familiar with the presentation technology so you can ensure it'll work as expected.

And if you're able to book rehearsal time, take advantage of it. If you do, there won't be any surprises on the day.

Here are a few additional tips for giving an online presentation. 

11. Adjust Slide Design For Virtual Displays

what is a good presentation

If you're doing a virtual presentation, one of the most important tips for presentation preparation is to adjust the design of your slides. People will tune in from different size screens. So, make sure you don't have any text too near the top, bottom or sides of the slide, or some people won't be able to see it. Stephanie Schwab says:

 "I like to give instructions to the audience on how to get the best view of the presentation; I use Zoom most of the time, so I'll do a quick explanation of how to switch from gallery view to speaker view, and how to slide the screensharing portion bigger or smaller. That way I can have a little bit more confidence that the audience will take in the presentation in the way I want them to see it, and not get distracted by gallery view."

12. Look After Background and Lighting

We've all been on Zoom calls where the speaker is backlit, or where there's something distracting in the background. Avoid both of these so your audience can focus on your presentation. Experiment with the room you're presenting in to find the best lighting or get a ring light or two to ensure your face is always visible. And consider using a virtual background to keep distractions to a minimum. 

Tara Furiani says:

"The differences between presentations online and those that are in-person, are largely dependent on the skill of the facilitator. For example, one who’s engaging, tech savvy and can command a room… should find the presentations in-person or online, pretty much the same. When I present in a live setting, I use far less imagery than I would for an online session, because the focus would be on me. Virtually, I tend to add a touch more visual content, since my face alone should only be looked at for so long. By anyone."

13. Use Interactive Features

When preparing your presentation plan for an online presentation, try interactive features in your delivery platform to keep the audience engaged. Since you won't be able to use - or see body language - here are some tactics to try:

  • Include polls.
  • Ask questions people can respond to in the chat section.
  • Encourage the use of emoji reactions to get the audience involved.

These features are a big advantage of presenting online, says Tara Furiani:

"One shift, I think, that we will miss about online presentations (when in-person becomes the ‘norm’ again) is the ability to know, in the moment, if you are affecting change with people and resonating. Reactions, re-quotes, comments, and questions are delivered to us, while we are presenting, instantaneously… training survey be damned, this is real-time feedback.  We’re going to miss that; I just know it. In real life, save for applause, there aren’t ‘reactions’ to click that appear over the speakers’ head… maybe there should be?"

Presentation Preparation: Online vs In-Person

More conferences and events are being held online, and that's likely to continue. That means going one step further to understand how to develop a presentation to give a virtual audience a great experience. Stephanie Schwab comments:

"A lot of people think that giving an online presentation means you have to show slides the whole time - and I think just the opposite. I might have some slides to backup some of my points, but I'm usually pretty fluid between sharing my screen with a slide and then turning off sharing, so that the online audience can focus on me."

Do you wonder "what is a good presentation for online audiences?" Here are some differences in presentation preparation between online and in-person presentations.

  • You can't read the room . When presenting in-person, you can tell if people are engaged because they may lean forward, make eye contact or respond in some way. On a video call, you may not be able to see them properly, and they'll likely be muted to avoid background noise. To make up for this, pause regularly and ask for comments or feedback. 
  • You can't rely on body language . An in-person presenter can use physicality for emphasis. That's not possible in the boundaries of a small screen.
  • Visual cues are essential . In-person you can gesture or point at a key part of your slides. That's harder on a small screen. So, design your slides with visual cues like arrows and circles to direct your audience to what's most important on any slide. 
  • Working technology is more important  for virtual presentations. It's essential to ensure your mic and camera are working properly so you look professional. In contrast, you always have the option of going tech-free in an in-person presentation.
  • You handle questions differently . In-person, it's pretty easy to see when someone has a question, especially in a small room. Online, that's much harder, so have someone on hand to keep track of who's raised a hand or typed a question into the chat box.
  • Camera position is crucial. In-person, you may not have a camera. Even if you do, you can walk around the room to make eye contact with different people. That's not possible online, so make sure you're looking directly into the camera. That will allow you to make virtual eye contact with every participant. 

Learn More About How to Prepare Your Presentation

Now you know how to prepare a good presentation, but don't stop there. Find even more useful presentation preparation tips in the following guides and tutorials:

presentation preparing tips

Find More Presentation Templates

Are you still looking for the right presentation template? Find great templates for any type of presentation in the following roundups:

presentation preparing tips

Start Your Presentation Preparation

Now, it's your turn to prepare a presentation. You've learned some key presentation steps, including the importance of developing a presentation plan as well as the importance of presentation practice. You're ready to get started.

Don't forget. You can find attractive PowerPoint presentation templates on Envato Elements. And, for one-off use, you can also choose from the presentation templates on GraphicRiver. Check out the best PowerPoint templates available today.

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Sharon Hurley Hall . Sharon is a freelance instructor for Envato Tuts+.

Sharon Hurley Hall

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What are the main difficulties when giving presentations?

How to create an effective presentation, after that, how do i give a memorable presentation, how to connect with the audience when presenting.

If you’ve ever heard someone give a powerful presentation, you probably remember how it made you feel. Much like a composer, a good speaker knows precisely when each note should strike to captivate their audience’s attention and leave them with a lasting impression.

No one becomes a great public speaker or presenter without practice. And almost everyone can recall a time one of their presentations went badly — that’s a painful part of the learning process.

Whether you’re working within a small creative team or a large organization, public speaking and presentation skills are vital to communicating your ideas. Knowing how to present your vision can help you pitch concepts to clients, present ideas to your team, and develop the confidence to participate in team meetings.

If you have an upcoming presentation on the horizon and feel nervous, that’s normal. Around 15-30% of the general population experience a fear of public speaking . And, unfortunately, social anxiety is on the rise, with a 12% increase in adults over the last 20 years . 

Learning how to give a good presentation can dismantle your fears and break down these barriers, ensuring you’re ready to confidently share your point of view. 

It’s the week before your presentation, and you’re already feeling nervous . Maybe there’ll be an important mentor in the room you need to impress, or you’re looking for an opportunity to show your boss your value. Regardless of your countless past presentations, you still feel nervous. 

Sharing your vision and ideas with any sized group is intimidating. You’re likely worrying about how you’ll perform as a presenter and whether the audience will be interested in what you offer. But nerves aren’t inherently negative — you can actually use this feeling to fuel your preparation.

businesswoman-speaking-from-a-podium-to-an-audience-in-a-conference-room-how-to-give-a-good-presentation

It’s helpful to identify where your worries are coming from and address your fears. Here are some common concerns when preparing for an upcoming presentation:

Fear of public speaking: When you share your ideas in front of a group, you’re placing yourself in a vulnerable position to be critiqued on your knowledge and communication skills . Maybe you feel confident in your content, but when you think about standing in front of an audience, you feel anxious and your mind goes blank.

It’s also not uncommon to have physical symptoms when presenting . Some people experience nausea and dizziness as the brain releases adrenaline to cope with the potentially stressful situation . Remember to take deep breaths to recenter yourself and be patient, even if you make a mistake.

Losing the audience’s attention: As a presenter, your main focus is to keep your audience engaged. They should feel like they’re learning valuable information or following a story that will improve them in life or business.

Highlight the most exciting pieces of knowledge and ensure you emphasize those points in your presentation. If you feel passionate about your content, it’s more likely that your audience will experience this excitement for themselves and become invested in what you have to say.

Not knowing what content to place on presentation slides: Overloading presentation slides is a fast way to lose your audience’s attention. Your slides should contain only the main talking points and limited text to ensure your audience focuses on what you have to say rather than becoming distracted by the content on your slides.

Discomfort incorporating nonverbal communication: It’s natural to feel stiff and frozen when you’re nervous. But maintaining effective body language helps your audience stay focused on you as you speak and encourages you to relax.

If you struggle to incorporate body language into your presentations, try starting small by making hand gestures toward your slides. If you’re working with a large audience, use different parts of the stage to ensure everyone feels included. 

Each presenter has their own personal brand and style. Some may use humor to break the ice, while others might appeal to the audience’s emotional side through inspiring storytelling. 

Watching online presentations, such as TED talks, is an excellent way to expose yourself to various presentation styles and develop your own. While observing others, you can note how they carry themselves on stage and learn new ways to keep your audience engaged.

Once you’ve addressed what’s causing your fears, it’s time to prepare for a great presentation. Use your past experience as inspiration and aim to outshine your former self by learning from your mistakes and employing new techniques. Here are five presentation tips to help you create a strong presentation and wow your audience:

1. Keep it simple

Simple means something different to everyone.

Before creating your presentation, take note of your intended audience and their knowledge level of your subject. You’ll want your content to be easy for your intended audience to follow.

Say you’re giving a presentation on improving your company’s operational structure. Entry-level workers will likely need a more straightforward overview of the content than C-suite leaders, who have significantly more experience. 

Ask yourself what you want your audience to take away from your presentation and emphasize those important points. Doing this ensures they remember the most vital information rather than less important supporting ideas. Try organizing these concepts into bullet points so viewers can quickly identify critical takeaways.

2. Create a compelling structure

Put yourself in your audience member’s shoes and determine the most compelling way to organize your information. Your presentation should be articulate , cohesive, and logical, and you must be sure to include all necessary supporting evidence to strengthen your main points.

If you give away all of your answers too quickly, your audience could lose interest. And if there isn’t enough supporting information, they could hit a roadblock of confusion. Try developing a compelling story that leads your audience through your thought processes so they can experience the ups and downs alongside you. 

By structuring your presentation to lead up to a final conclusion, you’re more likely to keep listeners’ attention. Once you’ve reached that conclusion, you can offer a Q&A period to put any of their questions or concerns to rest. 

3. Use visual aids

Appealing to various learning styles is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and ensure they absorb your content. Visual aids are necessary for visual learners and make it easier for people to picture your ideas.

Aim to incorporate a mixture of photos, videos, and props to engage your audience and convey your key points. For instance, if you’re giving a presentation on anthropology subject matter, you could show your audience an artifact to help them understand how exciting a discovery must have been. 

If your presentation is long, including a video for your audience to watch is an excellent way to give yourself a break and create new jumping-off points for your speech.

4. Be aware of design techniques and trends

Thanks to cutting-edge technology and tools, you have numerous platforms at your disposal to create a good presentation. But keep in mind that although color, images, and graphics liven things up, they can cause distraction when misused.

  Here are a few standard pointers for incorporating visuals on your slides: 

  • Don’t place blocks of small text on a single slide
  • Use a minimalistic background instead of a busy one
  • Ensure text stands out against the background color
  • Only use high-resolution photos
  • Maintain a consistent font style and size throughout the presentation
  • Don’t overuse transitions and effects

5. Try the 10-20-30 rule

Guy Kawasaki, a prominent venture capitalist and one of the original marketing specialists for Apple, said that the best slideshow presentations are less than 10 slides , last at most 20 minutes, and use a font size of 30. Following this strategy can help you condense your information, eliminate unnecessary ideas, and maintain your audience’s focus more efficiently.

Once you’re confident in creating a memorable presentation, it’s time to learn how to give one. Here are some valuable tips for keeping your audience invested during your talk: 

Tip #1: Tell stories

Sharing an anecdote from your life can improve your credibility and increase your relatability. And when an audience relates to you, they’re more likely to feel connected to who you are as a person and encouraged to give you their full attention, as they would want others to do the same.

Gill Hicks utilized this strategy well when she shared her powerful story, “ I survived a terrorist attack. Here’s what I learned .” In her harrowing tale, Hicks highlights the importance of compassion, unconditional love, and helping those in need.

If you feel uncomfortable sharing personal stories, that’s okay. You can use examples from famous individuals or create a fictional account to demonstrate your ideas.

Tip #2: Make eye contact with the audience

Maintaining eye contact is less intimidating than it sounds. In fact, you don’t have to look your audience members directly in their eyes — you can focus on their foreheads or noses if that’s easier.

Try making eye contact with as many people as possible for 3–5 seconds each. This timing ensures you don’t look away too quickly, making the audience member feel unimportant, or linger too long, making them feel uncomfortable.

If you’re presenting to a large group, direct your focus to each part of the room to ensure no section of the audience feels ignored. 

Group-of-a-business-people-having-meeting-in-a-conference-room-how-to-give-a-good-presentation

Tip #3: Work on your stage presence

Although your tone and words are the most impactful part of your presentation, recall that body language keeps your audience engaged. Use these tips to master a professional stage presence:

  • Speak with open arms and avoid crossing them
  • Keep a reasonable pace and try not to stand still
  • Use hand gestures to highlight important information

Tip #4: Start strong

Like watching a movie trailer, the first seconds of your talk are critical for capturing your audience’s attention. How you start your speech sets the tone for the rest of your presentation and tells your audience whether or not they should pay attention. Here are some ways to start your presentation to leave a lasting impression:

  • Use a quote from a well-known and likable influential person 
  • Ask a rhetorical question to create intrigue
  • Start with an anecdote to add context to your talk 
  • Spark your audience’s curiosity by involving them in an interactive problem-solving puzzle or riddle

Tip #5: Show your passion

Don’t be afraid of being too enthusiastic. Everyone appreciates a speaker who’s genuinely excited about their field of expertise. 

In “ Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance ,” Angela Lee Duckworth discusses the importance of passion in research and delivery. She delivers her presentation excitedly to show the audience how excitement piques interest. 

Tip #6: Plan your delivery

How you decide to deliver your speech will shape your presentation. Will you be preparing a PowerPoint presentation and using a teleprompter? Or are you working within the constraints of the digital world and presenting over Zoom?

The best presentations are conducted by speakers who know their stuff and memorize their content. However, if you find this challenging, try creating notes to use as a safety net in case you lose track.

If you’re presenting online, you can keep notes beside your computer for each slide, highlighting your key points. This ensures you include all the necessary information and follow a logical order.

Woman-presenting-charts-and-data-to-work-team-how-to-give-a-good-presentation

Tip #7: Practice

Practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes progress. There’s no way of preparing for unforeseen circumstances, but thorough practice means you’ve done everything you can to succeed.

Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror or to a trusted friend or family member. Take any feedback and use it as an opportunity to fine-tune your speech. But remember: who you practice your presentation in front of may differ from your intended audience. Consider their opinions through the lens of them occupying this different position.

Tip #8: Read the room

Whether you’re a keynote speaker at an event or presenting to a small group of clients, knowing how to read the room is vital for keeping your audience happy. Stay flexible and be willing to move on from topics quickly if your listeners are uninterested or displeased with a particular part of your speech.

Tip #9: Breathe

Try taking deep breaths before your presentation to calm your nerves. If you feel rushed, you’re more likely to feel nervous and stumble on your words.

The most important thing to consider when presenting is your audience’s feelings. When you approach your next presentation calmly, you’ll put your audience at ease and encourage them to feel comfortable in your presence.

Tip #10: Provide a call-to-action

When you end your presentation, your audience should feel compelled to take a specific action, whether that’s changing their habits or contacting you for your services.

If you’re presenting to clients, create a handout with key points and contact information so they can get in touch. You should provide your LinkedIn information, email address, and phone number so they have a variety of ways to reach you. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all template for an effective presentation, as your unique audience and subject matter play a role in shaping your speech. As a general rule, though, you should aim to connect with your audience through passion and excitement. Use strong eye contact and body language. Capture their interest through storytelling and their trust through relatability.

Learning how to give a good presentation can feel overwhelming — but remember, practice makes progress. Rehearse your presentation for someone you trust, collect their feedback , and revise. Practicing your presentation skills is helpful for any job, and every challenge is a chance to grow.

Enhance your presentation skills

Discover coaching that transforms your public speaking and boosts your confidence in presenting.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

6 presentation skills and how to improve them

Tell a story they can't ignore these 10 tips will teach you how, 3 stand-out professional bio examples to inspire your own, how to make a presentation interactive and exciting, reading the room gives you an edge — no matter who you're talking to, how to write a speech that your audience remembers, your guide to what storytelling is and how to be a good storyteller, writing an elevator pitch about yourself: a how-to plus tips, 18 effective strategies to improve your communication skills, 8 clever hooks for presentations (with tips), i stopped having dead people's goals, learn types of gestures and their meanings to improve your communication, love them or hate them, meetings promote social learning and growth, getting a new manager how to (stop panicking and) make the most of it, a new role for chros: insights from the gartner reimaginehr conference, discover how to get noticed by upper management at work, getting passed over for a promotion is tough. here's how to handle it, books to grow with in 2022, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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Storydoc

How to Make Effective Impactful Presentations (Tips & Tools)

Learn how to make a good presentation great - step-by-step with examples. Learn the principles, guidelines & qualities needed to prepare captivating slides.

presentation preparing tips

Dominika Krukowska

12 minute read

How to make good presentations

Short answer

Short answer: how to make a good presentation.

Start with a surprising statement, a bold promise, or a mystery

Provide context with a bit of background information

Structure your presentation within a story framework

Make every word count, and use as few as possible

Use visuals only to support your presentation text

Use interactive design to make your audience active participants

End by telling your audience what they can do with what they’ve learned

Boring presentations are instantly forgotten. How’s yours?

