Presentations 101 – A Beginner Guide

Presentations have been a part of everyone’s life from elementary school upwards, but that doesn’t mean people enjoy them. When you are a writer though, a significant part of your income can be made from a good presentation. So how do you start?

1: Pick the Right Topic: If you have a strength or interest, that is a good starting point for a presentation. Sometimes it is a book you wrote, or maybe you have a series of articles that someone read, or something pertaining to your business. Whatever it is you should know the subject well.

2: Get some props: It is much easier to describe something, than just talk about it. This may not be applicable to all scenarios, but is certainly good if you can make use of it.

3: Timing: Most presentations in church groups, ladies groups etc, will last from 30 – 60 minutes. Plan the time carefully. For example for a one hour presentation:

5 mins: Introduction : who you are,

5 mins: Introduction to the presentation;

30 mins: main talk;

10 mins wrap-up: sum up the main points of the presentation;

10 mins: questions.

4: Handouts: If you plan to use handout, make them easy to read with bulleted points only. Leave room for the audience to make notes of their own. Make sure that the handouts are ready before the presentation starts. You don’t want people to be shuffling papers during your introduction. One way to do this is to make sure that the papers are placed on the seats as the audience comes in, or they are handed the papers as they enter the room.

If you choose to hand something round during the presentation then make sure that the item is clearly labeled. Items take a long time to move through an audience of even 20 people, so make sure that it is a suitable idea. Perhaps starting two samples would work. Make the item relevant to the talk in general – several items that are moving through an audience, each pertaining to a different, specific area of the talk will not work. You will have moved on from that topic before the last of the audience gets the first hand-around!

5: Slides or Powerpoint-type presentations are great for some topics. Again they give you something to talk about, and provide prompts to keep you on target. As a guide, for images, you will need approximately one minute for each image. If the image has several points then adjust that, but do not leave the same image there for more than 3 minutes as people tune out. For a one hour presentation, I like to have between 45 and 50 images.

6: Take a friend: If two people do a presentation it can make the biggest difference to a beginner. Organize your presentation such that you know exactly who is talking about what and for how long.

7: Enjoy it! – OK this is tough at the start, but if you can enthuse about the topic, your audience will be enthusiastic too. If you can bring some personal humorous stories to the talk, then that will be appreciated and keep the audience with you.

Comments are closed.