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Planning your PowerPoint Presentation

Whilst in the main none of us our are presentation exhibitionists, there are ocassions when we are called upon to stand in front of an audience and deliver a presentation.

For many, it is a daunting experience, for others, their confidence projects. But no matter how you feel when you present. No matter how inexperienced or experienced you might be. One thing is common to every presenter.

Planning = Presentation Success

There are no excuses for not planning your content. Start with a simple outline or key points of what you want to say and what your presentation needs to convey. Then simply build your presentation around it.

Everyone sympathises with a presenter who is nervous. After all. We have all been there. Even the most experienced had to start somewhere. But whilst an audience will forgive a nervous presenter, they will never forgive a presenter who has not put any effort into creating their presentation. And whilst you may think that you can simply "wing it", your audience will be aware when you try.

Messages made Simple
List some simple messages you hope to communicate during your presentation. Focus on getting these messages across in your slides. One message per slide is more than enough. Once you have created the content you need to communicate the message. Delete your note from the slide. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can create your presentation.

Reading makes Sense
When you are creating your slides, your key arguments, content, and bullet points, make sure to read them aloud. This will help you write concisely and for speech rather than print. It is also a great way of practicing the presentation.

A presenter who hasn't prectised their speech is usually one who finishes much too early. Or one who overruns their time allowance and does not reach their key arguments, summations, and conclusions. Remember to test your timing and make sure you stick to it. Drop slides during the presentation if it means finishing on time. It is better to provide your audience with a summary and the correct conclusions than leave them to make their own because you are being told to finish.

It's an old saying but "Keep it simple stupid" is not a reflection on your intelligence but rather one of your audience's needs. Remember, whilst you may be an authority on a subject, or have researched a subject in great depth, more than likely your audience will have not. After all if they had, why would you be presenting to them?

Keeping things simple, your text, graphics, your key arguments, and your slides simple. Ensures that everyone in your audience will be able to follow and understand your presentation.

Practise makes Perfect
If your relatively new to delivering presentations, try presenting your PowerPoint slide show in front of your partner or on a trusted colleague. It's often helpful to get a second opinion on presentation content and your delivery.

Keep that Presentation Chin Up!
Try to relax when you are giving your presentation. Have a glass of water beside you if it helps you calm your fears, and don't be afraid to take a sip from it during your presentation if you feel your mouth is dry. It's often harder to show confidence when nerves take over.

Nervous presenters more often than not race through their presentation clicking slides faster than their audience can read them. They can often mumble, or talk much too quickly. So breathe and remember your audience is there to listen to you. Because you know things they don't and things they want to know.

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