Lifeless presentations can spell doom for your message, leaving your audience disengaged and your goals unreached.

The price of a mediocre presentation is steep; missed opportunities, unimpressed prospects, and a bad rep.

In a world where everyone has grown to expect a good story, a boring presentation will be instantly forgotten. Like a drop in the ocean.

But not all is lost.

This post will teach you how presentation pros create compelling narratives and leverage the latest tech tools to command attention, drive a powerful message, and get shared like gossip.

Let’s get started!

How to prepare a presentation?

The successful presenter understands the value of small details and thorough preparation like the seasoned chef knows the importance of quality ingredients and careful technique for serving a 5 star dish

But where do you start?

Step-by-step guide for preparing a presentation:

1. Define your objective

Every presentation needs a clear goal. Are you looking to persuade, educate, or motivate? Perhaps you aim to showcase a product, or share insights about a recent project.

Defining your objective early on will guide your content creation process, helping you to focus your message and structure your presentation effectively. Think of your objective as the North Star guiding your presentation journey.

2. Analyze your audience

Next up, who are you talking to? Your audience should shape your presentation as much as your objective does. Understanding their needs, interests, and background will enable you to tailor your message to resonate with them.

Are they experts in your field, or are they novices looking for an introduction? What questions might they have? The more you know about your audience, the more compelling your presentation will be.

3. Research your topic

Once you've defined your objective and analyzed your audience, it's time to delve deep into your topic. Comprehensive research lays the groundwork for a robust, credible presentation.

Don't just scratch the surface – explore different perspectives, recent developments, and key statistics. This will not only enhance your understanding but also equip you with a wealth of information to answer any questions your audience might have.

4. Choose the right delivery format

Finally, consider the best format to deliver your message.

The right format can make all the difference in how your message is received, so choose wisely!

PowerPoint presentations are classic and easy to work with. But PowerPoint and Google slides are not so versatile in terms of their content experience. They're static, packed with information, and all look alike.

Our own presentation maker offers interactive, personalized, and multimedia content experience.

Data from our research of over 100K presentation sessions shows that audiences engage with Storydoc presentations 103% better than PowerPoint.

presentation preparing tips

How to create an effective presentation?

There’s part art and part science in creating high-engagement high-impact presentations.

An effective presentation is the painstaking result of well-organized content, visuals that support and elevate your message, simplifying complex information, and personalizing wherever possible.

I wrote this post to teach you how to do all these, and a few things more.

Ready to learn? Let's dive in!

How to organize your presentation content?

Crafting a compelling presentation is like writing a page-turner.

You need to captivate your audience, maintain their interest, and guide them effortlessly through your narrative.

But how do you transform a heap of information into a well-structured presentation you can’t stop reading? There’s a structure you can follow.

3-step process for organizing a magnetic presentation:

1. Prioritize content

Your presentation should immediately capture interest and demonstrate relevance before moving on to establish understanding .

A) Build interest:

Begin with a strong hook that grabs your audience's attention. This could be an intriguing statistic, a powerful image , or an engaging question. It should stir curiosity and make your audience eager to hear more.

B) Establish relevance:

Once you have their attention it's time to establish why your presentation matters to your audience.

Address your audience's main concerns. Make sure your content directly speaks to these pain points, and address them in order of importance.

2. Build anticipation

A great presentation is like getting a new car – it builds anticipation, takes you on a thrilling ride, and ends with you wanting to share the experience with all your friends.

Start with a compelling problem your audience relates to and follow up with a promise of an amazing way they can solve it. This problem-solution dynamic creates a suspense that keeps your audience glued to your presentation.

3. Use a story framework

Finally, use a story framework to give your presentation structure and flow.

Begin with a big idea that underpins your presentation. Then delve into the problem, showcasing why it needs attention. Present your solution, painting a vision of a better future for your audience.

Weave in concrete examples of how your solution changes lives.

Tell the story of WHO you helped, WHAT the situation was before and after your solution, WHERE and WHEN it happened, WHY it worked and HOW it made them feel.

If you’re writing a business presentation you should follow this with an execution plan that outlines how the solution will be implemented.

Finally, close with clear next steps, guiding your audience on what they should do after the presentation to bring meaningful change into their lives.

Our recommended story framework:

How to write a presentation storyline that creates interest

How to design your presentation?

A good presentation is more than just making it look pretty ; it's about communicating your message effectively and creating a lasting impression.

Good presentation design grabs attention, and leads it to where it’s needed most. It takes your hand and leads you through the easiest and most pleasant path to understanding.

Good presentation design supports your message rather than steals the spotlight. Good design is narrated design.

What is narrated design (Scrollytelling)?

Scrollytelling, where "scroll" meets "storytelling", is an interactive content experience that guides readers through a narrative journey with a simple scroll. It connects text, images, videos, and animations into integrated “scenes” where content is both shown and narrated.

Scrollytelling breaks complex content into digestible chunks and gives the reader control over pace. It has been scientifically shown to enhance engagement, understandability and memorability.

Scrollytelling came up as a central thing when Itai Amoza, our Founder and CEO was building the foundations for Storydoc.

He partnered with one of the world’s leading visualization scientists , prof. Steven Franconeri , to help him bring to Storydoc the means to reduce the complexity, friction, and information overload so characteristic of business presentations.

Scrollytelling is part of the solutions that came up, which led to specialized storytelling slides like our narrator slide (in the example below).

An example of Storydoc scrollytelling:

Narrator slide example

How to design presentation visuals to support your story

Presentation visuals can be unsung heroes or sloppy distractions.

Visuals can bring your message to life, make complex concepts easy to understand, and engage your audience in ways that words alone cannot. Or… they can sit there looking all pretty and distract you from what’s really going on.

4 elements of great presentation visuals:

Support your message: Your visuals should support your text, highlight your main message, and align with your objective. They should reinforce your points and help your audience understand your message.

Represent your audience: The best visuals are relatable. They should resonate with your target audience and reflect their world of associations. Use images and graphics that your audience can identify with – this can enhance their engagement and make your presentation more memorable. Equally important is using clean images - an effective way to do this is by using tools that allow you to remove your image backgrounds . By eliminating distractions and focusing on your subject, you create images that are more impactful and, therefore, can potentially increase audience engagement.

Introduce your product, outcomes, and clients: Wherever possible, use visuals to demonstrate your product, illustrate outcomes, and represent your clients. This can remove doubt and misunderstanding by letting your audience see (and make obvious) what words sometimes struggle to describe.

Follow your branding guidelines: Your presentation is an extension of your brand, so your visuals should conform to your branding guidelines. Consistent use of colors, fonts, and styles not only enhances brand recognition but also creates a cohesive, professional look.

Here’s an example of a well-designed presentation:

How to communicate complex information?

Did you ever have to read a presentation where you felt like you're lost in a maze of jargon, data, and complex concepts?

Are you giving others this same experience?

Communicating complex information is a common challenge in presentations. But there are ways you can simplify your presentation and reengage your audience.

Here’s how you can get complex information across:

1. Use interactive content

Interactive content is your best friend when it comes to simplifying complex information and getting deeply engaged with your content.

It gets the readers more involved in your presentation by letting them play an active part; like choosing the content route they wish to take and controlling the pace.

It keeps your presentation textually lean - giving readers the choice to expand more details on demand (in tabs, live graphs, sliders, accordions, and calculators).

Beyond that, live graphs can illustrate trends, animations can demonstrate processes, and videos can bring concepts to life.

Calculators, questionnaires, and chatbots provide personalized and specific answers to readers as part of your presentation, without them having to get in touch with you or your team.

Elavating your presentations from static to interactive has been tied to increasing the number of people who read your presentation in full by 41% !

Making interactive used to be hard, but now you can just use Storydoc. Go make your first interactive presentation. It’s easy as pie.

2. Show don’t tell

A picture is worth a thousand words. Because no one will read a presentation with a thousand words, do everyone a favor and use images.

Images can be super effective at communicating complex information and save you a lot of needless text.

In fact, visual representation of data and concepts can often convey what words cannot. Use diagrams, infographics, and images to illustrate your points and simplify the complex.

The goal is to create a visual narrative that complements your verbal one.

3. Narrate your content

Storytelling is another powerful tool for communicating complex concepts.

Whether it's through text to speech AI, video bubbles, or a scrollytelling narrator slide, narrating your content can help guide your audience through the complexity.

By giving your information a narrative structure, you can make it more digestible, engaging, and memorable.

According to Sales Hacker’s data, people remember up to 10% of numbers and 25% of images they see. When you center your presentation around a story, this rises to 60-70% .

4. Use examples and allegories

Examples and allegories help unravel the complexity of ideas.

They scaffold your message with concepts we already know and understand, and can easily imagine in our mind. This makes them less new and intimidating and more familiar.

Critically, the real secret lies in selecting examples that are not just familiar but also deeply relevant—those are the ones that will truly ring with your listeners.

If you tailor the allegory to your audience's world, it is guaranteed to lead to an “aha” moment.

5. Open a line of communication

Finally, invite dialogue. This could be through a chatbot or an option to book a meeting for further discussion. This not only helps clarify any confusion but also encourages engagement and deepens understanding.

For example, finishing your presentation with an interactive calendar to book a meeting instead of a generic “Thank you” slide has proven to boost conversion rate by 27% !

Thank you slide

How to personalize your presentation?

Imagine attending a party where the host doesn't remember your name or anything about you. Not a great experience, right? The same holds true for presentations.

In a sea of generic content, personalization can be a lifeline that connects you to your audience on a deeper level. It’s also the single most important predictor of success, getting 68% more people to read your presentation in full .

But how do you add that personal touch?

1. Address reader by name

Just as you wouldn't start a conversation without a greeting, don't start your presentation without acknowledging your audience.

Using your audience's name can make your presentation feel like a personal conversation rather than a generic monologue. It's a simple yet powerful way to engage your audience from the get-go.

2. Use their company logo

Including your audience's company logo in your presentation can make them feel seen and valued. It shows that you've taken the time to tailor your presentation to them, enhancing its relevance and appeal.

Plus, it's a subtle way to reinforce that your message is specifically designed to address their needs and challenges.

3. Add a personal message (video or text)

A personal message can go a long way in building a connection with your audience.

It could be a video message from you, expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity to present to them, or a text message highlighting why the presentation matters to them.

This personal touch can make your audience feel special and more invested in your presentation.

4. Personalize your Call-to-Action

Finally, cap off your presentation with a call to action that speaks directly to your audience.

Swap out the generic 'Contact us' with something that gets to the heart of their needs, something like, 'Let's roll up our sleeves and tackle your [specific issue] at [their company].'

By tailoring your call to action, you show your audience you've truly got their back, that you're not just here to talk, but to make a real, positive impact on their world.

Here’s an example of a personalized slide:

how to make a good personalized presentation slide

How to measure the effectiveness of your presentation

Imagine if you could peek into your audience's mind, understand what resonated, what fell flat, and what drove them to action?

Presentation analytics is essential in order to guide you on how to fine-tune it for maximum impact.

But how do you get your hands on presentation analytics?

Any presentation you create with Storydoc comes with an out-of-the-box analytics suite , ready to track and provide insights.

We give you 100% visibility into how people engage with your presentations and send you real-time engagement alerts.

Here’s a video explaining how you can track performance with our analytics panel:

Storydoc analytics pa

4 critical presentation engagement metrics to keep track of

1. Reading time

Storydoc gives you the precise time prospects spend reading your presentation so you can quickly figure out what's hitting the target and what's not.

Are they soaking up every word or just quickly skimming through? This can help you shape your content to hit the bullseye.

NOTE: Keep in mind that reading time alone might not show you a full picture. A better way is to use a smart engagement score that brings together different metrics like time spent and depth of reading. You can get this kind of total score in Storydoc.

2. Reading completion

Another basic metric we track is how many people read your content from start to finish.

This metric is a strong sign of the prospect’s interest and your content quality. It shows you if they're finding the information relevant, but also worth sticking with till the end.

3. Next step conversion rate

This one tracks how many people take the next step after they check out your presentation. This could be filling out a form, setting up a meeting, or downloading more files.

For business presentations, measuring this can show how well your presentation is pushing people further down the sales funnel.

At the top of your analytics dashboard, you can find a tab that shows you how many people clicked on your CTA divided by presentation, date, and location. If you scroll down to the list of readers, next to each person you can also see whether they clicked on the CTA or not.

Here's what it looks like:

Analytics panel - CTA

4. Number of shares

This metric is particularly important for B2B sales teams . As more people are getting involved in buying decisions, this measure helps you see if and when your content is being passed around inside your prospect’s company.

On the analytics dashboard, under each presentation version, you can find detailed information on how many people read it. So, the higher the number, the more your presentation has been shared internally.

We'll notify you when your presentation has been shared, and who opened it, so you can time your follow-up perfectly to your buyer’s readiness to advance further.

Here's where you can find this information:

Analytics panel - internal shares

Best tool for making an effective presentation

In the realm of presentation tools, classics like Google Slides and PowerPoint offer simplicity and ease, while Canva and Pitch add a dash of design flair and collaboration.

If you're seeking to elevate your presentations to new heights you’ll need to do better than simple PowerPoints or flashy Canvas. Next-gen AI presentation tools like Storydoc are your game-changer.

They break free from the static concept of slides and offer the creation of interactive, immersive content experiences that sweep us along like a good story.

Storydoc - AI presentatio

Grab a template - create your best presentation to date

Ever wished for a secret recipe to whip up a killer presentation? We've got something even better! Our interactive presentation templates are your shortcut to success.

Say goodbye to hours of formatting and hello to captivating, interactive presentations, all with a few clicks.

Grab a template and turn presentation woes into wows!

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Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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How to Give a Good Presentation: 11 Top Tips for Killer Presentations

How to Give a Good Presentation: 11 Top Tips for Killer Presentations

Written by: Orana Velarde

how to give a good presentation - header

Giving a good presentation takes practice. Not everyone is born a natural public speaker, which is  why we’re here today.

In this article, we’ll give you some of the best tips for killer presentations. These are techniques used by all the best public speakers, and yes – even they had to practice to get this good.

If you need to give a presentation for work, be it a pitch about a new project or product idea, a quarterly marketing report, a product launch or as an industry expert in a summit, we’ve got you covered.

How to Give a Good Presentation [Presentation]

To learn more about our top 11 tips for giving a killer presentation, keep reading throughout this article. But for those of you who are skimmers, feel free to browse through this presentation rounding up our top tips.

How to Give a Good Presentation

Here’s a quick look at the 11 tips on how to give a good presentation. Plus, you’ll find a bonus resource you won’t want to miss, The Visme Presentation Guru Course.

  • Rehearse What You’re Planning to Say
  • Prepare Mentally, Emotionally and Technically
  • Start Strong
  • Follow the Outline You Practiced With
  • Finish With Confidence
  • Use a Storytelling Technique on Your Slides
  • Keep Your Slides Short
  • Use Templates
  • Learn From Your Mistakes
  • Keep Yourself Inspired for the Future

Let’s dive in.

1 Rehearse What You’re Planning To Say

Before you even give a good presentation, you need to prepare.

This part has two steps – to rehearse what you’re going to say and to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. These two tips go hand in hand, but we’ll explain what each one is about individually.

Notice that we didn’t say “memorize your presentation.” There’s a big difference between memorizing a speech and practicing telling a story. The difference is that a memorized speech can end up sounding robot-like and practiced storytelling sounds effortless. 

You’ll be better off if you have at least a rough outline of your slides before you start rehearsing.

Section 1, Pause, Section 2, Pause, Repeat

Rehearse what you’re planning to say during your presentation by using a written outline, index cards, printed out versions of your presentation slides or whatever works for you.  

Practicing the spoken part of your Visme presentation is easy when you use the presentation notes feature . 

Separate your presentations into sections. The best way to do this is by topic. Try and keep all the sections about the same length, that way you can plan your pauses. 

Presenter’s Notes

Add presenter’s notes to your slides to help you along as you present. Visme makes this easy for you. As you go through each slide, you’re able to see the notes, what slide you’re on and what slide is next. There’s also a timer to help you pace each slide switch.

This tool will help if you can have a computer close by as you give the presentation. But if you are giving a presentation on a stage without a screen to help you, you’ll have to practice without notes. 

Create a stunning presentation in less time

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presentation preparing tips

How to Give A Good Presentation With Mnemonic Tools

Create some mnemonic tools into your presentation to help you remember what comes next. For some people, this comes as second nature and is easy. For others, it can become convoluted and cause you to overthink things. 

Try out a variety of different techniques until you find the one you feel the most comfortable and confident with.

Ask For Feedback

For better results and to know if you’re improving, record yourself or ask someone to watch you.  Ask them to give you honest feedback. Don’t accept feedback like “that was great.” Insist they go into the details. Offer them a pen and paper to take notes as you present.

You’ll notice as you practice and rehearse, that when you follow an outline, all the information you want to share is easier to remember. The TED talk below by Dr. Bolte Taylor was rehearsed 200 times and it’s one of the most famous TED Talks ever. 

