4 steps to great presentations - Next generation tools for Microsoft Office

4 steps to great presentations

We all want to get the most yield from our efforts. So, we often rush into our work tasks. When crafting slides to support your story it pays to ‘slow down to speed up’.

Follow these 4 steps to make great presentations.


1) Consider your audience and their vantage point

Are you giving a talk where you are the main star? Or are you just presenting (yet another) monthly status update?
Does your audience know the subject well? Have they had the chance to read your materials up front?
How much time do you have?
What is the set-up? Face-to-face? Teleconference? Videoconference? Classic presenter-to-audience?

Your visuals should be crafted accordingly and should differ depending on how you answer the above questions.


2) Structure the story you want to tell

Sketch up a rough structure of your story before you start making slides.
Our secret trick is to write up the Executive Summary first – when done right, each statement in the summary will represent a separate slide. Emphasize one point per slide.

Check that you have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Be sure to end with a persuasive call to action.


3) Draw your slides accordingly

With a strong structure in place, it is time to make slides. One slide for each of the main statements in your summary. As you go, draft the content of each slide to ensure that it supports the headline. A few tips:

  • Keep it simple – your concepts and frameworks should be instantly understandable and should be easy to communicate. Avoid animations.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. One strong image is much better than even the most eloquent formulations.
  • Be stingy with your words and allow yourself to elaborate in voice over – if your audience starts reading, they stop listening to you. That is bad.
  • A chart is better than a table when presenting numbers. Always. Most people grasp development in numbers better when presented as a chart.


4) Present with conviction

How you should present differs greatly depending on the set-up. Relaying a message via a conference call is different than doing it in person. But there are some universal principles.
Start with briefly laying out the structure of the whole story. Then walk through each slide, start with the headline, then explain the content thoroughly, and finally conclude.

Clear the slide completely by asking for questions before advancing in your presentation.


That is it. Follow these 4 steps and you’re well on the way to make great presentations.

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