In the digital age, virtual presentations are the norm. Whether you are pitching a new idea to a
client or demonstrating the use of a new product or service, a live presentation is a way to go. But speaking to an audience is an art — not everyone can master it right off the bat. Moreover, if you start without a strategy, you may find the experience extremely overwhelming and end up feeling like a fish out of water.
Here is everything you need to know about the key steps for preparing for a live presentation:
1. Create an outline of what to discuss
Unless you plan the points you intend to cover during your presentation, you may end up rambling. If you are serious about hooking the audience from the beginning, plan the key points that define the overall content of the presentation. Ideally, there should be 8 to 10 main points supported by relevant facts, data, quotes, visuals, etc.
You can also write a brief description of the presentation that highlights the key takeaways for the audience. Doing this can help you to stay on track and not get caught with unnecessary buzzwords. It is also essential that you use storytelling techniques to deliver the presentation — the goal should be to present information cohesively instead of simply showcasing many unrelated slides on the screen. Finally, work towards putting your presentation in context so that your audience can make the most out of it.
2. Dress accordingly
Whether you are interacting virtually or meeting in person, you need to dress as per the occasion. Make sure to turn up in business-appropriate clothing — pajamas may feel comfortable but avoid wearing them during a virtual presentation.
Pay close attention to what you are wearing. For instance, prints or patterns can be incredibly distracting during a live presentation. It is best to stick to solid colors that make you stand out without overpowering the audience. Stick to safer shades such as grey as black can look too harsh. Lastly, ensure that there is enough contrast between the color of your attire and your background.
3. Don’t skip rehearsing
Practicing the delivery of your presentation is extremely important if you want to avoid awkward pauses. Using unnecessary words, known as crutch words, such as ‘Umm … so I mean’ can adversely impact your credibility as a speaker.
The more you practice delivering the presentation, the more confident you become. But don’t try to memorize the entire presentation, as you may sound too robotic. Instead, jot down the key points you want to cover through the presentation and practice maintaining the flow.
If you are extremely worried about your delivery, only memorize the opening lines as delivering them flawlessly can give you an instant boost of confidence.
4. Keep an eye on the time
Timing is a crucial element of any live presentation. After all, you don’t want to test the patience of your audience by exceeding the allotted time limit. Wherever you are practicing the delivery of your presentation, keep monitoring the time spent. Usually, it would take about three to five minutes to cover each point. Using this as a rough estimate, you can calculate the total amount of time you will need to deliver the entire presentation.
You can also consider writing down a detailed schedule of the delivery. For example, if your presentation starts at 5 pm and you have divided it into four key parts, your schedule should look as follows:
- 5 pm – Opening
- 5.05 Part 1
- 5.15 Part 2
- 5.25 Part 3
- 5.35 Part 4
- 5.45 Concluding remarks
5. Record the presentation
The slides alone may not be sufficient for those who may want to revisit your presentation for additional insights.
Recording the video makes it easier for your audience and you to access the material anytime. It is also a great way to assess your delivery during the presentation and identify the areas of improvement.
In such cases, recording the presentation is a good idea. You can use a video and screen recorder tool or the in-built recording features of MS Powerpoint to capture the various elements of your presentation.
6. Edit your video using a video editor
Once you have recorded the presentation, it is time to trim the unnecessary details to bring the presentation together. Using a powerful video editor can make the editing job an absolute cakewalk.
During the editing process, creating a loop video online is an excellent idea for those sections of your presentation that need repetition. In simple terms, looping refers to the automatic repetition of a section of the video that you want the audience to watch. It is also a good idea to create a loop of your branding as part of the intro and outro of the full video. There are several free tools in the market to create a loop video — make sure to choose wisely, so you don’t have to work too hard.
Live presentations are a great way to connect with the audience at a deeper level. We hope these tips help you to deliver more meaningful live presentations in the future.