You don’t need to practice that many times – just enough so it feels effortless. Needless to say, rehearsing is key to learning how to give a good presentation.

2 Prepare Mentally, Emotionally and Technically

It’s highly likely that you’ve already had to give presentations before, most probably at school. But let’s be honest, a classroom and a TED stage are a little different. So is an online summit via Zoom, which as you know are even more common now!

Let’s get one thing straight, though. We’re not talking about just any presentation here – we’re talking high stakes, high-quality presentations.

Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for a weekly sales report meeting is not as important as doing so for one that will be in front of thousands of people and recorded for posterity.

This tip includes mental, emotional and technical preparation. Let’s focus on each one.

Ready to create your own presentation in minutes?

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Mental Preparation

While you’re rehearsing the outline and general speech for your presentation, notice the times when you feel like things flow and when they don’t. 

Why do you think that’s happening? 

If it flows well it’s because you feel comfortable with the content. You know what you’re talking about. You might even be passionate about it!

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble, maybe the content is still new to you. You might need to do a little more research to feel more knowledgeable about that topic. If you are unsure, you might completely forget what you had to say next during the presentation. 

That’s why rehearsing, adjusting and creating mnemonic cues will help.

Emotional Preparation

Not everyone needs to get emotionally prepared before a presentation. Conscientious rehearsing can usually be enough. But not everyone is the same. 

Many people that suffer from glossophobia or the fear of public speaking. Some have anxiety or social anxiety and just being close to that many people is difficult for them. Many successful speakers used to be riddled by fear before their first few presentations. 

Some of them still are, every single time. The difference is that they have learned how to manage their fear and lean into it. As soon as they step on the stage, the fear and anxiety melt away and all the rehearsing and practicing take over. 

To get emotionally prepared, you can try some mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques. 

Wear clothes that make you feel powerful and confident. Try doing the power pose and high five some people before you go on stage. Sing your favorite song and have a little quick uplifting dance. 

Technical Preparation

You might be wondering what technical things you need to give a good presentation. It’s all in the details. 

Regardless if you’ll be speaking in a venue or an online summit, you have to test all technicalities.

If you’ll be speaking in a venue, visit the space and stand in the place where you’ll speak. Have a look around and pinpoint some elements or aspects that make you comfortable.

If there’s anything that bothers you, like a weird smell or a column in the middle of the room, think of ways to overcome that. 

Always ask to test the technical aspects in the room. Connect your computer or tablet to their system to check if your slides will look good with their setup. Also, test the audio. These detailed checks might not always be possible but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If your presentation will be online, test all your tech beforehand. Locate a spot with the strongest wifi or hardwire your computer to the router.

Check your background and the lighting. Organize with housemates or family for some quiet time during the time of your presentation.

3 Start Strong

The day and time of your presentation have arrived! Now it’s time to shine.

Starting strong is a huge factor in achieving a good presentation. The first few seconds and minutes that you’re on stage will make a first impression on your audience . And yes, you can leverage that to your advantage!

How To Give A Good Presentation Through Impactful Body Language

The first thing people will notice is your body language. The way you carry yourself says a lot about how confident you are at that specific moment. If you prepared emotionally and mentally before your turn, then you’re as ready as you’ll ever be.

Watch the video below to learn about the power pose and how body language affects both you and your audience.

Make An Impressionable Statement

Starting a presentation with a joke, for example, can make the audience relate or feel more familiar with you. Letting them laugh a little will clear the air in the room and it’ll be easier to continue. 

Other opening techniques include:

  • Be Provocative
  • Incite Curiosity
  • Shock the Audience
  • Ask a Question
  • Tell A Story

Use your first slide as a visual and impactful complement to start your presentation.

We have an article all about starting strong with plenty of inspiration. Check it out here – it’ll inspire you to think of new ideas for your presentation.

4 Follow The Outline You Practiced With

If you followed our tip above, you used an outline or a ‘section, pause, section’ technique to practice with. Maybe you even used some mnemonic tools or presenters’ notes. 

It’s time to put them all to use.

As long as you follow what you practiced you’re gold. This tip, as you can see, is a short one. It’s more of a reminder that the rehearsing step is more important than you might think at first. 

Only when you practice and rehearse a lot will you feel more comfortable when you present.

5 Use Props

Are you wondering how to give a good presentation with props? Good, that means you’re thinking creatively. Using props is a technique that not many consider when preparing for a presentation. 

Props can help not only to get the message across but also to serve as emotional support for the speaker! Just make sure it’s obviously a prop and not an emotional crutch.

A prop can be as small as a book, as big as a washing machine, or as weird as a preserved human brain. 

Of course, the prop must make sense with your presentation and topic. Not only that, but you must also practice with it. It’s important to be comfortable with your prop or props as you talk and switch slides. 

Actually, if you use props you might not need slides at all!

To get you inspired, watch this TED talk where Hans Rosling uses a washing machine as his prop.

6 Finish With Confidence

The end of the presentation is just as important as the beginning. You have to bring it all full circle. Knowing how to give a good presentation is like knowing how to structure a story, essay or article. The beginning and end are connected and must be relevant to each other.

For example, if you made a joke at the beginning, make the same joke but with a fun twist. If you made a provocative statement, close it up with a similar statement or question about it.

Closing Statement

Your presentation’s closing statement is a section in itself. Even if you do as we suggest above, the entire closing statement must be a conclusion of what you talked about during the entire presentation.

The last sentence you say will stay in your audience’s memory. At least until the next speaker takes the stage. If someone in your audience noted down your last sentence, you’ve hit the mark 100%.

Q and A Session – Yes or No?

Ending a presentation with a Q and A session is a bit iffy. If you ended your presentation with impact, a Q and A section can fizzle that out.

What you can do is ask the host to let the audience know that if they have questions, they can find you in the lobby for a conversation. For a digital summit, offer your Twitter handle where people can get in touch. 

In the case of webinars or instructional lectures though, Questions and Answers is a great idea. These can help familiarize you with the audience and make them more confident to work with you in the future. 

Consider the purpose of your presentation and make a decision according to what impact you’re looking to make.

Here's a great example of the chat section from Visme's webinars , where viewers make comments and ask questions throughout. In our webinars, we have someone help the presenter by gathering questions and ensuring everyone gets answers.

how to give a good presentation - q&a

7 Use A Storytelling Structure

Moving on to the tips for the creation of your slides.  It’s important to remember the role your slides will play in your presentation. The audience’s attention should be on you, not your slides. These are meant to be complementary, not a crutch, nor even a text to follow.

With that said, this tip is the most important. It applies to your slides AND your spoken speech. They should both follow a storytelling structure that you and the audience will follow together.

Some of the most common storytelling structures are:

  • Fact and Story – Go back and forth between facts and stories, or “what is” and “what could be.”
  • The Explanation – Inform about a process or plan to fix something or to learn something new.
  • The Pitch – Take your audience uphill over a hurdle and onto a positive resolution.
  • The Drama – AKA “The Hero’s Journey,” this follows the plight of a main character from beginning to end.

You can also check out our quick video on how to structure a presentation like the experts to learn even more.

presentation preparing tips

8 Keep Your Slides Short and Visually Balanced

There are two ways to design slides for a good presentation:

  • As a standalone presentation
  • As visual support, while you speak

Either way, you need to keep your slides short in text and visually impactful. For a visual support deck, the slides need even less text than a standalone presentation. 

If that idea worries you, and you have tons of information to share, you can always create a full-fledged informative PDF version of your deck to give your audience, investors or guests.

Here are some important things to remember when designing the slides for your presentation:

  • The flow from start to finish
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Keeping the words to around 6 per slide
  • Visual impact
  • Balanced compositions

The 29 Best Presentation Layout Templates for 2020 [Plus Design Ideas]

9 Use Presentation Templates

Creating presentation slides doesn’t need to be difficult or a stressful affair. When you use a Visme presentation as a foundation, you’re on your way to being an expert on how to give a good presentation. 

To select a presentation template, you can either go for a topic-based template or a style based template. Both have their merits, you just need to figure out what’s easier for you. 

Topic-based templates are fully designed templates with color themes, graphics, images, icons, etc. You’d only have to adjust the content and maybe the colors and graphics. 

Style-based templates are better for those of you that need more freedom in terms of colors and visuals. The Visme slide library is full of layouts organized into categories that you can choose from. 

Presentation Templates

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Ecommerce Webinar Presentation

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Buyer Presentation

presentation preparing tips

PixelGo Marketing Plan Presentation

presentation preparing tips

Product Training Interactive Presentation

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Company Ethics Presentation

presentation preparing tips

Work+Biz Pitch Deck - Presentation

Create your presentation View more templates

10 Learn From Your Mistakes

When the presentation is over and you feel like you just conquered the world, it’s not the end just yet. Celebrate the moment but remember, there will be more presentations in the future. 

If your presentation was filmed, watch the recording. If there was anyone in the audience that you can fully trust to be honest with their feedback, ask them for it. Take mental notes and the next time you’ll be even more prepared.

The secret sauce to know how to give a good presentation is to always keep learning the ways to improve.

11 Keep Yourself Inspired for Future Presentations

When you keep learning, you keep growing. This also applies to the art of giving good presentations. Follow well-known presentation experts like Nancy Duarte and Carmine Gallo. Read their book, their stories and their theories about giving good presentations. 

Watch famous speeches or TED talks to get inspired. Take notes of what you notice in those speeches that you think would suit your personality. You don’t want to copy how other people speak, but you can definitely be inspired!

Bonus: The Visme Presentation Guru Course

To top off your knowledge base for giving good presentations with killer slides, we present you with the Visme Presentation Guru Course .

How to Give a Good Presentation Every Time

As long as you’re prepared, your slides are well-balanced and your speech is rehearsed, you’re ready to give an impactful presentation.

Plus, never underestimate the power of templates! Check out the Visme slide library to visualize the possibilities. Take our presentation course and improve your abilities as a public speaker and slide creator.

Learn how to give a good presentation with all the resources Visme has in store for you. Sign up for a free Visme account today to get started.

Create beautiful presentations faster with Visme.

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About the Author

Orana is a multi-faceted creative. She is a content writer, artist, and designer. She travels the world with her family and is currently in Istanbul. Find out more about her work at oranavelarde.com

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14 effective presentation tips to impress your audience

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Anete Ezera July 15, 2022

An effective presentation can communicate key ideas and opinions, save time, and contribute to your overall success as a business, but good presentation skills don’t come naturally to everyone. In this blog post, you’ll find 14 effective presentation tips you can implement in your next presentation to make it a success. 

Whether you’re preparing for an important presentation at work or school, or you’re looking for ways to generally improve your presentation skills, you’ll find these presentation tips useful. We’ve gathered a list to help you impress your audience from the get-go. You’ll find tips for creating and presenting your slides, talking in front of an audience, and other effective presentation techniques to help you stand out. 

Confident businessman talking into microphone during seminar. Happy male professional is giving presentation to colleagues. He is wearing smart casuals.

Most common presentation mistakes

Before we list our top effective presentation tips, let’s explore the most common presentation mistakes. If you’ve made one or more mistakes in this list, you’re not alone. Most people have made at least one mistake. However, what’s important is to be aware of these errors and try avoiding them next time.

#1 A poor start

One of the most common mistakes people make is undermining the importance of the first few minutes or seconds of their presentation. 

Let’s say you’ve practiced your key talking points meticulously and gone over your slides a million times, but when you’re in the spotlight and need to say your first line, do you know exactly what to say to wow the audience? 

The start of your presentation is crucial. Not only because how you start sets the tone for the rest of your presentation, but also because people generally require around 8 seconds to decide whether they find the subject interesting enough to keep listening. Starting your presentation with a captivating intro is even more important than you think. To ensure you start off right, read our guide on how to start your presentation . 

#2 Lack of preparation

Yes, even though it’s clear that you should prepare before giving a presentation, it’s still a common mistake amongst presenters. Preparing content and talking points is an obvious start, but there are other steps that you might be overlooking.

Before you even join a meeting or walk into a room where you’re going to present, consider the technical requirements and get familiar with the equipment. If you’re presenting online, make sure to test-run your presentation and the visual aids you’re going to use. The last thing you want is a broken video link, poor audio, or a weak connection when you’re presenting. 

Also, consider the questions your audience might want to ask you about the topic. Think about how you’d answer those questions, or do even further research to really impress the audience with your answers. 

Explore other ways to prepare for a presentation to feel even more confident when presenting.

effective presentation tips

#3 Losing track of time

It’s great to feel passionate about your topic. However, you’ll have to consider your audience’s level of interest and knowledge. Some details might seem fascinating to you, and you’d like to talk about them for hours, but for your audience, too much information will drain their energy and lose their attention. 

Therefore, make sure to keep track of time. Also, consider your audience’s interests. A concise presentation is always better than a long one with a ton of information. Plus, you’ll have a higher chance of keeping your audience’s attention throughout the presentation. 

Effective presentation tips

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most common presentation mistakes – let’s dive into effective presentation tips that’ll help you excel in future presentations. 

#1 Tell a story

Stories connect, inspire, and empower people. Telling a story can entice action, help understand an idea, and make people feel connected to the storyteller. It’s also one of the most effective presentation tips. A study by organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found that a well-told story is easier to remember than facts, which makes it a highly effective learning technique. 

With that in mind, telling a story when you’re presenting can engage your audience and make it a more memorable experience. You can either share a personal story or a historical event, just make sure to have a clear connection between the story and the topic you’re presenting. 

effective presentation in a company

#2 Work on your body language

Body language can make a huge difference in how your presentation is perceived. It’s one of the presentation tips you definitely shouldn’t overlook. 

Body language says a lot about a person’s confidence level, emotions, state of mind, and even credibility. For the audience, it’s a way to understand what the person is saying and how interested they are in the topic. 

Therefore, work on your body language to better convey the message you’re trying to communicate. Practice in front of a mirror before your presentation and be conscious of your hand gestures and facial expressions. 

#3 Understand your audience

Before crafting your presentation, you must know who you’re speaking to. Understanding the interests, demographics, professional background, and other valuable information of your audience is crucial in making your speech successful. 

Back view of large group of business peoplein a board room. Someone is presenting in front.

If you’re speaking at an event, contact the organizers to get more information about other speakers and the audience. If you’re presenting at work, you may already know your audience fairly well. Use this information to your advantage and create content you know they’ll resonate with.

#4 Use high-quality visuals

What’s one of the most effective presentation techniques? Use of visuals. They play a crucial role in your presentation. However, only high-quality visuals will make a good impression and effectively communicate your message. Use high-quality visuals like images, videos, graphs, maps, and others to really land your point. 

Using visuals is a great way to convey your ideas as they’re easier to process than text. If you’re not sure where to find great visuals, check out our blog post on presentation visuals for five free resources.

P.S. the Prezi library holds a variety of images, videos, GIFs, stickers, and other visuals, including different charts and maps to spice up your presentation. It’s all available in your dashboard .

#5 Use data visualizations

Do you want to showcase statistics or other datasets in your presentation? Use data visualizations to make your data stand out and impress your audience. 

There’s nothing more boring than a bunch of data presented in a flat way. If you want to tell a story with your data, use interactive infographics or slides enriched with eye-catching visuals. Showcasing data will make your ideas appear more trustworthy and credible. 

Prezi Design offers a range of templates to choose from. You can start creating data visualizations from scratch or choose a template and edit the data there. 

#6 Make it engaging with interactive elements

It’s not easy to deliver an engaging presentation. People can easily get distracted or try to multitask, especially in the virtual environment. Sometimes, it’s difficult to focus on the speaker and the written text. Other times, the content just isn’t impressive enough to hold the audience’s attention. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can make your presentation more engaging for everyone by including interactive content like graphs and charts. With interactive data visualizations, you’ll make the data discovery process more engaging and exciting for your audience. 

Your audience will be able to hover over data points and click on certain icons or datasets to discover information on their own. Interactive visualizations will make the presentation more memorable and impressive. 

As you can see in the example below, you can discover different data by engaging with the infographic. 

#7 Stay consistent with fonts and color styles

You want your presentation to look visually appealing and highlight essential information. To make that happen, stay consistent with font styles and color schemes throughout your presentation. 

Use one or two fonts max to make the text easy to read and understand. Also, use a carefully selected color scheme that’s not too distracting. If you’re using Prezi Design, you can easily copy and paste styles by right-clicking on your data visualizations and selecting “copy styles.” This makes it easier to stay consistent and saves time when picking matching colors. 

#8 Structure your presentation properly

Before creating your presentation, think about its structure. What’s the main idea you want to convey? Use that as your starting point, and only include information that adds value to the narrative. 

Plan out the first topics carefully to properly introduce your argument. Add the essential information in the middle part of your presentation. Lastly, close your presentation with a summary of the main points and leave your audience with an afterthought. Also, plan when you’re taking questions and for how long. 

For more insight, watch this tutorial on how to structure your presentation:

#9 Practice your public speaking skills

Public speaking may not be your forte, but you can get better with practice. Don’t decline a great opportunity to share your ideas with a larger audience just because you feel nervous speaking in front of a group of people. 

