Have you realised that people tend to lose focus when a presentation is dull or a presenter does not know what he or she is talking about? It happens most often. How can we avoid being in this situation? Can we do anything better to make our presentations effective? Absolutely, we can! And I am happy to help you in your preparation for an effective presentation no matter who your audience are. There is one thing common to all audiences; they are human beings.

When I was young, any time the weather was cold, I dreaded bathing and I would prefer to start my bath from my feet instead of my upper body. I believed that my entire body would be ready for the cold water after I finished bathing my lower part. Hahaha! It did not work at all times. When it comes to preparing an effective presentation, you cannot choose to bathe your feet first. You cannot just open your PowerPoint or Keynote and start creating slides. No, that is not appropriate. So, what do you need to do?

The first task is to know the purpose of your presentation. Any time you stand in front of people to deliver a message, there should be a reason for which you are communicating. This purpose will help you in choosing the right words, the most engaging introduction, appropriate stories and even visuals. A speaker seeks to informeducateentertain and or influence his or her audience. When you identify which of these purposes underlie your presentation, I can say you have completed 30% of your work.

The moment you are able to identify the purpose of your presentation, you need to define your topic. You might have been called upon to deliver a presentation on effective communication. This is a very broad topic, right? Before you can narrow it to suit the expectations of your audience, you need to know your audience. This means that your topic needs to align with what your audience expects from you. I believe you will agree with me if I told you that speaking to high school students about effective communication will not be entirely the same as speaking to employees and employers about effective communication. So, clearly defining your topic is highly influenced by your audience. Also, it is mostly advisable to state your topic in actionable forms. For instance, instead of saying “Effective Communication”, you can say “5 powerful ways you can adopt to attract and sustain the attention of your audience”. This will make your audience know exactly what you are about to talk about.

A speaker is also a learner. After clearly defining your topic, it is very important that you research your topic extensively. You need to be a master in your chosen subject. It will be a shame if you have been called to deliver a presentation and you seem not to have any idea about your topic. Aside from making a fool of yourself, you are making yourself liable to losing other speaking engagements. In our contemporary world, finding information has become so easy. You can visit the internet and read from various credible sites. You can also ask for information from people who have been in that area of expertise for quite a long time.

One of the secrets to a powerful presentation is an intriguing and engaging introduction. If you are able to attract the attention of your audience from the beginning of your presentation, there is a high probability that they will stay glued to you till the end. As a speaker, you need to pay critical attention to how you introduce your presentation. I should say there is no one best method, however, there are some techniques that have proven to be effective over the years. In 2021, my brother sent me a link to a YouTube video where Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie was being interviewed on the topic, The Power of Storytelling. There was one thing I realised about her presentation. Any time she was asked a question, she told a story that was relevant to the question before she finally responded. I was so fascinated and laid in bed to watch the entire video even though I had to step out of bed and start my morning chores. I could not resist this powerful technique. Another way is to ask a very thought-provoking question relevant to your topic. This prepares your audience’s mind as they try to find plausible answers to the question. You can equally shock your audience with some factual information related to your topic. There are so many ways to make your introduction exciting and engaging.

After you have gotten the necessary information you need, you can open your PowerPoint now. This time around, I assure you that you will not stare at a blank slide because you have all the information you need. At this point, your critical thinking skills and creativity become very indispensable. It is advisable to deliver your message chronologically so that your audience will not lose concentration. Using visuals appeals to the senses of your audience so endeavour to use relevant visuals that resonate with your audience.

Let us remember that presentation slides do not need to have so much information crowded on a slide. It is not called “PowerNote”, but rather “PowerPoint”. This means that you write the key points of the message in your slide and the explanation will come from you. Do you now see the need for you to master your topic? Only a speaker who has mastered his or her topic can speak to the points he or she has listed.

Preparation is very crucial in anything we do. To make the best out of a speaking engagement, make it a point to prepare adequately so that you do not leave a bad impression in the minds of your audience.

The Writer ; Angela  Ankoma is

 English language educator|Proofreader|Storyteller






About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *