Making Effective Presentations Part I

A presentation is a means of communication that is adapted to various speaking situations.

The role of the presenter is to communicate with the audience and control the presentation.

Although the audience receives the presenter’s message, this reception will be filtered through and affected by the listener’s own experience, knowledge and personal values.

Planning and preparation is the single most important part of making a successful presentation.

Planning and Preparation                                                                                 


Any presentation requires a clear strategy to help you reach your audience.

Strategy refers to what message you want to convey, and how you plan to deliver it, to your specific audience. Have clear goals about what you want to say to and accomplish with your audience.  Is your objective to inform, persuade, explain or motivate?  Be clear about who your audience is and why it is important for them to listen and pay attention. You must tailor your message to the audience.

Identify the tone you want to set for your presentation. If you are presenting to a group of experts, the tone of your voice is professional and respectful, in keeping with the formal language you use.

How long will your talk be? How will you help the audience to remember what you tell them?

What is your policy on questions? Will there be any discussion after the presentation?

When planning the content of your presentation, list the major points of information you want to convey.

Consider the number of key ideas and how much technical detail you want to include. This depends on the audience and the length of the presentation. The shorter the presentation, the fewer the number of key points. Simplify the content for a non-expert audience. Present the information in a logical sequence.

Visual aids like charts, graphs and videos can add impact to and understanding of your presentation, as well as adding variety and helping to increase the audience’s attention. They must be well-chosen, clear and well-prepared. They must strongly support what the speaker says, not just replace the spoken word. No matter who your audience is, the visual aid needs you, your interpretation, explanation, and justification.