Pull off a perfect presentation

Learning how to pull off a great presentation begins in the classroom

There are few things as nerve-wracking as speaking in front of a class, or to a roomful of colleagues or clients. If you want it to run smoothly, the key is to prepare well.

Road test everything

Check your equipment beforehand. If you're using PowerPoint or showing video, make sure everything works and transitions as it should. Nothing will disrupt a presentation like technical issues.

[quote]No matter how busy you are, block out the time to master the topic you're presenting. There's nothing worse than having to wing it when someone asks a question or if you lose your place.[/quote]

Of course, Murphy's Law means that despite all your precautions, something will go wrong during your presentation. But if you're well prepared and know your stuff, you can usually move on without skipping a beat. It's a good idea to have back-up notes in case a slide doesn't come up.

Practise your presentation in front of a friend or family member and ask for their feedback. Alternatively, video record your presentation and watch it back. Time your presentation to make sure it's not too short or long.

Respect your audience

If you're presenting useful information to your audience, you probably won't have to work for their attention. Customise the presentation for the audience, present a story rather than a stream of facts and graphs, use large and easily readable fonts on any slides you show and try to grab their attention at the start with something unexpected.

When it comes to any sort of speech, less is always more. A good rule of thumb is to cut the length of your presentation to half of what you initially thought it should be.

End with a bang

Think about every question the audience might ask at the end of the presentation and have an answer prepared. It may fall to you to get the post-presentation Q&A session started, so have a couple of questions ready to ask the audience in case the discussion needs kick-starting.

Learning how to pull off a great presentation begins in the classroom. If you're interested in a career change, or simply looking to expand your skill set, you can visit TAFE NSW and see the wide variety of courses on offer.