Designers nowadays use several tools to win the hearts of their new and potential clients, and presentation is one such tool. There are designers, who are maestro of their work, however, when it comes to presenting that work, they cut a sorry figure. The article here deals with certain common presentation skills which every professional (in general) and every designer (in particular) should possess.
Making something is great is not easy, especially if you are up for something as impactful thing as a presentation. It requires skills, hard work and practice along with patience. One should never dream to become a great man without considering practice as important tool to rule. It is often been observed that people don’t really care to learn it because they don’t realize its significance and impact. Moreover, a good presentation can turn the table around. So, let’s get down and learn to give good impression.
In order to learn this art you need to follow the simple P Plan.
Draw a Plan :
The first thing you need to understand is that presentation is not an art because art depicts abstract creation of thoughts for random audience. However, presentation is a technical, absolute and well directed way of explaining facts. So, it clearly means you are in dire need of a plan to execute it. The first phase of planning is preparing it in a way of narrating a true inspirational story. A story requires well constructed narration, support of audio visual effects and perfectly target audience.
The first step towards formulating the perfect plan is to know your audience. The more you know about your target audience the more it will be easy for you to modify your story according to them. The appropriate way to begin with this task is to pose questions about the audience in your mind like: Who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do they want to learn from your presentation? By figuring out the difference between who and what will give you an edge on your story building.
Now, that you are aware with your audience the next task is to finalize the outline of your presentation. While drawing the outline makes sure you have clear idea about your presentation. It will help you to determine how and what will you present.
Time for Production :
This stage calls production time. In this phase you have very important tasks to perform. The first of all is to start writing your manuscript. Just in case if you are wondering why do you need a script then let me remind you that your presentation is suppose to be a story which requires magic of good words. Before producing the slides the manuscript will help you to map out your content firmly.
I am sure by this stage you will desperately desire to start producing slides. However, you still need one last thing which is sketching the outlook of your presentation. Sketching with the help of post in notes allows you to come up with perfect storyboard. With the help of these short notes you will be able to memorize the feature of images and locations for visual support e-g Flickr.
In order to avoid leaving your audience tired, drained out, unfocused and confused forget about using bullet points. The production time requires innovative fashion of producing your impactful presentation and bullet points are not at all innovative. Bullet points force audience to both read and listen. So, you need an alternative and that is use one bullet at one slide.
The production phase definitely requires some visual support in order to let audience rest their eyes – a space which does not ask to decode the mystery of words all the time from audience. As we know with the help of perception theory that humans decode visuals first. First we see graphics, then headlines and highlighted text, and finally, body text. So, just go with the flow of perception theory.
Make it Penetrative :
A lot of people don’t realize the important of a penetrating presentation. Well, in order to make it real simple for them I come up with a rule called MISS rule (Make it simple, stupid). I think the rule is self explanatory. However, just to explain further the presenter should go for simple design. It will allow your story and presentation to penetrate the audience with ease. Complex design, flashing dark colors will make the job hard. Creating simple slides with plenty of white space will ensure that you create visually pleasing, calm slides that the audience can easily decipher.
Practice Makes the Man Perfect :
I am sure no one would like to finish his presentation minute before performing it. It highlights the importance of practicing the stuff you have prepared. A serious presenter will give ample time to prepare the performance through practice.
At this stage, you are done with your slides and all you have to do is run down through them again and again. It would be great if you record the audio so you can hear how it sounds. The recording of practice session will allow you to measure the time it takes improve the tone of voice, locate the point of emphasis and it will help you to memorize it as well.
Performance – It’s the Showtime :
Finally, the point has arrived when all your hard work is just few steps away from paying you off in the best possible way. At this stage, you don’t want to mishandle the situation so make it worthy by adopting some last wisdom words.
To avoid the dreaded opening you can show a visual or maybe even a video as the first thing in your presentation after you introduce yourself. It will give you some breathing time, let down the nervousness and detract focus from you that will be able to calm you down and get your nerves under control.
Don’t let yourself glued to one spot on the stage. You have the stage you are the man people are waiting for. Let them enjoy your presence. So, move around the stage, use all the available space leaving your computer for a moment. It will allow you to leave the podium and a computer and bring your body in use.
Leaving the podium has given you the provision to communicate with the audience through your body language. It may become a difficult task to deal with but practice will be the key to deal with this. In order to use your body effectively, you might want to follow the given points:
- Don’t be choosy in establishing your eye contact which means try to have eye contact with entire audience. There is no need to stare at your screen, glance out the window or look at your feet to show nervousness. Be confident and talk to your audience, not at them.
- Using hands is a must because it will allow you to direct the emphasis
- Don’t pound your audience by bombarding words one after another. Use pauses because they are a great way to indicate importance of something you’re saying.
Make your performance a complete package by inducting entertainment in it. Once the listeners are in their seats, you will have to keep them in their seats and for that entertainment is a good tool to use. So, don’t be afraid of making jokes, showing fun visuals and being playful while you present. Making your audience smile is the direct way to their hearts, and they will love you for it.
The above P plan is also a perfect plan to execute the toughest presentations. All you need is good plan, confidence and right tools. Although, the given tips are not absolute which means there is a lot of room for improvement. Every individual likes to do it in his/her own way which can be much better than all the above mentioned things. However, all the successful presenters and presentation contained one of all of these tips and tricks.
So, let get down to P Plan!