One of the best ways to improve your public speaking skills is to practice in front of your family or friends – people you feel comfortable with. Also, focus on the topic you’re presenting and get excited about the idea you want to convey. This way you’ll appear more confident and feel less nervous about public speaking. 

Explore other public speaking tips from Jessica Chen, the founder, and CEO of Soulcast Media: 

#10 Show your slides next to you on-screen

If you’re presenting on Zoom or in a virtual meeting , think twice before you share your screen. The days of hiding behind slides are over. People want to see and connect with other people, not sit through another run-of-the-mill screen share. To do that, use Prezi Video to showcase all your content right next to you in your video feed. 

As a result, your presentation will look more engaging than a traditional virtual presentation . Also, your audience will have the chance to read your body language and follow along with what you’re saying even better. 

If you already have your slides prepared, don’t worry – you can easily integrate them into Prezi. 

See Prezi Video in action and check out our video templates to get started.

#11 Calm down before presenting

Being in front of an audience can feel nerve-racking. However, there are ways to calm down before presenting that will make you feel more centered and confident. The last thing you want is all your hard work to go to waste just because of stress. 

Try breathing exercises or a five-minute guided meditation before presenting. The trick is to remove all distractions and focus on the present moment so you’re not overthinking right before starting your presentation. Also, be fully prepared and know exactly what to say and when which will help you feel more collected. If you want to discover other ways to feel and look more confident, read how not to be nervous before a presentation . 

#12 Use transitions and animations 

Add movement to your slides with transitions and animations. You’ll make your presentation more visually appealing and engaging. However, be careful not to overwhelm your audience with your choice of transitions and animations. 

Choose a transition that matches your presentation visually and use it throughout your presentation. Consider what animations will be relevant to your audience and select a few to add to your slides. Don’t overdo it. Keep the focus on the message you’re trying to convey, and use animations to only support that message. 

#13 Be enthusiastic 

When you’re in a room with a positive and enthusiastic person, you can’t help but feel uplifted as well. High-energy people have this effect on others. Most importantly, a lot of people tend to mimic people’s behavior and mirror their energy when they feel a connection or relate to them. That’s called the chameleon effect . 

effective presentation tips

When you’re presenting, you want your audience to feel curious about what you’re presenting. You may also want to leave your audience feeling uplifted, interested to know more, or inspired. To have that effect on others, try to convey those emotions when presenting. Practice your speech, slow down your narration at times, or take a pause after you’ve delivered a statement, and use different presentation techniques to present your project and really drive your points home. 

#14 End your presentation in a memorable way

The first few minutes of your presentation are crucial for captivating your audience’s attention. However, don’t underestimate the importance of ending your presentation as powerfully as you started it. 

The way you end your presentation will play a crucial part in how your audience will remember it. You want to make a memorable impression by closing your presentation with a summarizing statement, a rhetorical question, a call to action, or another impactful way. Discover 10 ways you can end your presentation in our guide.  

Young woman sharing her views with team in office meeting.

There are a lot of factors to consider when creating and delivering a presentation. You want your slides to look professional and visually appealing while conveying your main points. You also want to look and sound confident even if you’re nervous about public speaking. Whatever your concerns may be, remember that preparation is essential. Practice and dedication are the keys to giving a successful presentation . Make sure to follow these effective presentation tips to excel in your future presentations. If you’re interested in creating a captivating presentation with Prezi, contact us to learn more or try it for free . 

Elevating presentations with Prezi AI

Embrace the innovation of Prezi to bring your presentations to life. With its unique platform, Prezi AI offers more than just visually appealing templates; it provides an immersive narrative experience, engaging your audience with a story-driven approach. By integrating Prezi AI , our platform’s capabilities are further enhanced, offering intelligent design suggestions and optimizing content layouts to ensure your presentations are not only beautiful but impactful. This integration is a perfect example of effective presentation techniques in action, using technology to create a more engaging presentation.

Interactive elements: transforming passive listening into active engagement

Prezi revolutionizes the way information is presented by incorporating interactive elements that invite audience participation. With Prezi AI, these features become even more accessible, suggesting ways to make your presentation more engaging through clickable areas, zoomable images, and dynamic visualizations. This level of interaction encourages exploration, making your message more memorable and transforming a standard presentation into an effective presentation.

Adding a personal touch in digital presentation with video

Prezi Video stands out by seamlessly integrating your content alongside your video feed, bridging the gap between traditional presentations and personal engagement. This feature is crucial for those looking to follow presentation tips that emphasize the importance of connecting with your audience on a more personal level. Prezi AI enhances this experience, ensuring your content is displayed in the most effective way possible, making your virtual presentations feel as though you’re directly conversing with your audience.

Mastering presentation artistry with Prezi

The journey to becoming a skilled presenter involves continuously refining your approach and embracing tools that elevate your ability to communicate effectively. Prezi, enriched with Prezi AI, is one such tool that transforms ordinary presentations into captivating experiences. By leveraging these advanced features, you can deliver presentations that are successful, memorable, and truly unforgettable, embodying the essence of tips for presentation mastery.

Whether you’re an experienced speaker or preparing for your first presentation, Prezi equips you with the tools to succeed. Engage your audience, tell compelling stories, and deliver your message with confidence and creativity. Following effective presentation tips and exploring how Prezi AI can transform your next presentation is a step towards mastering the art of impactful communication. Delve into the features and begin your journey to presentation mastery today.

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How to Give a Killer Presentation

  • Chris Anderson

presentation preparing tips

For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:

  • Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end).
  • Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and over).
  • Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous).
  • Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides).
  • Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic).

According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.

Lessons from TED

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

  • CA Chris Anderson is the curator of TED.

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.css-1qrtm5m{display:block;margin-bottom:8px;text-transform:uppercase;font-size:14px;line-height:1.5714285714285714;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.35px;letter-spacing:-0.35px;font-weight:300;color:#606F7B;}@media (min-width:600px){.css-1qrtm5m{font-size:16px;line-height:1.625;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.5px;letter-spacing:-0.5px;}} Best Practices 5 essential preparation steps for a successful presentation

by Tom Rielly • June 15, 2020

presentation preparing tips

Keeping your presentation visuals minimalistic, simple, and clear is just one important step to remember when designing a hit presentation. Leaving nothing to chance, great presenters prove quite methodical as they prepare. Here’s a checklist for everything you need to keep in mind before your next presentation:

1. Choose the right software for your needs

visualpres blogpost 2 softwares

The easiest way to select the right presentation software for you is to simply find the one that is native to your device. For example, if you have a Mac, use Apple Keynote, if you work on Windows, use PowerPoint. Google Slides is recommended if you’re working with someone, as it makes collaboration very easy. Another software option is Prezi: a specialty tool called Prezi that creates a presentation using motion, zoom, and panning across one giant visual space.

2. Organize your files

As you develop your script and visuals, you will need to start assembling all the assets for your slides. Create a unique folder on your computer to hold these items. Keep the folder organized by media type (presentation drafts, photos, videos, scripts) and back them up frequently to the Cloud or external disk. Label each file with a specific descriptive name, e.g. “Susan Johnson singing magpie 2020”, as opposed to “IMG_4043.jpg”, which can make it confusing to find your assets. The more organized you are up front, the easier preparing for your presentation will be.

3. Prepare your presentation materials

Make sure your presentation materials (script, graphics, actual slides) are saved in at least two safe spots (for example, your computer and an external USB drive) and are backed-up frequently. If you are using an online presentation software, such as Google Slides, be sure to also download a copy of your presentation in case the internet connection is unreliable. Having all the individual assets on hand in addition to your presentation slides can be helpful if you experience tech issues before presenting, or if you need to make any last minute changes. Make sure to label your final presentation with the title and your name so it’s easy to find.

4. Practice, practice, practice!

Remember, practice makes perfect. People often run out of time making their presentations and have no time to practice. Most TED speakers practice at least ten times. Neuroscientist Jill-Bolte Taylor gave one of the most successful Talks in TED history with nearly 27 million views. How did she do it? She practiced her Talk over 40 times! By rehearsing multiple times you will naturally memorize your Talk, which means you won’t need note cards when you give your final presentation.

5. Do a final test run

Before presenting, make sure the equipment you need is working properly. It’s generally good practice to rehearse standing on the exact stage with the exact lighting using the exact computer that you will be using in your final presentation.

Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for when testing your equipment:

  • If you're not using your own computer, the one provided might be slower and have trouble playing media. If you have videos or other media, make sure they play correctly
  • Test the projector to make sure it’s HD
  • Make sure images are clear
  • Test the sound of any clips you use, as this is what goes wrong most frequently
  • If you’re using a mic, test the volume

Don’t let technical issues or other blunders overshadow your presentation. By following these guidelines, and with a little preparation, you can engineer out the problems BEFORE they happen.

Ready to learn more about how to make your presentation even better? Get TED Masterclass and develop your ideas into TED-style talks

© 2024 TED Conferences, LLC. All rights reserved. Please note that the TED Talks Usage policy does not apply to this content and is not subject to our creative commons license.

17 PowerPoint Presentation Tips From Pro Presenters [+ Templates]

Jamie Cartwright

Published: April 26, 2024

PowerPoint presentations can be professional, attractive, and really help your audience remember your message.

powerpoint tricks

If you don’t have much experience, that’s okay — I’m going to arm you with PowerPoint design tips from pro presenters, the steps you need to build an engaging deck, and templates to help you nail great slide design.

→ Free Download: 10 PowerPoint Presentation Templates [Access Now]

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Buckle up for a variety of step-by-step explanations as well as tips and tricks to help you start mastering this program. There are additional resources woven in, and you’ll find expert perspectives from other HubSpotters along the way.

Table of Contents

How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation

Powerpoint presentation tips.

Microsoft PowerPoint is like a test of basic professional skills, and each PowerPoint is basically a presentation made of multiple slides.

Successful PowerPoints depend on three main factors: your command of PowerPoint's design tools, your attention to presentation processes, and being consistent with your style.

Keep those in mind as we jump into PowerPoint's capabilities.

Getting Started

1. open powerpoint and click ‘new.’.

A page with templates will usually open automatically, but if not, go to the top left pane of your screen and click New . If you’ve already created a presentation, select Open and then double-click the icon to open the existing file.

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10 Free PowerPoint Templates

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Creating PowerPoint Slides

3. insert a slide..

Insert a new slide by clicking on the Home tab and then the New Slide button. Consider what content you want to put on the slide, including heading, text, and imagery.

presentation preparing tips

  • Finally, PowerPoint Live is a new tool that enables you to do more seamless presentations during video calls and may be a better overall match for doing presentations remotely. Check out this video:

11. Try Using GIFs.

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12 Free Customizable Resume Templates

Fill out this form to access your free professionally-designed templates, available on:

  • Microsoft Word
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  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Google Slides

15. Embed multimedia.

PowerPoint allows you to either link to video/audio files externally or to embed the media directly in your presentation. For PCs, two great reasons for embedding are:

  • Embedding allows you to play media directly in your presentation. It will look much more professional than switching between windows.
  • Embedding also means that the file stays within the PowerPoint presentation, so it should play normally without extra work (except on a Mac).

If you use PowerPoint for Mac it gets a bit complicated, but it can be done:

  • Always bring the video and/or audio file with you in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation.
  • Only insert video or audio files once the presentation and the containing folder have been saved on a portable drive in their permanent folder.
  • If the presentation will be played on a Windows computer, then Mac users need to make sure their multimedia files are in WMV format.
  • Consider using the same operating system for designing and presenting, no matter what.

16. Bring your own hardware.

Between operating systems, PowerPoint is still a bit jumpy. Even between differing PPT versions, things can change. The easiest fix? Just bring along your own laptop when you're presenting.

The next easiest fix is to upload your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides as a backup option — just make sure there is a good internet connection and a browser available where you plan to present.

Google Slides is a cloud-based presentation software that will show up the same way on all operating systems.

To import your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides:

  • Navigate to slides.google.com . Make sure you’re signed in to a Google account (preferably your own).
  • Under Start a new presentation , click the empty box with a plus sign. This will open up a blank presentation.
  • Go to File , then Import slides .
  • A dialog box will come up. Tap Upload.
  • Click Select a file from your device .
  • Select your presentation and click Open .
  • Select the slides you’d like to import. If you want to import all of them, click All in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box.
  • Click Import slides.

When I tested this out, Google Slides imported everything perfectly, including a shape whose points I had manipulated. This is a good backup option to have if you’ll be presenting across different operating systems.

17. Use Presenter View.

In most presentation situations, there will be both a presenter’s screen and the main projected display for your presentation.

PowerPoint has a great tool called Presenter View, which can be found in the Slide Show tab of PowerPoint. Included in the Presenter View is an area for notes, a timer/clock, and a presentation display.

For many presenters, this tool can help unify their spoken presentation and their visual aid. You never want to make the PowerPoint seem like a stack of notes that you’re reading off of.

Use the Presenter View option to help create a more natural presentation.

Pro Tip: At the start of the presentation, you should also hit CTRL + H to make the cursor disappear. Hitting the “A” key will bring it back if you need it.

Your Next Great PowerPoint Presentation Starts Here

Now that you have these style, design, and presentation tips under your belt, you should feel confident to create your PowerPoint presentation.

But if you can explore other resources to make sure your content hits the mark. After all, you need a strong presentation to land your point and make an impression.

With several templates to choose from — both in PowerPoint and available for free download — you can swiftly be on your way to creating presentations that wow your audiences.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Prepare for a Presentation: The Top Tips and Strategies

Master the art of presentation preparation with our detailed tips and strategies on How to Prepare for a Presentation and make an impact. Whether you're a seasoned presenter or just starting out, this resource is packed with essential tips. Read this blog to get an understanding of how you can conquer nerves and command a room.

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Addressing a large audience? Nervous about needing to present for the first time? You don't have to be! All you need to do is learn How to Prepare for a Presentation! Lucky for you, it is pretty simple, and we are here to help.

Presentations are a fundamental in both personal and professional endeavours. The ability to effectively communicate ideas, engaging audiences and crafting well made presentations is truly a valuable skill. 

Whether you need to deliver a business proposal, share the findings of your research or simply giving a speech, a well-crafted presentation will be your friend in need.

If you are looking to learn How to Prepare for a Presentation, you are in the right place. This blog will share insights with you on the tips and strategies for you to learn How to Prepare for a Good Presentation.

Table of Contents  

1) Tips and Strategies on How to Prepare for a Presentation 

      a) Understand your audience 

      b) Define your objective 

      c) Research and gather information 

      d) Organise your content 

      e) Manage your time

      f) Design visual aids   

      g) Practise and rehearse   

      h) Prepare to engage the audience   

      i) Enhance delivery skills  

      j) Manage nervousness and anxiety

     k)  Take inspiration from professional speakers

     l) Utilise technology

    m) Plan to pace your presentation

    n) Have a backup

2) Conclusion

Tips and strategies on How to Prepare for a Presentation

Explore the tips and strategies recommended below to enhance your ability to present well. Make sure to read till the end as every tip and strategy mentioned is extremely valuable to upgrade your Presentation Skills.  

Tips and strategies on How to Prepare for a Presentation

Understand your audience 

Identifying your target audience in a Presentation is crucial for captivating the attention of your listeners. Think about their age characteristics, interests, and previous knowledge concerning the subject. If you have information about your readers’ habits and preferences, you can target them very easily. Understanding your audience involves:

a) Identifying audience demographics: Think about age, sex, degrees, and work history. It will allow you to identify the right kind of tone, the level of technical information and examples for your Presentation.

b) Assessing audience interests: Find out what are the preferences and interests your audience. Do they prefer statistical data or are they attracted to stories and examples? This can help you connect with your audience on a different and deeper level to maintain their attention.

c) Adapting to their knowledge level: Determine how much information the audience already knows. Are they not beginners, intermediate or advanced users? This is useful so that you do not confuse them with complicated ideas or bore them with simple concepts. Adjust your content to their level of knowledge and ability, while still offering value to them.

Define your objective 

It is very important to clarify your goal/intention when developing a Presentation as it contributes to addressing the issue at hand. undefined

a) Set specific goals: Determine the goal that you wish to attain through the Presentation. Does the purpose of a text serve to educate, persuade, or motivate a reader? Objectives will assist you to organise your content and also with the objectives in mind you will be able to direct your delivery to the desired result.

b) Decide on the main message: Determine the central idea or main point of your communication. What message about your product do you want them to take away? This is the main message that you will be using to carry the Presentation and it will help you keep a sense of focus throughout the Presentation.

c) Align objectives with audience needs: How does your audience contribute to the realisation of your objectives? What value will they derived out of your Presentation? You can achieve this by ensuring your plans and expectations meet their needs to improve their participation or help you make a difference.

