What makes an effective presentation + effective presentation strategies

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Presenting is not everyone’s forte, but it’s an important skill that can help you get a job, get a promotion, influence a decision, persuade a large group, and make people understand your point of view. It’s a powerful way to gain control and make your voice heard. If you do it right, you’ll love presenting. However, if your presentation isn’t engaging or easy to follow, you’ll start seeing people’s attention drift away, and eventually, you’ll want it to be over as soon as possible. 

You’ve probably seen some fascinating presentations and some boring presentations. Could you spot the difference between them? What was it that made the engaging presentations effective? 

In this article, we’ll explore what makes an effective presentation, and what preparation you need to do to make sure that your presentation will be a success. We’ll also pinpoint 4 highly-useful tips on how to give an effective presentation. 

Keep reading to learn how to make an effective presentation. 

Effective presentation strategies

What makes a presentation effective

An effective presentation keeps you hooked the whole time, no matter whether you watch it online or in person.  There are multiple examples of effective presentations that people have enjoyed listening to. For example, the introduction of the iPhone by Steve Jobs remains one of the most influential speeches. Tony Robbins, an American author, inspired millions of people with his presentation on The Power of Beliefs. If you go through TED talks, you’ll discover several impressive presentations that have hooked thousands and millions of people. 

What do all these effective presentations have in common? Let’s dive into the effective presentation strategies they all share. 

In the list below, discover 5 key elements that make an effective presentation, and make sure to implement them in your next presentation.

#1 Simplicity

Despite what you might think, simplicity can actually be tied to many powerful and effective presentations. In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

An effective presentation is simple and to the point. Just because you make a grand presentation with many facts and figures and thought-out details doesn’t make it more effective, nor sophisticated, for that matter. What’s important is that your presentation hits the right points and leaves the audience impressed and persuaded by your message.

You want your presentation to be easy to follow to ensure your audience is engaged from start to finish. To do that, remove anything that doesn’t support your narrative or add substantial value to your presentation. 

When speaking, always focus on your main points and avoid drifting away to other topics or irrelevant details. It’s best not to spend too much time explaining complex theories or terminologies. If you must, give concise, brief summaries of the concepts your audience might not be familiar with, but spend the majority of your presentation focused on the information your audience will have an easier time understanding. Another way to touch on a complex topic is to describe it from a new angle, one that might unlock new understanding for your audience.  

effective presentation strategies and how to deliver an effective presentation

When creating your presentation, use a minimal amount of text. Don’t overwhelm your audience with blocks of text. Your presentation content should act as a compliment to your speech and shouldn’t contain a lot of text or difficult-to-read elements. Simplify your presentation with clearly-legible fonts and a coordinating color scheme. Also, remember to choose a simple yet appealing background that isn’t too busy and highlights the visual elements of your presentation. 

In short, include strong text and visuals to drive your points home. Leave the unnecessary bits out. 

#2 Well-defined structure

Have you ever gotten lost when listening to a presentation? One of the reasons might be that it didn’t have a well-defined structure. 

A clear structure is crucial for a presentation to be effective. Giving a presentation is like telling a story. You need to have a compelling beginning that pulls in listeners. Once everyone is hooked, provide an interesting storyline with conflict, heroes, villains, and other enriching elements. In the end, you need to give an obvious conclusion, leaving the audience to discuss the main takeaways.

Create an outline of your presentation before creating the content of it. You’ll have a better overview of what you want to share. To organize your thoughts, create a mind map using Prezi Design. It’ll help you structure your points and decide when and how to share them.

Having a clearly-defined structure will help your audience to follow your story and get them on the same page as you. You’ll feel more confident when talking because you’ll know your talking points by heart, and your audience will feel more comfortable and engaged when listening to you.

#3 Visuals

Visuals enrich your presentation, help reinforce your words, highlight important points, and keep your audience engaged. Visuals are powerful tools. Used wisely, they can elevate your presentation to a whole new level.

Most people are visual learners – 65% to be exact. Therefore, visuals play an important role in understanding a topic. By incorporating visuals into your presentation, your audience will have an easier time digesting the information. 

Furthermore, visual aids make presentations more enjoyable and engaging. Just take a look at the examples below. One slide contains only text-based information, while the other also has visuals. Which one do you find more visually appealing?  

Images, video, data visualizations, GIFs, stickers, and animations make a presentation effective. Showcase images or videos to highlight an important point, or incorporate animations to add movement to your presentation. You can also add data visualizations like interactive charts and maps to illustrate essential statistics or valuable information. Plus, you can use infographics to diversify your presentation content and make it more attractive. 

You can find plenty of engaging visuals, like images, video covers, GIFs, stickers, and more in the Prezi library. Also, you can create impressive data visualizations by choosing a pre-designed template or starting from scratch using Prezi Design. You can even use this pre-designed template below. 

When adding visuals to your presentation, don’t forget the golden rule – simplicity. You can enrich your presentation with funny GIFs and interesting videos, but don’t overdo it. Add them where they’ll make the most impact and make sense to your audience. 

#4 Connection with the audience

Grab their attention by making your presentation more interactive

When giving a presentation, you want your audience to connect with you, and you want to connect with them. Ultimately, you want to feel like you’re having a conversation with your friends. 

