STEP TWO: Who is your audience? While you may be the one presenting, presenting really isn’t about you; it’s about the audience. Your second step is to think about your audience and what they need from you.
Ask yourself: n Who is attending my presentation? (How many people, names, job titles, why they are coming, and who has decision-making power?)
n What do they already know about the topic? (Are they experts or lay- people?)
n What are their expectations? (Are they expecting PowerPoint, handouts etc?)
n What do they need to know, or do, as a result of my presentation?
Select the content After you’ve established your purpose, selecting your content becomes straightforward.
One approach is to list the points that you’d like to include in your presentation. Let’s imagine you are giving a presentation about vegetarianism and that your purpose is to persuade your audience to become vegetarian. Therefore you might want to include information on what vegetarians eat; why being a vegetarian is good for your health; what makes vegetarianism good for the planet; and maybe something about some famous vegetarians.
After you’ve got your ideas, choose the strongest, using the ‘point, proof, comment’ method to test them out. Go through each idea and ask yourself:
n What is the point? For example, ‘a vegetarian diet is good for your health’.
n What is my proof? Back up your point with a fact/story. For example, ‘research shows that vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease’.
n What is the comment? (My opinion or observation). For example: ‘Based on the research, I believe that a vegetarian lifestyle offers greater
PAGE 14 | MAY 2011 | student focus A MAGAZINE FOR ABE STUDENTS
protection against debilitating diseases’.
If you can’t answer these three questions, don’t include the point.
Bringing the content to life Facts, figures, stories and visuals all help to bring a presentation to life. People respond to different approaches, so you may want to have a little of each in your presentation.
Less is more Sometimes we want to include everything in our presentation. It is usually the case that fewer points, well explained, will end up being more effective.
STEP FOUR: Managing your materials Materials are there to support you, not the other way round. Less is always more and simple can be sensational. Here’s how:
PowerPoint n Design: use simple fonts (maximum two fonts) and consistent colours (maximum four colours).
n One slide per main point (five lines maximum).
n Use visuals rather than words, where possible, to get your message across.
Handouts n Number handouts clearly and use headings so people can find the
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