Research and gather information 

How to Prepare for a Presentation step is to make a lot of research. Good preparation of the presentation also involves finding and collecting necessary information. You may also refer to different Presentation Skills interview questions and answers in order to boost your confidence and to enhance the Presentation Skills. To conduct effective research, you need to cater to the following aspects:

a) Explore diverse sources: Refer strictly to books, journals, websites, and online resources from reliable and respectable sources. Make sure that the material that you are collecting is accurate, current, and appropriate to the subject at hand.

b) Collect data, facts, and examples: Make sure your strong arguments are backed up by evidence. This proof can help enhance your arguments, increase credibility, and deliver crucial insights to your audience. Statistics, case studies, stories, and quotes by experts can be used to add value to your content.

c) Take notes and organise information: When conducting your research remember to write notes that contain important information and key points. Use to categorise your notes by themes, subtopics, and the Presentation structure. This will help you later when you have to structure your work.  

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Organise your content 

In order to facilitate the understanding process by the audience, it is crucial to structure the content of a Presentation in a way that it is logical and easy to follow. Effective organisation involves:

a) Creating a logical structure: Plan to organise the information in a clear outline or structure for the Presentation. Open the presentation with an opening that captures attention then move on to section or chapter titles with the main ideas. Finish with a final point or last sentence that ties back to your point.

b) Using headings and subheadings: Subdivide your content into subsections using header levels. These are like road signs that take you along different paths when you want to read different issues or concepts. Headings also makes the task of referring back to a particular section of your speech easy for your audience.

c) Ensuring smooth transitions: Transition will be done by introducing new ideas or concepts from one section to the other. Avoid leaving your Presentation disconnected with the sole use of nouns to connect ideas. This enables your audience to have coherence of your thoughts and avoids unnatural jumps in the argumentation process.

Manage your time  

Keeping track of the time is very important while delivering a presentation. You are only allowed to hold your audience for an allotted time frame, and you need to make sure you get your message across. You can manage your time better by:

a) Wear your watch: It is recommended to wear a watch for all formal gatherings to keep track of time, or in case an attractive individual asks you the time. Check your watch from time to time to be sure you're on track with the time frame.

b) Keep it short: Make sure your presentation is short and effective and not unnecessarily long and confusing. The longer you take to explain the lesser time you have left. 

c) Plan your presentation in phases: Divide you presentation in phases and allot certain amount of time to each section. Practice delivering the presentation in that pace. This will help you be aware if you are on track or not. 

Design visual aids 

Visual aids can enhance the impact and understanding of your Presentation. Consider the following when designing visual aids: 

a) Choose appropriate visuals: Select visual elements that support and reinforce your content. This could include charts, graphs, images, videos, or infographics. Ensure that the visuals are relevant, high-quality, and easy to understand. 

b) Simplify complex information: Visual aids are particularly effective in simplifying complex information. Use visuals to present data, comparisons, or processes in a visually appealing format. This helps your audience grasp complex concepts more readily. 

c) Balance visuals and text: Find the right balance between visuals and text. Avoid overcrowding slides with excessive text, which can overwhelm and distract your audience. Use concise bullet points or keywords to complement the visuals and aid in comprehension. 

Practise and rehearse 

Practise and rehearsal are essential for delivering a confident and polished Presentation. Consider the following when practising: 

a) Rehearse your content: Familiarise yourself with the content and flow of your Presentation. Practise delivering each section, ensuring a smooth transition between ideas. Pay attention to your pacing, articulation, and clarity of speech. 

b) Time your Presentation: Practise timing your Presentation to ensure it fits within the allocated time. This helps you avoid rushing through important points or exceeding the time limit. Adjust your delivery as necessary to ensure a well-paced Presentation. 

c) Seek feedback and refine: Seek feedback from trusted individuals who can provide constructive criticism. Incorporate their suggestions to refine your delivery, eliminate unnecessary filler words, and enhance the overall impact of your Presentation. 

Unlock your full potential as a Presenter with our Presentation Skills Training – join now!

Prepare to engage the audience 

Engaging your audience throughout the Presentation helps maintain their interest and active participation. Consider these strategies and Elements of Presentation to engage your audience effectively: It is also important to understand various elements of presentations. Consider these strategies to engage your audience effectively: 

a) Interactive elements: Incorporate interactive elements such as rhetorical questions, quizzes, or brief activities to encourage audience participation. This stimulates their thinking and keeps them actively engaged in the Presentation. 

b) Address audience concerns: Actively listen to your audience and address their queries or concerns promptly. Encourage questions and create a safe environment for open discussion. This demonstrates your expertise and builds rapport with your audience. 

c) Tell stories and anecdotes: Use relevant stories, anecdotes, or case studies to illustrate your points and captivate your audience. Stories have a powerful impact and make your content more relatable and memorable. 

Enhance delivery skills 

Enhancing your delivery skills is essential for creating an engaging and impactful Presentation. Consider the following to improve your delivery skills:

a) Body language: Pay attention to your body language and use it to convey confidence and authority. Maintain good posture, make purposeful gestures, and establish eye contact with your audience. This non-verbal cue enhances your message. 

b) Tone of voice and pace: Master your tone of voice and adjust it to emphasise key points or create a sense of urgency. Vary your pace to maintain interest and add emphasis where needed. Use pauses effectively to allow important information to sink in. 

c) Use visual aids as support: Visual aids should complement your delivery, not overshadow it. Use them as support to enhance your message rather than relying on them completely. Maintain a balance between your verbal delivery and the visuals. 

Manage nervousness and anxiety 

Managing nervousness and anxiety is crucial for delivering a confident Presentation. Consider the following strategies: 

a) Preparation and practice: Thorough preparation and practice build confidence and reduce anxiety. The more familiar you are with your content, the more at ease you will feel during the Presentation. 

b) Deep breathing and relaxation techniques: Before as well as during the Presentation, practice deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to calm your nerves. Focus on slow, deep breaths to regulate your heart rate and promote a sense of calm. 

c) Be early: It is a good idea to be early for your Presentation. This will give you more time to get ready to set up your equipment. When you reach early at the venue, you get plenty of time to work on the finer details of your Presentation.  

d) Visualise success: Visualise yourself delivering a successful Presentation. Imagine the positive outcomes and the impact you will have on your audience. Visualising success helps boost your confidence and reduces anxiety. 

Take inspiration from professional speakers

 A great way to improve your Presentation Skills is to observe other great speakers. Watch videos or attend public speaking workshops to improve you Public Speaking skills.

a) Take notes: when you see a speaker do something you admire, note it down. Taking notes is a great way to retain information. These notes will come in handy while you work on your own presentation. 

b) Pick the right speakers: Pick out the speakers that would inspire you and ones’ that you can resonate with. This will help you connect with the people that inspire you at a human level. This is important as it helps makes your goals seem more and more realistic.

c) Pay attention to tonality: You can learn a lot from a speaker if you observe well enough. Pay attention to the tones the speaker uses while addressing the crowd and try to identify the intent behind every change in tone. 

Utilise technology 

Utilising technology can enhance the effectiveness of your Presentation. Consider the following when incorporating technology: 

a) Choose appropriate tool s: Select Presentation software or tools that suit your needs and style. Familiarise yourself with their features and functionalities, such as slide transitions, animations, or multimedia integration.  

b) Prepare for technical issues: Anticipate potential technical issues and have contingency plans in place. Ensure you have backup files saved on different devices or formats, and familiarise yourself with troubleshooting techniques in case of technical difficulties.  

c) Integrate technology seamlessly: Use technology to enhance your Presentation, not distract from it. Ensure that the technology supports your message and engages your audience effectively. Practice using the technology beforehand to ensure seamless integration into your Presentation. 

Take your Presentations to the next level with our Presenting With Impact Training . 

Plan to pace your Presentation  

Pacing your Presentation effectively ensures that you maintain the interest and engagement of your audience throughout. Consider the following when planning the pace of your Presentation: 

a) Set a realistic timeframe: Determine the allocated time for your Presentation and plan your content accordingly. Be mindful of the time constraints and ensure that your Presentation fits within the given timeframe. Avoid overloading your Presentation with excessive information, which can result in rushing through key points or running out of time. 

b) Structure your content with timing in mind: Divide your Presentation into sections or key points and assign a specific amount of time to each of them. This helps you allocate your time effectively and ensures that you cover all the essential aspects without rushing or dragging on. 

c) Practise timing during rehearsals: Practise your Presentation multiple times while keeping an eye on the clock. Use a stopwatch or timer to simulate the actual Presentation conditions. This allows you to gauge how long each section takes and make adjustments as needed to maintain a smooth and well-paced delivery. 

d) Allow time for interaction and engagement: Incorporate interactive elements, such as questions, discussions, or activities, throughout your Presentation. Plan for these moments by allocating specific time slots. This not only breaks up the monotony but also encourages audience participation and keeps their attention focused. 

e) Be aware of audience cues: Pay attention to the reactions and engagement levels of your audience during the Presentation. Adjust your pace accordingly. If you notice signs of confusion or disinterest, you may need to slow down, provide more context, or clarify certain points. On the other hand, if you see that your audience is highly engaged and responsive, you can maintain a slightly faster pace to keep the energy up. 

f) Use silence effectively: Don't be afraid to use silence as a powerful tool. A well-timed pause can create a solid emotional impact. It lets people really listen to what you are saying and respond in turn.it is essential to pause if you are using humour so that people don't miss the next part of your Presentation while they are laughing. 

g) Practise smooth transitions: Smooth transitions between sections or ideas are crucial for maintaining a good pace. Avoid abrupt jumps or awkward pauses. Practise transitioning between different topics or slides, ensuring that the flow between ideas feels natural and seamless. 

Have a backup  

While you present, the chances of things going south are slim but never nil. It is a good practice to take into account any mishap that may occur and take precautionary measures. Here is a few ways you can be prepared to do damage control:

a) Have a spare copy of your presentation: while it is good practice to send in your presentation before hand by email, it is wise to have a backup copy in a pen drive or a hard disk. This ensures that if the file wont’ open you have a backup option.

b) Carry props: while you can use it alongside your presentation, in case the visual aid of your presentation malfunctions, the show must go on. You can use props to demonstrate the message you wish to get across to retain the audience's attention.

c) Prepare a reference document and make copies: Hand out the reference document of all the topic the presentation covers so if a member of the audience has a hard time following through the can refer to the document for clarification. 

Conclusion 

This blog emphasised on every detail of How to Prepare for a Presentation. The importance of understanding your audience and the clarity one must have in their presentation. Remember to engage your audience, enhance your delivery skills, manage nervousness, utilise technology wisely, and handle Q&A sessions with confidence. Hope we could provide you with all the information you needed to know about How to Prepare for a Presentation!   

Want to master the art of Presentations? Explore our Presentation Skills Courses and elevate your communication prowess!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unprepared for a presentation, you are likely to make errors in your delivery, that may end up conveying the wrong message. Besides, it is considered very unprofessional to not prepare for a Presentation.

The 5/5/5 rule is that your presentation should have 5 slides that convey your message, each slide with 5 lines that consist of 5 words in each line. This helps keep the presentation short and simple.

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The Knowledge Academy’s Knowledge Pass , a prepaid voucher, adds another layer of flexibility, allowing course bookings over a 12-month period. Join us on a journey where education knows no bounds. 

The Knowledge Academy offers various Presentation Skills Training , including the Presentation Skills Training, Presenting with Impact Training, and Business Writing Course. These courses cater to different skill levels, providing comprehensive insights into Key Elements of Presentation . 

Our Business Skills Blogs cover a range of topics related to Presentation, offering valuable resources, best practices, and industry insights. Whether you are a beginner or looking to advance your Presentation Skills, The Knowledge Academy's diverse courses and informative blogs have got you covered.  

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How to Prepare for a Presentation, with Examples

February 15, 2021 - Dom Barnard

This guide covers everything you need to know to prepare for your presentation. including what you need to think about beforehand, during and after the presentation.

1. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse (always aloud)

Once you have your presentation worked out, you will need to practice it, but even though you might think it’s the best way to have a flawless presentation, don’t memorise what you’re going to say.

That might sound like incredibly bad advice, but here’s why:

  • If you memorise your speech, you’ll get stuck in thinking you can only deliver your ideas in that way, and that stifles your creativity, and the chance for new thoughts and ways to put things that come up as you speak.

Not only that, but every  audience is different . Sometimes they laugh out loud, sometimes they sit and smile, and you never know which type of audience you’ll have until you’re live.

Practice Presentation Skills

Improve your public speaking and presentation skills by practicing them in realistic environments, with automated feedback on performance. Learn More

If you’re going off a memorised presentation, it’s much more difficult to break away from that to go with the flow on the day, and respond naturally to your audience.

  • If you forget your speech in the middle of it, you will be thrown, and you’ll have more chance of complete brain freeze, which really will knock your confidence.
  • Memorising your presentation gives you a false sense of security, which could leave you high and dry if something goes wrong. If you’ve only got your memorised speech, for example, what will you do if your PowerPoint freezes or your props break, and you can’t do what you were going to do?

Rehearse in front of colleagues, friends, a mirror, in virtual reality – always aloud. Make sure you spend plenty of time practising your presentation, it will make you feel much more relaxed if you know your material.

Courses where you can rehearse with interactive exercises:

  • Essential Public Speaking
  • How to Present over Video

Video showing how you can prepare for your presentation using virtual reality.  Learn more about virtual reality training .

2. Memorise your opening line

Do, however, memorise your opening line. If you know how you’re going to begin, you’ll get a strong start and that will build your confidence.

Many speakers and stage actors find that the minute they’ve actually delivered their first line, the nerves are gone and they’re well into their stride.

3. Practise your speech from written notes

Writing your presentation out in your own handwriting will help you clarify your ideas and may well bring you new ones.

  • How to Write a Speech to Engage your Audience

4. Practise presentation flow

As well as practising for the ideas and what you want to say, practise how you want your presentation to flow. Think of it almost as a symphony, with high points, slow movements and crescendos. If it’s important, think about how you want your audience to feel, what emotions you want them to have, and when.

5. The power of silence

Don’t be afraid to pause and use the power of silence. A good pause can have a huge emotional impact. It allows people to really absorb what you are saying and react, and it’s vital to pause if you’re using humour so that the next part of your presentation doesn’t get lost underneath people’s laughter.

For more on the ‘Power of the Pause’, watch this short from video Brian Tracy:  The Power of the Pause

  • 10 Effective Ways to use Pauses in your Speech

6. Have a backup

There’s nothing worse than the projector dying or finding that your laptop won’t communicate with the projector for some reason. If you know you have a backup, even if it’s only a pre-prepared flip chart, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be more confident.

7. Arrive early

Following on from that, arrive at least half an hour early so you aren’t feeling rushed, and so you have time to check your equipment and get your notes laid out ready to go. That gives you time to breathe and relax before you go on, knowing everything is as set as it can be.

8. Use physical props for a demo

Use physical props, if possible, for a demo. This can make you stand out and be more memorable among all the other speakers who only use PowerPoint, and it can add greatly to the impact of your presentation.

Video showing an example of using physical props during a live demo.

9. Structure your presentation

First, find out how much time you have to present, is it 10 minutes, 15, an hour? Prepare enough material for this time and have a couple of extra slides as backup – we tend to speak much quicker when nervous so you might find you finish your presentation too early. At some large conference events, timings may change on the day, be aware of this have a shorter version of your presentation in mind (i.e. know which slides to skip over).

  • How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples
  • Examples of Corporate Presentation Structures

10. Prepare for questions

Have a few backup slides for questions you think will arise from your presentation. It is sometime a tactic to explain a section briefly in your speech, so that you get a question about it afterwards. If you don’t understand the question, ask for it to be rephrased.

If there are no questions, it is not an indication how good or bad your presentation was. You many have explain your material extremely well, or simply that people are tired at the end of the day and want to go home.

  • Guide for Handling Questions after a Presentation

11. Prepare for where you are presenting

If you can, go to the room you are speaking in before the actual event. It gives you an idea of furniture layout, podium height, location, room size, audience size and lighting. You can then visualise the room while practising and avoid the shock of suddenly being faced with a huge room when you expected a tiny one.

Ask the organiser if you need any particular props, for example a table to help with your live demo.

Additional planning to think about before your presentation:

1. Purpose  – what outcome are we trying to achieve? How can results be measured? What will success look like?

2. Topic  – Novelty? Complexity? Technical?

3. People  – Who should attend? What do they already know? How are they going to help?

4. Timing  – When will it happen and how long will the presentation take?

5. Location  – Where will the presentation be held? Do you have access to the correct facilities for the presentation?

6. Papers  – Who is keeping minutes? Do you need to send out an agenda before the presentation? Background information required?

7. Visual aids  – Is a  projector required ? Boards?

8. Style  – Structure or unstructured, discussion style? How assertive should you be? How should the meeting items be organised?

12. Choose the signals to give to your audience

Before the presentation, think about these 5 topics:

  • Eye contact
  • Facial gestures
  • Body language

Decide how you will use each of these to reinforce your message. Use the table below for help.