Creating a connection can be difficult, especially if you’re presenting online. However, you have to find a way to cultivate a bond to make your audience genuinely interested in what you’re presenting. 

One way to do that is by sharing a personal story at the beginning of your presentation to create a more intimate atmosphere in the room. Share something you’ve struggled with or a common problem your audience members can relate to, or tell a fascinating story that reveals your values and experiences. An anecdote your audience will find amusing would also work, just as long as it relates to your topic. 

Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with your audience from the get-go, so think about incorporating a story element into your presentation to generate this connection. 

Making eye contact with your audience members when presenting is key. If you’re presenting to a small group of people, it’s easy, but if you’re presenting to a wider audience, choose a couple of people to make eye contact with. 

When presenting online, make sure to always remain visible to your audience, so avoid sharing your screen and blocking yourself from viewing. Instead, try Prezi Video and display your content next to you on screen while you maintain a face-to-face connection with your audience. People will feel more connected to you and your presentation if they’ll be able to see you while you’re presenting. Discover what Prezi Video has to offer:

#5 Preparation

Being prepared is the key to presentation success. If you practice something long enough, you’ll be able to master it. Therefore, preparation is one of the most important aspects of an effective presentation. It’s what truly makes an effective presentation and empowers you to be the best speaker you can be. 

You might think that public speaking is not your strong suit, but with dedicated preparation and time invested in improving your public speaking skills, you can impress yourself. 

When practicing your presentation, create a mind map to help you memorize the key points, but don’t stop there. Plan out how you’re going to start and end your presentation. Think about which statement or statistic you want to share to start your presentation speech. Also, decide what’s going to be the last statement or question of your speech. The details matter. 

What’s more, consider the technical requirements and familiarize yourself with the equipment. Whether you’re presenting in a familiar setting or someplace new, become acquainted with the equipment and the surroundings. If you’re presenting online, test-run your slides and visuals, especially if you’re planning to share video or audio materials.

Close up of laptop participants on video conference, virtual team meeting, colleagues

How to give an effective presentation

Now that you know what makes an effective presentation, you might be wondering how to apply them. A stunning presentation will make a killer impression only if you deliver it right. Make sure to follow these effective presentation strategies to give a memorable presentation. 

Stay calm and focused

Sometimes, nerves can get the best of you. Your hands get sweaty, your breath shortens, and your heart starts pounding. If you’re not a fan of public speaking, this is how you might feel about presenting in front of an audience. 

Don’t panic. There’s a way to calm your nerves and appear collected in front of your audience. The last thing you want is for people in the audience to notice your nervousness and for you to mess up because of it. 

Try practicing in front of your friends to get acquainted with speaking in front of people. Also, focus on your topic and shut down intrusive thoughts. If you’re focused on the topic, you’ll have less time to think about other people’s thoughts. Lastly, try breathing exercises to calm down right before presenting, and remember that it’s normal to feel nervous – it means you care. Discover other ways to not be nervous for a presentation. 

Read the room

You have mapped out the whole presentation. However, you can never truly know how your audience will feel and react. They might surprise you. 

When presenting, try to notice how your audience responds to what you’re sharing. Before presenting, if you’re on stage or in a meeting room, you might already get a chance to scan the room or even say hi to some people. Read the room to familiarize yourself with the audience. 

Make your presentation a conversation instead of a monologue, if applicable. Ensure that your audience feels comfortable and understood. If you’re presenting online, use the chat function, and ask people to send in their questions. There’s a higher chance they’ll ask a question if they don’t have to be in the spotlight and ask on camera.

Smiling young businesswoman giving presentation to colleagues in office. Effective presentation strategy

Be aware of your body language

Body language can say a lot about how a person feels, and whether or not theyre confident and comfortable. Body language can influence other people’s connection with you. If you’re talking to a person with inviting body language (for instance, a friendly smile, open posture, or eye contact), you might feel closer to them. 

That’s why you need to work on your body language to appear confident and approachable when presenting. You’ll be able to develop a close connection with your audience and appear trustworthy and friendly. 

Make sure you greet your audience with a smile and keep eye contact. Have an open posture and use hand gestures to articulate your thoughts (without overdoing them). If you’re on stage, you can even walk around the stage to develop command of the room.

Choose easy-to-use tools

When delivering your presentation, you want to look and feel confident. Technical mishaps and confusing presentation tools can pose an issue. Make sure you use convenient, good-looking presentation tools that make your presentation look professional and engaging. 

If you’re presenting in a virtual setting, it can be challenging to hold your audience’s attention, and there’s a higher chance of technical issues. 

To engage your audience and create an easy-to-use presentation, check out Prezi Present. You can save time by choosing a pre-designed presentation template or creating a unique-looking presentation from scratch. With Prezi Video, share your content next to you on-screen, which will help you engage your audience throughout your presentation. 

Before presenting, you can go through your slides and even record yourself with Prezi Video to test-run your presentation. As a result, you’ll feel prepared and confident. 

woman talks on video conference outside with a jacket on

There’s a lot that goes into creating and delivering an impressive presentation. However, a few key elements make the greatest impact on your presentation. Follow these points and check out 14 effective presentation tips to further improve your presentations. Also, if you’re presenting online, familiarize yourself with the virtual presentation framework by Micheal Lee to impress your virtual audience. 

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