PassiveAggressiveAssertive
Flat, monotonous, trails off, shaky, hesitant.Sharp, cold, loud, shouts, abrupt, clipped, fast.Controlled, firm, warm, rich, clear, even, loud.
Ers and ums, jerky, too slow, too fast.Fast, emphatic, blameful, abrupt, erratic, hurried.Steady and controlled, changes easily.
Evasive, looking down, darting, low eye contact.Stares and glaring, dominating, fixed gaze, threatening.Firm not fixed, natural and relaxed.
Fixed smile, apology facial gestures, blinking, blushing, chewing lip.Set face, few smiles, clenched jaw, frowning, chin forward, lips tight, gritted teeth.Open, varied and congruent expressions, calm, jaw relaxed, few blinks, smiles.
Hunched, hand over mouth, arms crossed, head down, slumping, legs crossed, stands awkwardly, soft handshake.Thumping, clenched fists, pointing, pacing, leaning forward, sharp and rapid movements, crushing handshake.Open hand and arm movements, head upright, calm, emphatic gestures, relaxed, head nodding to show attention, firm handshake.

Additional courses to help you prepare for your presentation:

  • Presentation Skills Training Courses

Example from Steve Jobs

Think about these 10 techniques while you are preparing your presentation..

10 presentation techniques Steve Jobs used

  • Planning in Analog.  Tell a story, create stunning visuals and videos to complement video, use demonstrations and other speakers, keep the audience engaged.
  • Creating a Twitter-Friendly Description  Single description sentence, condensed his message into 140 characters.
  • Introduce the Enemy  Story needs villains or a problem to be solved. Jobs highlighted IBM and useless mobile phones (during iPhone release) as his villains.
  • Focusing on Benefits  Keep reinforcing the benefits of your product, create top 10 lists, understand this is what customers care about.
  • Sticking to Rule of Three  Classic Literary technique, things are best remembered and reinforced in threes. Read this article on  Literary Techniques  for more detail.
  • Sell Dreams, Not Products  Create a vision people believe in, create a vision which will make people’s lives better
  • Create Visual Slides  Use as few words as possible and use colourful graphics on the slide to highlight points.
  • Make Numbers Meaningful  Compare large numbers to things people understand.
  • Use Plain English  Use easy to say and easy to remember words, keep it simple.
  • Large Reveals  Due to Apple secrecy, Jobs was able to deliver unexpected products to the world at his product launches.

How-To Geek

8 tips to make the best powerpoint presentations.

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Nanoleaf's Smart Lamp Practicality Is Burdened by Its Price

Can’t find a file you’ve moved on linux the culprit might be slash, i can tell you these 3 quest games are worth spending hours in vr, quick links, table of contents, start with a goal, less is more, consider your typeface, make bullet points count, limit the use of transitions, skip text where possible, think in color, take a look from the top down, bonus: start with templates.

Slideshows are an intuitive way to share complex ideas with an audience, although they're dull and frustrating when poorly executed. Here are some tips to make your Microsoft PowerPoint presentations sing while avoiding common pitfalls.

define a goal

It all starts with identifying what we're trying to achieve with the presentation. Is it informative, a showcase of data in an easy-to-understand medium? Or is it more of a pitch, something meant to persuade and convince an audience and lead them to a particular outcome?

It's here where the majority of these presentations go wrong with the inability to identify the talking points that best support our goal. Always start with a goal in mind: to entertain, to inform, or to share data in a way that's easy to understand. Use facts, figures, and images to support your conclusion while keeping structure in mind (Where are we now and where are we going?).

I've found that it's helpful to start with the ending. Once I know how to end a presentation, I know how best to get to that point. I start by identifying the takeaway---that one nugget that I want to implant before thanking everyone for their time---and I work in reverse to figure out how best to get there.

Your mileage, of course, may vary. But it's always going to be a good idea to put in the time in the beginning stages so that you aren't reworking large portions of the presentation later. And that starts with a defined goal.

avoid walls of text

A slideshow isn't supposed to include everything. It's an introduction to a topic, one that we can elaborate on with speech. Anything unnecessary is a distraction. It makes the presentation less visually appealing and less interesting, and it makes you look bad as a presenter.

This goes for text as well as images. There's nothing worse, in fact, than a series of slides where the presenter just reads them as they appear. Your audience is capable of reading, and chances are they'll be done with the slide, and browsing Reddit, long before you finish. Avoid putting the literal text on the screen, and your audience will thank you.

Related: How to Burn Your PowerPoint to DVD

use better fonts

Right off the bat, we're just going to come out and say that Papyrus and Comic Sans should be banned from all PowerPoint presentations, permanently. Beyond that, it's worth considering the typeface you're using and what it's saying about you, the presenter, and the presentation itself.

Consider choosing readability over aesthetics, and avoid fancy fonts that could prove to be more of a distraction than anything else. A good presentation needs two fonts: a serif and sans-serif. Use one for the headlines and one for body text, lists, and the like. Keep it simple. Veranda, Helvetica, Arial, and even Times New Roman are safe choices. Stick with the classics and it's hard to botch this one too badly.

use fewer bullets

There reaches a point where bullet points become less of a visual aid and more of a visual examination.

Bullet points should support the speaker, not overwhelm his audience. The best slides have little or no text at all, in fact. As a presenter, it's our job to talk through complex issues, but that doesn't mean that we need to highlight every talking point.

Instead, think about how you can break up large lists into three or four bullet points. Carefully consider whether you need to use more bullet points, or if you can combine multiple topics into a single point instead. And if you can't, remember that there's no one limiting the number of slides you can have in a presentation. It's always possible to break a list of 12 points down into three pages of four points each.

avoid transitions

Animation, when used correctly, is a good idea. It breaks up slow-moving parts of a presentation and adds action to elements that require it. But it should be used judiciously.

Adding a transition that wipes left to right between every slide or that animates each bullet point in a list, for example, starts to grow taxing on those forced to endure the presentation. Viewers get bored quickly, and animations that are meant to highlight specific elements quickly become taxing.

That's not to say that you can't use animations and transitions, just that you need to pick your spots. Aim for no more than a handful of these transitions for each presentation. And use them in spots where they'll add to the demonstration, not detract from it.

use visuals

Sometimes images tell a better story than text can. And as a presenter, your goal is to describe points in detail without making users do a lot of reading. In these cases, a well-designed visual, like a chart, might better convey the information you're trying to share.

The right image adds visual appeal and serves to break up longer, text-heavy sections of the presentation---but only if you're using the right images. A single high-quality image can make all the difference between a success and a dud when you're driving a specific point home.

When considering text, don't think solely in terms of bullet points and paragraphs. Tables, for example, are often unnecessary. Ask yourself whether you could present the same data in a bar or line chart instead.

find a color palette

Color is interesting. It evokes certain feelings and adds visual appeal to your presentation as a whole. Studies show that color also improves interest, comprehension, and retention. It should be a careful consideration, not an afterthought.

You don't have to be a graphic designer to use color well in a presentation. What I do is look for palettes I like, and then find ways to use them in the presentation. There are a number of tools for this, like Adobe Color , Coolors , and ColorHunt , just to name a few. After finding a palette you enjoy, consider how it works with the presentation you're about to give. Pastels, for example, evoke feelings of freedom and light, so they probably aren't the best choice when you're presenting quarterly earnings that missed the mark.

It's also worth mentioning that you don't need to use every color in the palette. Often, you can get by with just two or three, though you should really think through how they all work together and how readable they'll be when layered. A simple rule of thumb here is that contrast is your friend. Dark colors work well on light backgrounds, and light colors work best on dark backgrounds.

change views

Spend some time in the Slide Sorter before you finish your presentation. By clicking the four squares at the bottom left of the presentation, you can take a look at multiple slides at once and consider how each works together. Alternatively, you can click "View" on the ribbon and select "Slide Sorter."

Are you presenting too much text at once? Move an image in. Could a series of slides benefit from a chart or summary before you move on to another point?

It's here that we have the opportunity to view the presentation from beyond the single-slide viewpoint and think in terms of how each slide fits, or if it fits at all. From this view, you can rearrange slides, add additional ones, or delete them entirely if you find that they don't advance the presentation.

The difference between a good presentation and a bad one is really all about preparation and execution. Those that respect the process and plan carefully---not only the presentation as a whole, but each slide within it---are the ones who will succeed.

This brings me to my last (half) point: When in doubt, just buy a template and use it. You can find these all over the web, though Creative Market and GraphicRiver are probably the two most popular marketplaces for this kind of thing. Not all of us are blessed with the skills needed to design and deliver an effective presentation. And while a pre-made PowerPoint template isn't going to make you a better presenter, it will ease the anxiety of creating a visually appealing slide deck.

  • Microsoft Office

More From Forbes

Best practices for virtual presentations: 15 expert tips that work for everyone.

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In today’s COVID-19 world, virtual meetings and presentations have become the norm. While many presentation skills and best practices apply to both in-person and virtual presentations, expert virtual presenters understand the importance of adjusting their approach to match the medium. With in-person presentations, you more or less have a captive audience — you still need be engaging, but your audience is kind of stuck with you for the duration. But with virtual presentations, your audience has a greater opportunity to stray. You now have to compete for their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds against diminished attention spans, increased home and work life distractions, and conflicting priorities. 

Here are 15 expert tips to set you up for success in your next virtual presentation:

1.     Get the Lighting Right:  As a presenter, it is essential that people can see you well. Make sure you have good front light—meaning the light shines brightly on your face. If your back is to a window, close the shades. While natural light is often the best choice, if your home office doesn’t have natural light and you do a lot of virtual presentations, consider purchasing supplemental lighting to enhance your image.

2.     Choose the Right Background:  Try to use a background that enhances your professional image and is aligned with your message. Avoid a cluttered background or anything that can be distracting. Learn whether your presentation platform enables you to use virtual backgrounds (like Zoom) or whether you can blur your background (like Microsoft Teams). Your background can either add to your professional presence or detract from it.

3.     Know the Technology:  Nothing kills a presentation faster than a presenter who fumbles with the technology. This is a performance, so make sure you know how to make it work. A dry run is essential so that you’re comfortable with the platform features. It’s best to have a co-host (or producer or moderator) assist you with the technology so that you can focus on your presentation. Make sure you practice with the same technical set up (computer and internet connection) that you will use when you deliver the presentation.

4.     Play to the Camera:  When you are the one speaking, look directly into your computer’s camera , not on the screen or at the other participants. This takes some practice, but it makes the viewer feel as if you are looking right at them. Some presenters turn off their self-view so that they aren’t distracted by their own image. Put the camera at eye level . Try not to have your camera too far above or below you. If it’s too low, then you run the risk of creating a double chin. A camera too high makes it difficult to maintain eye contact, as you may find your gaze dropping as you speak. If you are part of a panel or a team of presenters, make sure you are aware of when your camera is on. If you are not speaking but your camera is on, make sure you look like you are paying attention! Powerful presenters understand the importance of making eye contact with their audience, so this means you have to simulate the same effect virtually.

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5.     Get Close (But Not Too Close).  You want the camera to frame your face, neck, and shoulders. People are drawn to faces, so you don’t want to lose that connection by being too far away, but you also don’t want your face to take over the whole screen like a dismembered head because, well, that looks weird. Practice your positioning and distance.

6.     Stand Up:  If possible, use a standing desk or position your laptop so you can stand at eye level with your computer. Standing up provides a higher energy level and forces us to put our body in a more presentation-like mode. If you have to sit, lean forward as you would if you were presenting at a real meeting or as if you were a TV news anchor. Avoid slouching away from the camera, as that sends a signal that you are disconnected from the audience.

7.     Be Animated:  Just like in a live presentation, you want to present with a little energy and animation. Too slow or too monotone in your voice makes it easy for folks to disengage and tune out. Keeping people engaged virtually requires you to actually be engaging.

8.     Pace Yourself:  Without real-time visual audience feedback cues, getting the pacing right can be difficult. Even though you want to infuse some animation and energy into your presentation don’t pump up the speed too much. If you tend to be a fast talker in real life, practice slowing down just a bit. If you’re a slow talker, you may want to speed up just a bit.

9.     Do A Sound Check:  If your sound is garbled, people will tune out. While people may forgive less than perfect video, if they can’t clearly hear you, they will leave. Practice with someone on the other end of the presentation platform. Make sure your sound emits clearly. Sometimes headphones or external microphones work better than the computer audio, sometimes not. Every platform is different, so make sure your sound quality is excellent every time. And again, you should practice with the same technical configurations and location that you will use for your presentation.

10.  Plug into Your Modem:  If possible, plug your computer directly into your modem using an Ethernet cable. This will give you the strongest signal and most stable internet connection. The last thing you want to happen during your presentation is to have a weak or unstable internet signal.

11.  Incorporate Redundant Systems.  If using slides, make sure someone else (another webinar co-host or producer) also has a copy of the slides just in case your internet goes wonky and you have to present by calling in. If you are using slides, make them visually appealing. Use high-quality graphics and limit the amount of text on each slide. It’s your job as presenter to deliver the content. The slides are meant to enhance your spoken words, not replace them.

12.  Engage Your Participants. Just as if you were doing an in-person presentation, craft your presentation to engage the audience. Incorporate chats, polls, raised hand features, etc. Try not to speak for more than ten minutes without some sort of audience engagement. Use the participant list to interact with your participants by name. Have people chat or raise a hand if they want to speak. Keep track of the order of people and then call on them to invite them to turn on their mics or cameras. 

13.  Let Someone Else Check the Chats.  Don’t get sidetracked by the chats during your presentation. You’ll be shocked at how distracting it is to your train of thought if you attempt to read the chats while speaking. Instead, have your co-host or producer monitor the chats. If you ask people to chat you answers or comments to a question you’ve posed, then pause your talking and engage directly with the chats by acknowledging them, reading them out loud, and commenting on them. 

14.  Evaluate and Enhance:  If possible, record the session and take the time to play back and look for areas that worked well and areas that you might want to improve upon. Great presenters, whether virtual or in person, understand the value of continually honing their craft. Be sure to acknowledge your strengths as well as your areas of improvement.

15.  Be Yourself and Have Fun:  Again, just like in face-to-face presentations, audiences connect to authenticity, so be yourself! Let your personality show through. Have fun. If you look like you’re enjoying the presentation so will others. Research shows that happy people retain information better than bored or disinterested people, so model the energy that you want to create. The audience takes its cue from you.

Remember, whether you are presenting in-person or virtually, all presentations are performances. And all performances are in service to your audience. Their time is valuable, so honor that time by delivering the best presentation you can. No matter what kind of presentation you are giving, you must find ways to create authentic audience connection, engagement, and value.

Mary Abbajay

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How to live without plastics for a month, according to the founder of a global movement

Claire Murashima

WEEK OF NO PLASTIC 1

Some reusuable items that can help reduce the use of single-use plastics.

Some of the reusable items to avoid single use plastics. Zayrha Rodriguez/NPR hide caption

What would a month without buying any new single-use plastic products look like?

It’s a tall order for many Americans, who go through about five pounds of plastic a week, according to Oxford University’s Our World In Data . Most of that plastic will end up in a landfill and take anywhere from 20 years to centuries to decompose.

This level of plastic waste inspired the Plastic Free July movement, which aims to engage individuals to reduce single-use plastic consumption as well as push for systemic change.

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz founded the movement in 2011 after touring a local recycling facility in Western Australia. Seeing the mountain of plastic her town generated made her understand the need to create less of it in the first place. The following month, she and her coworkers cut single-use plastics from their lives. Millions have undertaken the same challenge in the years since.

The Myth of Plastic Recycling

The Myth of Plastic Recycling

Going plastic-free made Prince-Ruiz build new habits in little ways she hadn’t anticipated. Sitting down to drink coffee at a cafe rather than downing it from a plastic cup while commuting made her more mindful. Making garlic bread from scratch instead of buying a frozen bag became a way to spend time with her son.

“I think plastic, in some ways, is a symbol of how busy we've become; of the throwaway society that we've become,” Prince-Ruiz said.

So how can someone prepare for a plastic-free July?

Prince-Ruiz recommends carrying a “plastic-free kit” with you in your work bag, gym bag, car or bike for leftovers or fast food.

For people doing Plastic Free July for the first time, Prince-Ruiz recommends not trying to change everything all at once.

“Use what you have, do what you can, don't focus on what you can't,” she said.

The changes that stick are the ones that work well with your current lifestyle, which is why doing too much too fast can lead to burnout.

Prince-Ruiz also recommends doing the challenge with friends.

She says that a good place to start is looking in your trash can, refrigerator and pantry to review the types of waste you’re creating — and looking for alternatives from there.

An example of a food kit to take to avoid single used plastic at restuarants

What’s in my kit? A food storage container, reusable silicone bag and silverware for takeout and fast-casual restaurants, a straw, water bottle, cup and lid, as well as a cloth for good measure. Zayrha Rodriguez/NPR hide caption

Trying to cut plastic use isn’t easy or an option for everyone, Prince-Ruiz warns. It can require more planning, more time and in many cases, more money.

The plastic problem isn't your fault, but you can be part of the solution

The plastic problem isn't your fault, but you can be part of the solution

Still, individual actions can have an impact: Last year, she estimates 89 million people worldwide participated in Plastic Free July (though some may have signed up for just a week or a day), reducing over 500 million pounds of household single-use plastics.

Over the past decade, Prince-Ruiz has seen an increased appetite to reduce plastic.

“There's so many community groups and NGOs working on this issue that this groundswell of community change has started to put pressure on business and government, and we're starting to see systemic change,” Prince-Ruiz said. “So I think we've come a long way. We still have so far to go.”

Prince-Ruiz and people around the world trying for a plastic-free July will have some company

I’ll be joining them starting tomorrow, for a week. Here’s my game plan:

♻️ Cut out online shopping and food delivery;

♻️ Fill my own containers in the bulk section of my grocery store;

♻️ Carry a kit in my tote bag whenever I leave the house;

♻️ And replace single-use plastics with plastic-free alternatives if any run out.

If it’s impossible to buy a plastic-free alternative for an item such as string cheese, granola bars or potato chips, I’ll attempt to make it myself. Plus, having snacks on hand will hopefully help me avoid food delivery and fast food — as well as all of the plastic they bring.

Going plastic free could be easier for me than it would be for many Americans. I live in Washington, D.C., within walking distance of a grocery store that sells food in bulk — which isn’t the norm across the country.

At the end of this experiment, I’ll bring all of my plastic waste into the studio and report back on the costs, challenges and benefits. I’ll be back on Morning Edition on July 26 to talk about my plastic-free week.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that some participate in Plastic Free July for varying lengths of time. It has also been updated to reflect how long Morning Edition producer Claire Murashima will participate.

This story was edited for broadcast by Ally Schweitzer and edited for digital by Obed Manuel.

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How to compete and win with your listing presentation (+ scripts)

Win your next listing by acing the fundamentals of the listing appointment, including a knockout listing presentation

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In this article, I’ll share close to two decades of experience as a licensed agent and small brokerage owner in Boston to help you compete and win listings with a dynamite listing presentation. As agents, we compete for a finite number of available homes to list and sell. That’s why it’s crucial that you stand out amongst your competitors to get those listings.

The real estate listing presentation is one of the most critical tools in your arsenal for demonstrating your knowledge, expertise, experience, and above all — your authenticity. A well-done listing presentation not only distinguishes you from your competitors — it also elevates the seller’s experience of working with you from day one. It may sound cliché, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression. We break it down for you, sharing how to create a knockout listing presentation AND how to crush your next listing appointment.

  • Research market data
  • Prepare a pricing strategy
  • Prepare your pitch
  • Update your listing presentation 
  • Prepare for your listing appointment  
  • Set the stage for success
  • Actively listen
  • Be honest & authentic
  • Conduct a needs analysis  
  • Demonstrate your value
  • Share your market analysis
  • Present your marketing strategy
  • Discuss pricing strategy
  • Reiterate your value proposition
  • Close the deal

The full picture: How to win more listings with a knockout listing presentation

How to create a knockout listing presentation in 5 steps.

Creating a knockout listing presentation requires detailed research, solid data, market knowledge, marketing acumen, organizational skills and excellent design to clearly communicate all the information you want to share with your client. We’ll walk you through the steps to creating an impressive, concise, and attractive listing presentation document, which you can present in hard copy or digital format.

Step 1. Research market data

Your work begins once you and your client have set an appointment to meet. It’s crucial for you to know the market and understand the numbers. Your local MLS and association can help you find these crucial data points. You may also want to research the client on social media to understand their needs and circumstances. What is their family size? How long have they lived in the home? Here’s a checklist of information you should include in your listing presentation (or have on hand when you arrive at the listing appointment). Find out the answers to these questions before you arrive so you can come armed with all the necessary information.

  • Market Inventory: What is the current market and micro-market inventory?
  • Days on Market: How long does it take for properties to sell? Understand Days on Market (DOM) in the area
  • Average Sales Price: What are the average selling prices for similar properties in the area
  • Property Costs: Understand the property’s current HOA fees, property taxes, and other costs
  • School District: Look up the school district and local schools
  • Walkability Score: Research the area’s walkability score
  • Market Type: What type of market are you in? (Seller / Buyer/ Balanced). Numbers and market types can differ locally, regionally and nationally and it is helpful to be able to communicate how your market compares and fits into a broader context.

Step 2. Prepare a pricing strategy

Many sellers think they understand pricing as well as you do. It’s important to do your research and determine the selling price of the property yourself.

Pricing properties is not an exact science, but there are pricing strategies you can apply to help get you there. The first is on a macro-level and considers market conditions. Understanding the type of market you’re in and the current inventory are significant pieces of information that can help you determine the selling price of a property. You may find it easier to discuss pricing with sellers if you can explain current market conditions. You can find the data to determine the market type in your local MLS. The three different types of markets, based on inventory, are:

  • Seller’s Market – Less than six months of inventory in the area. Key indicators of this type of market are multiple offers and properties that sell very quickly.
  • Balanced Market – Six months of housing inventory in the area. There is no advantage to either buyers or sellers in this type of market.
  • Buyer’s Market – Greater than six months’ worth of inventory in the area. There are usually many properties available at different price points in a buyer’s market and properties generally take longer to sell. Listings often receive offers under the asking price from buyers.

Another important pricing strategy on the micro-level involves understanding the “comps” or comparable properties that are currently listed or that have recently sold in your client’s area. This can be accomplished by preparing a full Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) , or it can be a less formal conversation about comps at your listing appointment. Alternatively, you can make it an addendum to your listing presentation to be added at a later date, after you’ve viewed the home at the listing appointment (more on where and when that should be held later!).

Step 3. Prepare your pitch

It’s important to have your “elevator pitch” ready. Developing and communicating this pitch is essential to your listing presentation. We refer to this as your value proposition and it’s a unique, very concise statement about what you offer your clients and why they should choose you — in one or two sentences.

While you may feel challenged to develop your value proposition, it may be easier than you think! One strategy is to look at your past client or employment reviews (if you’re new to the business) and circle the descriptive words that others use about you, like “communicates well,” “hard worker,” or “knowledgeable.” You will likely see a pattern in how others describe you, and you can use those descriptors to help define and create your unique value proposition. 

Step 4. Update your listing presentation 

Designing a winning listing presentation may seem challenging, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel! Many resources and templates are available (both free and paid) to help you design a knockout listing presentation. Most large real estate brokerages have tools available for agents already branded with logos and colors and ready for you to input your information. Smaller brokerages may not provide the same, but you can find easy-to-use, customizable real estate listing presentation templates online: 

  • Breakthrough Broker

The real estate market fluctuates and constantly changes and so should you. When those changes happen, you need to be mindful of how recent market changes need to be communicated in your listing presentation and you must adapt accordingly. Updating your presentation before each listing appointment is a surefire way to ensure that your information and presentation remain accurate and impactful as possible. 

Step 5. Prepare for your listing appointment 

Aside from your winning personality, don’t forget to bring these items with you to your appointment:

  • A professionally presented real estate listing presentation: Bring enough copies for all sellers to review.
  • Pre-filled listing paperwork: Prepare the listing paperwork both digitally and in hard copy. Most information can be pre-filled prior to the presentation.
  • A fully charged tablet or computer if you are presenting digitally: Remember that technology doesn’t always work the way you expect it to. Additionally, digital presentations can sometimes be awkward depending on the setting or location, or if you are presenting to more than one person. Always be prepared with hard copies even if you are expecting to present on your tablet or computer.
  • A pen: Some sellers still use them and you may need one to sign the paperwork.

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How to crush your listing appointment in 10 steps

What does a successful listing appointment look like? The goal of a successful listing appointment is to win the listing and walk away with a signed contract in hand. It’s that simple. As an agent, you are a facilitator of the home-selling process. The most important thing to remember about the listing appointment, your listing presentation and the entire selling process is that it’s about the seller — not you. Here’s how you can crush every listing appointment and leave with a signed contract.

Step 1: Set the stage for success

Real estate agents are famous for selling the importance of location, location, location . The location of your listing appointment sets the stage for your successful listing presentation, and the best opportunity for you to see the home is when you’re making your pitch. That’s why your listing appointment should always take place at the seller’s home. While it seems that everything can be done online these days — this can’t. You must see the home to accurately assess it and offer valuable advice to the homeowners.

Step 2: Actively listen

While highlighting your skills and experience is important to establish your credibility and success, a key portion of your listing appointment should be spent listening carefully to the seller. Following the rule of listening twice as much as you speak will always pay off in your listing presentations.

Always keep in mind that selling a home is often a highly emotional experience for the seller. It can be happy, sad, exciting or a tangle of conflicting emotions. Sellers want to feel heard and will almost always tell you exactly what they want, need, or expect from their experience. If you listen — really listen — and genuinely strive to understand their motivations, needs, concerns and fears, you’ll be able to direct the conversation or adapt your presentation to better address their specific needs.

Pro tip: Listen twice as much as you speak to understand your client’s needs.

For example, a seller may tell you they want to sell their home quickly to relocate out of the country for a new job opportunity. In hearing and understanding those needs, you should focus your presentation on marketing, pricing, staging and other pre-market strategies that favor a faster timeline so you can list and sell their property quickly and efficiently.

Here’s a script you can use to kick off your real estate listing presentation:

Listing presentation script:

“I’m looking forward to sharing your wonderful home with the market and generating a pool of buyers who want to compete with each other for it. Let me show you how we can do that with a mix of advertising, marketing and leveraging our market share here in (local market).”

Step 3. Be honest & authentic 

An authentic agent who listens to sellers and always advises them honestly is a successful agent. Telling a seller something they don’t want to hear is uncomfortable, but you will earn their respect by being honest and forthcoming. Avoid oversharing information about yourself or becoming a storyteller in a listing presentation. Sure, you want to assure them of your skills and experience, but saying less about yourself (and again — listening more! ) can be much more impactful.

Step 4. Conduct a needs analysis 

This can be formal or informal, depending on your personal style. But if you’re actively listening, you can weave some of these questions into the conversation to help get to know the seller and their situation:

  • What is your desired timeframe for listing and selling your home? 
  • Are you looking to upgrade or downsize? 
  • Are you relocating out of the state or the country?
  • Is your timeframe dictated by the school year or a job?
  • Do you have an idea of the pricing of your home? 
  • What renovations or updates have you made that you believe could add value to your home?

Please remember that if the seller is not your client (yet!), you must advise them against sharing information you could inadvertently leverage against them if they choose another listing agent. Should you later bring forth a potential buyer, some of their answers to the questions here could compromise negotiations — so be sure to give them fair warning before delving too deep!

Step 5. Demonstrate your value

You can stand out with sellers by providing value and sharing information other agents may not have provided in their presentations (and you should always assume you’re not the only agent vying for their business!). Some examples of topics that you can discuss that provide unique value to your sellers:

  • Safety – Many sellers don’t consider the potential dangers of opening their homes to strangers. I recommend that sellers secure or remove all medications, personal photos, small electronics, bills, financial papers, and any artwork that can identify them, including names from bedroom walls. This step is especially important if they have children. You’ll help your clients prevent theft, identity theft or other more serious crimes.
  • Decluttering/staging – When touring the home as part of your presentation, provide decluttering and staging advice. While not every seller can afford professional staging, your recommendations can be invaluable in helping them prepare their property for sale.
  • Repairs, renovations and updates – Discuss any repairs, renovations or updates (both big and small) that could significantly increase the selling price of your client’s home. Point out small repairs that can make a big difference, like fixing water stains on ceilings. Updating a bathroom might substantially add value to the selling price relative to the cost of the update. Conversely, some repairs, renovations or updates may not be worthwhile. Advising the client and boosting their selling price can help solidify you as a valuable and knowledgeable agent.

Pro tip: Listings can be won by providing information that no other agent has provided!

Step 6. share your market analysis.

Understanding the market and your ability to communicate clearly about it are two of the most vital skills of a successful real estate agent. Always be mindful of the changes in the market locally, regionally and nationally. Be sure that you also understand what is happening in the financial world with mortgage rates and other factors that may impact the market — and ultimately, your home seller’s transaction.

While understanding the current market is important, it is also crucial to understand the direction that the market could be headed in the coming months or year ahead. For instance, if mortgage rates are projected to increase within the coming months, sharing that information with your seller can help them make a more informed decision about listing their property. Here’s a timely example. Early this year, the National Association of REALTORS® announced the settlement of the Sitzer/Burnett Commission Lawsuit that will undoubtedly change the way that real estate commissions are handled. If you aren’t clearly explaining this settlement and what it means for sellers in your listing presentation, you’re not doing your job. Here is a script to help you communicate with your clients about buyer’s agent commissions:

Buyer’s agent commission script:

“(______), there are new changes in the real estate industry with respect to the payment of commissions for sellers agents and buyers agents. I would like to take a few moments to explain to you how this impacts you as you prepare to sell your home …”

Step 7. Present your marketing strategy 

Even in a highly active market, you should still have a comprehensive plan for marketing your seller’s property. Some ideas that can help you kickstart your listing marketing plan include: 

  • Video marketing. Get creative with videos of your listings and post them to Facebook, Instagram Reels or YouTube. Try using drone footage for a unique perspective, but make sure to follow all local and federal aviation laws.
  • QR codes + hot sheets. Create real estate flyers or virtual hot sheets for your listing and include a QR code so potential buyers can easily view a short video of the property’s highlights.
  • Canvas the neighborhood . Knock on doors, call or leave flyers for neighbors and give them a sneak peek of your listing. 
  • Facebook community groups. Spotlight your listing in groups that allow it (or start your own group) and share livestream videos (“lives”). Offer sneak previews to build interest in your listings. 
  • Social media marketing : You don’t have to crush it on all platforms, but pick one or two, build an audience, and market your listings. Check out our 11 social media marketing strategies that work!

We love Coffee & Contracts because they deliver done-for-you, polished graphics and daily posts made to fit every social media channel — all for just $54 per month. Here’s what your Just Listed post might look like:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Paige Steckling | Utah Real Estate Agent (@utahrealestatepaige)

You can also check out agent and coach Ashley Harwood’s foolproof marketing plan and template to help you determine which marketing activities yield the best results for you, and her advice on how to get more listings:

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Step 8: discuss pricing strategy.

Sellers are more savvy than ever, and with countless online tools and resources available to them, most sellers already know the value of their home or how much they expect to sell it for before they sit down with you. While you may need to discuss pricing with them if you disagree with their number, agents spend much less time on this aspect of the listing presentation these days. However, it’s essential to set clear expectations at the outset. It may be challenging to discuss how a change in the market positions their property at a lower price point than they expect. However, that discussion is far better to have early rather than pricing their property inappropriately high and having it stagnate on the market. If you later need to lower their selling price, you’ve laid the groundwork for that discussion by pointing out the gap between their expectations and current market conditions.

Step 9: Reiterate your value proposition

Now that you’ve cleared the pricing hurdle, shared your expertise and market data, shown your client comps, toured the home and proven your value — it’s time to remind them of your elevator pitch. Circle back to the reasons this seller should hire you and only you to successfully list, market and sell their home. It’s important to be mindful of how they’re feeling, since selling a home and moving can signal big changes in their lives. A little empathy can go a long way here, and that’s a surefire way to cement your value proposition with any client. People want to work with people they like. While you may have cited your successes earlier in the meeting, now is the time to really focus on the client.

What do they need to move forward? How can you help make this big life change seamless and hassle-free for them? Be attentive, listen and show that you’re going to take care of them through this daunting process. After all, this may be the launchpad for a lifelong agent-client relationship.

Step 10: Close the deal

Ok, this is the tough part where you have to ask for your client’s business, bring out your prepared contract, and ask them to sign on the dotted line. As we said at the beginning, a successful real estate listing presentation ends with a signed contract . If you’re unsure how to broach the topic, you can use Boston-based listing agent and coach Ashley Harwood’s helpful and proven closing script to ask for your client’s business:

Woman talking on her cell phone at home

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With the many tools and templates available to help agents create winning listing presentations — and armed with your value proposition, market and comps data — we’re confident that you can crush your upcoming listing appointments if you follow the advice we’ve shared here.

Remember: When you deliver your listing presentation to a seller, always listen to them as a trusted advisor, present yourself honestly and authentically, and accurately explain the market conditions to them. If you follow these steps, we’re confident you can leave your next listing appointment with a signed listing agreement. We’re rooting for you!

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  • National Politics

No raccoons: TSA at Tallahassee airport reminds travelers about what not to pack

Transportation security agency officer cedric williams recalled one woman trying to board a plane: "i want my racoon, i want my racoon.".

presentation preparing tips

Transportation Security Agency officer Cedric Williams, when asked Thursday what was the most unusual item he's seen travelers try to get through security at Tallahassee International Airport, had a ready answer:

A dead racoon, carried in a trash bag.

The woman carrying it was adamant about traveling with it, repeating "I want my racoon, I want my racoon," he added. Williams didn't know the full story behind the carcass, but said it looked freshly killed.

In fact, travelers can take along dead animals, but have to put the body in a cooler, which then has to be checked as luggage, he explained.

Williams, lead TSA officer at the Tallahassee airport, was part of a presentation with Mark Howell, TSA regional spokesperson, about prohibited items for air travel. They remind people to be safety conscious during summer travel.

Tip: Double check your luggage, TSA says

They displayed voluntarily abandoned items by passengers, ranging from large bottles of Old Spice body wash to gun magazines, knifes, hatchets and more. All the items displayed were not allowed in a carry-on bag but could be placed in a checked bag.

Howell said TSA doesn't confiscate items, but offers three options to passengers: Flyers can either take it to their vehicle, place it in their checked bag or hand it over to TSA. Those who refuse any option will be told they cannot fly. And passengers are not able to reclaim items once they are in the possession of the TSA.

Asked the danger that items could pose in the cabin, Williams gave some brief explanations and hypothetical scenarios.

"Water could be mixed to make a compound for explosives," he said, picking up the hatchet next. "If I was having a bad day and I just lost my job after 20 years and I just got on this plane and felt like hurting somebody ... (then) it's gonna be a fiasco."

Howell added that "the number of incidents that are happening on board aircrafts have gone up, and you don't want to give somebody the opportunity to have something else at their disposal." Items that are not allowed either in checked baggage or carry-ons include fireworks and anything that could be set ablaze.

Summer travel trends to continue until September

Howell mentioned how passengers will see busy airports during the high-travel summers, with Tallahassee as no exception: "In Tallahassee, we've had about 17% more passengers for the first half of the year as opposed to this time last year."

Across the state, more than 60 million travelers have been screened at TSA checkpoints. To save time, Howell recommended arriving at least 2 hours ahead of their flight; especially important if someone gets pulled aside for an extra search.

And he said the the number of firearms found in security checks continues to go up every year, especially in states that have concealed carry laws. (Florida is now a "permitless carry" state, meaning concealed weapon licenses are optional, such as for interstate travel.)

From 2023: Concealed carry, immigration, bathrooms: 8 controversial Florida laws go into effect July 1

Ways to prepare before heading to the airport

  • Check TSA.gov for what items you can bring on board.
  • Private message TSA on social media, speak with a representative on what items are allowed you can even send pictures of your items.
  • Start with an empty bag, clean out all pockets.
  • Parents should also check children's luggage where things could be hiding.

Arianna Otero is the City Solutions Reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter/X: @ari_v_otero.

How to watch the 2024 Paris Olympics: Stream the Games with these tips

presentation preparing tips

Watching the 2024 Paris Olympics won’t be anywhere near as difficult as actually competing in the Olympics.

But if it feels that way to you, Summer Games enthusiast, you are in the right place.

Between the 12 hours of daily live coverage, plus three hours nightly in primetime, all of the channels – and apps! – there is a lot to keep track of. That’s where we come in. (Hint for cord-cutters: Peacock.)

Another valuable resource is USA TODAY's mega-guide to watching the Olympic Games . But here are six streamlined tips to help you figure out how you want to watch the Games. 

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How to use Peacock to watch Paris Olympics

The full might of NBCUniversal is behind broadcasting the 2024 Olympics. That includes its streaming service, Peacock . All 5,000 hours of Olympics coverage — including every single one of the 329 medal events — are available via Peacock. But the app's personalization preferences allow fans to create their ideal Olympic viewing format – with plenty of useful features. Examples of those features include:

  • How to create a personalized Olympic schedule: Click "Olympics Schedule" and then add the events of your choice to "My Stuff."
  • Playlists of top athletes such as Sha'Carri Richardson , Katie Ledecky or Simone Biles .
  • Discovery Multiview: Watch up to four sports at once. Indicators in red will signal whether it's a medal event, an elimination risk or a first-time Olympian competing.
  • Bonus for those with Roku TVs : An app should have already appeared on your home screen, "Paris 2024," that will take you straight to your Games homebase.

Peacock will the place to find alternative streaming options such as "Gold Zone," " Watch with Alex Cooper " and "Olympic Highlights with Kevin Hart and Kenan Thompson."

There will be hubs for every sport and updated medal standings, as well as a search feature and interactive schedule.

WATCH : Every single event at the 2024 Paris Olympics on Peacock

How to watch Paris Olympics in primetime

For those who appreciate their Olympics with a side of drama and storytelling, NBC's "Primetime in Paris" will be the preferred option. Olympic host Mike Tirico will welcome viewers with the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. Coverage will typically begin with a Team USA gold-medal performance and this is where Snoop Dogg will be making his appearances on behalf on NBC. Studio analysts can dive deeper into topics, while highlights from throughout the day will be shown. The primetime broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET nightly until the closing ceremony on Aug. 11.

Watch NBC's Primetime in Paris on Fubo (Free trial available)

How to watch Paris Olympics live in the US

That said, if you are a results-oriented consumer of sports, perhaps tuning into the live action is more suitable. Again, every event is available live at any given moment, and that includes potentially streaming exclusively on Peacock or NBCOlympics.com with cable verification. The higher-profile events will be held at night, typically, putting them roughly between 2-5 p.m. ET (although not a steadfast rule). Keep those hours clear.

Where to find NBC Olympics broadcast schedule

For non-Peacock users, NBC has published its tentative TV listings . Keep that page handy, even if it's subject to change, to give you a general idea of what's happening when and where to find it.

What is NBC's 'Gold Zone' for Olympics?

Once the action in Paris begins, it never stops. As many as 40 events could be happening at the same time. NBC is trying to ride the wave of "NFL RedZone" and created "Gold Zone" for Paris, and the whip-around show will actually feature Scott Hanson. "Gold Zone" streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET from July 27-Aug. 10. Andrew Siciliano, Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila will host in addition to Hanson.

Why Peacock is lifeline for cord-cutters

This cannot be overstated. Everything you could watch on NBC or cable is available on Peacock on top of the exclusive programs and features within the app. Even for those who still have a cable bill, it may be the place to watch the Games.

Watch the entirety of the 2024 Paris Olympics on Peacock

Looking for reliable streaming options? Check out  USA TODAY Home Internet  for broadband service plans in your area.

The USA TODAY app gets you to the heart of the news — fast. Download for award-winning coverage, crosswords, audio storytelling, the eNewspaper and more .

We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. USA TODAY Network newsrooms operate independently, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.

How to pay off debt fast

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  • To pay off debt fast, you need to exceed your minimum payments every month. 
  • Target the debt with the highest interest rate, also known as the "avalanche method."
  • Lower your interest rate by requesting a lower APR from your card provider or consolidate debt.

Carrying debt for too long — even if you're leveraging it to grow your wealth — can quickly begin to feel like a burden. 

You're not alone in your debt. Most of us don't have immediate access to cash to pay for everything we want, so we borrow money in the form of credit cards, loans, or mortgages. The average American debt is $104,215.

While this is a problem that many people share with you, it is still a problem. The more debt you have and the longer you hold it, the more interest eats at you and the more expensive it becomes. If you're holding too much debt on your credit cards — specifically more than 30% of your overall limit — this credit utilization ratio can also hurt your credit score  and make future borrowing more costly. 

With these consequences laid out, it's clear that the faster you pay off your debt, the better. Here's how you can become debt-free fast.

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Preparing for debt repayment

List all of your debt.

If you have multiple sources of debt — say several credit cards, student loans, and a personal loan — the first step to paying off debt is determining how much debt you have to pay off. This means keeping identifying all outstanding balances, their interest rates, any minimum payments, and payment due dates. Google Sheets — or a simple pen and paper — can be an invaluable tool for keeping track.

This can be an intimidating exercise for people with a lot of debt, but there's no way to make a clear plan for tackling it without a hard look at the numbers.

Stop using credit cards

Taking on more debt while you're trying to repay a load of other debt can complicate things. While you're in repayment mode, avoid taking out another loan or using credit cards, unless you can absolutely afford to pay off the balance at the end of the month. 

Cutting off credit card spending can be a challenge. It may be worth your time to look into budgeting apps or plans that divide your take-home income into sections like the 70-20-10 budget or the 50-30-20 budget . Ideally, once your budget is laid out, you'll see how much money you can devote toward paying off debts.

Make your minimum payments

At the bare minimum, you should be setting aside enough money each month to make your monthly payments. Missing any of these, particularly missing your payments by over 30 days, will put you in credit delinquency , which can hurt your credit score and stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Effective debt repayment strategies

Create a debt repayment plan .

Once you've got an idea of all your outstanding balances and made all your minimum payments, you can strategically distribute extra funds money across all your debts. One such strategy is the debt avalanche method, which focuses on paying off debts as fast as possible.

Once you've made all your minimum payments, the avalanche payment method concentrates any extra funds toward the debt with the highest interest rate. Focusing on paying off the most expensive debts first can speed up the entire repayment process as you save money on interest. 

Ask your credit card issuer for a lower interest rate 

Most people don't know you can call your credit card issuer to ask for a reduced APR (annual percentage rate), which can make a difference of hundreds of dollars in interest payments. There's no guarantee that they'll give you a reduced rate, but you'll be more likely to get it if you've consistently made on-time payments. 

Consider consolidation

If you have debt on multiple credit cards, you may consider consolidating your credit card debt onto one card so you can make a single monthly payment. There are two main ways you can do this: 

Balance transfer credit card: A balance transfer card allows borrowers to consolidate various credit card balances onto a new credit card, ideally one with a lower APR. You'll have to pay a transfer fee that's usually 3% to 5% of the total balance transferred, but it should be worth it in the long run.

The best balance transfer credit cards also typically come with a 0% introductory APR that can last up to 21 months. If you're able to pay off your debt within that promotional period (which should be your goal), you have the potential to save a lot of money on interest.

Debt consolidation loan: If you have other debts in addition to your credit card debt, you can look into debt consolidation loans . These work similarly to balance transfer cards, rolling all your debts into one big loan at a lower interest rate, which will depend on your credit score. Debt consolidation loans often have higher interest rates than other loan types, ranging from 6% to 36%.

Establish a payoff date

Paying off debt is a good goal to have, but paying off debt by a specific date is even better.

Carious online calculators can tell you exactly how many months you have until you're free and clear, according to your current interest rate and monthly payments. If 18 months (or more) sounds like too much, increase your monthly payment by $50 or $100 to start and see what difference it makes.

Avoiding common debt repayment pitfalls

Now that you have paid off your debt, it can be easy to rack up debt again. Those credit cards that once carried debt now have zero balances, and you may fall back into bad spending habits. It's important to set a budget, stick to it, and plan to spend so you'll be prepared for that expense. 

Try to stay motivated by increasing your savings and living frugally. Increasing your savings and establishing financial stability should replace spending unnecessarily and will help you stay out of debt. 

Frequently asked questions about how to pay off debt 

You can increase your income by taking on a side job, freelancing, or selling unused items to generate extra income to pay your debt off faster.

Yes, debt consolidation can be a good idea. It may be beneficial if it lowers your interest rate and simplifies your payments.

You can stay motivated during your debt repayment journey by setting clear goals, tracking your progress, celebrating small victories, and having a clear target date for paying off your debt.

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  • Main content

Biden's family starts discussing his possible exit plan from the 2024 race

WASHINGTON — Members of President Joe Biden’s family have discussed what an exit from his campaign might look like, according to two people familiar with the discussions. 

The overall tone of the conversations has been that any exit plan — should Biden decide to take that step, as some of his closest allies increasingly believe he will — should put the party in the best position to beat former President Donald Trump while also being worthy of the more than five decades he has served the country in elected office, these people said. 

Biden’s family members have specifically discussed how he would want to end his re-election bid on his own timing and with a carefully calculated plan in place. Considerations about the impact of the campaign on his health, his family and the stability of the country are among those at the forefront of the discussions, the people familiar with those discussions said.

The prospect of Biden’s considering stepping aside, much less that his family is gaming out a possible exit plan, is an extraordinary development that comes after he has repeatedly said he would not relinquish his position as the presumptive nominee of the party. 

But concerns have mounted among party leaders, donors and even officials who are part of his re-election effort with every day that has passed since a devastating debate three weeks ago. At the same time, Democrats are watching Republicans rally around Trump, who just survived an assassination attempt and accepted his party’s nomination Thursday night. 

President Biden Celebrates Fourth Of July At The White House politics political politician

White House spokesman Andrew Bates denied that any such exit discussions are happening among the family.

"That is not happening, period," he said. "The individuals making those claims are not speaking for his family or his team — and they will be proven wrong. Keep the faith."

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon acknowledged that the campaign has seen some "slippage," but she said it's been "a small movement" and insisted Biden is "absolutely" still in the race.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former White House chief of staff and an adviser to him for decades, said in an interview that Biden is hearing the public and private calls for him to exit the race.

“I think he’s feeling the pressure,” said Klain, who has spoken to Biden recently. “I want him to stay in.”

Klain’s take is that it makes no sense for Biden to be pushed aside. He said some in his party underestimate Trump at their own peril and undervalue the fact that Biden is the only one who has beaten him.

Biden and the people closest to him have felt burned by efforts to push him out that they see as backhanded and disrespectful . The family is distraught and moving through the stages of anger and grief over how people they perceived to be friends have treated the president.

“There was a much more dignified way to do this if this is what they wanted,” a Biden ally said. “This is no way to treat a public servant who has done a lot for this country.”

Discussions about how to game out a fitting plan for Biden to step aside have also played out among senior staff members, not just the president’s family, according to a person close to the re-election effort. Bates also denied these discussions are happening.

The family members Biden has relied on most include first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter and his sister, Valerie Owens, as well as a few longtime close aides who have been at the core of the discussions.

The conversations about Biden’s political future have raged while he remains at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sidelined after he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, some of Biden’s closest aides were calling trusted allies to get a sense of where they thought his political standing is, according to a person familiar with the phone calls. 

A Democratic lawmaker described Biden in this moment as “reflective." A third person close to Biden described the president as politically “fighting for his life.”

There are growing expectations among some allies that if Biden were to exit, it could be in the coming days. But they also caution that it still is up to him to make the decision and that he is not wired to quit even when he faces seemingly insurmountable adversity. 

About the possibility any announcement is imminent, a person close to the Bidens said, “We don’t even know what we’re doing tomorrow.”  

Still, Biden is not insusceptible to the mounting pressure from his own party, and he has said himself since the debate that he may consider leaving the race if there were no path for him to win. 

“I think it’s inevitable,” a second person close to the re-election effort said of Biden’s withdrawing from the race. 

As reports surfaced, including from NBC News , that Biden had shown signs that he could budge from his insistence that he remain the nominee, rumors and reports — some that the president's allies flatly denied — began to fly. They included speculation about timing of a potential exit, whether Biden would immediately endorse Vice President Kamala Harris and who was on the shortlist to be her vice presidential running mate.  

Among the reports: that longtime speechwriter and historian Jon Meacham was writing Biden’s exit remarks. 

Meacham rebuffed the account. 

“The report is totally false,” he said. 

Amid the turmoil the Biden campaign sent out talking points to Democrats, according to a Democratic strategist: “President Biden has not spoken to congressional leadership today. The president is his party’s nominee, having won 14 million votes during the Democratic primary. He’s running for re-election, and that will not change until he wins re-election.” 

Related coverage

  • 'We're close to the end': Biden world braces for the possibility he will step aside
  • Democrats are banking on outperforming Biden in key Senate races
  • Biden left feeling angry and betrayed by top Democratic leaders wavering on his campaign

As many in his own party turned against him, Biden continued this week to check in with allies and gauge their sentiments. 

“With all the rumors that I’m leaving, I’m not,” Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader and MSNBC host, in a phone call Monday, Sharpton said.

“I will support whatever you decide,” Sharpton said he told the president.

Sharpton said in an interview Thursday that legacy is something Biden “has to think of” as he contemplates his political future. “If there’s anyone that could make a comeback … it’s Joe Biden. Whether he chooses to or not, I don’t know.”

Some in Biden’s camp had hoped he would be able to weather the storm of pressure for him to step aside — that news events, including the Republican National Convention, would turn the national conversation away from whether and when he might end his campaign. But even the attempted assassination of Trump on Saturday did little to quell the furor around Biden. If anything, Democrats have since turned up the heat.

A major factor driving the private pressure on Biden is the fear among Democrats that his candidacy could rob them not only of the White House and the Senate but also of a chance to flip the House to their control. That helps explain why senior lawmakers have pushed on Biden to reconsider his decision to stay in the race.

“The House is on the brink,” said Brian Wolff, the treasurer of the House Majority PAC, the main super PAC supporting House Democratic candidates. “These candidates don’t deserve that.”

Wolff said Democratic incumbents and challengers in tough races cannot risk splintering their own voter coalitions by publicly taking one side or the other as Biden considers his options.

“They can’t afford to alienate the base that wants to support Biden or the base that wants someone else,” he said.

presentation preparing tips

Carol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

presentation preparing tips

Monica Alba is a White House correspondent for NBC News.

Sarah Fitzpatrick is a senior investigative producer and story editor for NBC News. She previously worked for CBS News and "60 Minutes." 

presentation preparing tips

Jonathan Allen is a senior national politics reporter for NBC News.

presentation preparing tips

Natasha Korecki is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

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