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Guide to Presenting Like a Professional

How to Present Like a Professional

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Guide to Presenting Like a Professional

  1. 1. Guide to Presenting Like a Professional
  2. 2. 2 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Whether you like it or not, top-notch presentation skills are one of the keys to success in the modern workplace. This is true if you’re a company of one, or if you’re working at a Fortune 500 company with hundreds of other employees. It’s hard to imagine a position out there that doesn’t at some point require you to assemble ideas and present them to a person or a group of people who know little to nothing about the topic you’re covering. Very few people will tell you that presenting is easy or that it’s something they love to do. The fears are all usually pretty common: Guide to Presenting Like a Professional
  3. 3. 3 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Will I sound like an idiot? How will I say something new and interesting? Am I going to accidentally say “um” a million times? What if I have some massive technical failure that derails everything? Some presentations will go more smoothly than others, but there are steps you can take to making sure your presentation comes across as professional and informative. This eBook will cover many of the steps you can take in order to make this happen, but we’ll have a special focus on how visuals and infographics can make your presentation stand out from the rest. Guide to Presenting Like a Professional
  4. 4. 4 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional We’ve all had the recurring nightmare where you show up for a test and realize you haven’t read the book it’s about, or where you find out you have to speak in front of a large group of people and have nothing prepared. Make sure this remains in the realm of nightmares – not reality – by making sure you have a firm grasp on your subject. Sometimes the topic of your presentation will be complex. For instance, maybe you run a catering business and you’re looking for investors. Part of this might mean outlining somewhat complicated financial scenarios. While part of your audience might be familiar with this type of presentation, expect that there will be times when someone in the room will be unfamiliar with some of your concepts. Know Your Subject
  5. 5. 5 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to easily break it down for your audience, both in your presentation materials (for instance, your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation) or when you’re speaking. When you start out, approach the subject as if you’ve never approached it before and consider what major questions you might have about it. Start with the basics. Define terms that people may be unfamiliar with. Show real world examples that make it easy to imagine an abstract concept and apply it to real life. On the other hand, the topic of your presentation may be something more simple and straightforward. For instance, let’s say you’re this same caterer, and you’re a doing a general presentation that explains your brand philosophy and tells the story of how you started your business. This may be something that you know like the back of your hand, but in order for it to have an impact on your audience, you need to craft a compelling story out of the tale. All stories require a beginning, middle, and an end, so think about how you might apply this outline the story you’re trying to tell. Know Your Subject
  6. 6. 6 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional News flash: No one likes to sit in a room and be talked at by someone. Or rather, that’s not what your presentation should feel like. Imagine if you stood in front of a room of people and read from note cards for forty minutes. How boring would that be? Even if you managed to pull of a compelling presentation in this manner, it’s hard to deny that not having some visual element is a missed opportunity. In the digital age, the most common visual presentation form is the deck. Many people use programs like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote to build their presentation deck, but Google also offers Google Slides, a free presentation Get Visual
  7. 7. 7 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional application that operates similarly to Microsoft and Apple’s programs. However, the Ted blog notes that your slides should be the last thing you think about, so before you start building this presentation, you need to have completed the steps we already talked about: You need to have a solid grasp on your subject and know the story you’re trying to tell. Once you’ve done that, start plugging copy into your deck. But while you do this, look for opportunities to use visuals to tell your story. Remember that the golden rule of presenting is the less text on your presentation, the better, so try to use visuals whenever possible. Your use of visuals can be simple or complex. For example, if you’re telling the story of your early days starting a catering business, find photographs that help better tell that story. Even a slide featuring the numbers or primary points that cover your first year in business can be prettied up with custom icons that denote each section. Get Visual
  8. 8. 8 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Get Visual Visuals can really come in handy when you’re trying to illustrate more complex concepts. For example, if you’re going to lay out something related to your finances, or want to illustrate some short of change over some period of time, this would be the moment to use visuals to help get your story across through an infographics or other design element. However, a good presentation often gets creative with visuals in a way that feels unexpected and adds to the overall vibe of the presentation. For instance, instead of simply having your logo on the cover page, why not use some other image that feels evocative of your brand and your message? To use the catering business example again, maybe this is the moment where you show a gorgeous, well-styled spread of your most appealing dishes? Not everyone is design-minded, so if you feel like handling the visual elements is too difficult for you, outsource that work to a professional. Ask friends or look around online for someone who can help you out. The vibrant Fiverr community includes people who offer this very service, so be sure to look around Fiverr.com as well and see if there’s anyone you’d like to work with.
  9. 9. 9 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Once you’ve assembled your presentation, be sure you run through it until you feel you are comfortable with it. One thing to avoid doing is reading from the presentation deck. This is fine sometimes, but the best presentations feel more like a conversation. You may want to keep notes that you can discreetly turn to throughout the conversation, but, again, you want this to feel like a conversation between you and the people in the room. Be sure to look them in the eye and leave room for people to jump in with questions whenever you sense that one may be brewing. Be Prepared
  10. 10. 10 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional One the day of your presentation, looking your best will help you feel your best. Choose clothing that makes you feel amazing. You’ll also want to take into consideration your audience and the location of the meeting. If you’re meeting with a group of financiers in a corporate office building, something like a suit might be the way to go. But if you’re talking about your business to a group of college students, you may want to go a bit more causal. Also, if there’s a lot riding on your presentation, de-stress by exercising the morning of. Eating well beforehand can also keep you alert and focused, so go for something healthy instead of something sugary. The last thing you need is to crash right before you’re about to present. Be Prepared
  11. 11. 11 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Immediately after your presentation, make sure you allow plenty of time for questions. Again, this part of the presentation should feel like a conversation, so if you don’t get any questions at first, ask some questions of your own. This should get the conversation moving. If someone asks you to expand on something from your presentation, don’t get defensive or immediately wonder if this means you weren’t clear enough. This is simply a sign of curiosity. Embrace it! After you’ve presenting, depending on the contents of your presentation, you may want to leave behind a version of your presentation, either a hard copy or a digital copy. If you do send a digital copy, it’s probably What to Do After
  12. 12. 12 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional wise to send it as a PDF or in some other format where it can’t be edited or used without your permission. This will allow people to look over what you have to say and ask any questions they may have. A day or two after your presentation, it’s a good idea to check in with the people to whom you presented and see if they have any questions. This is also a good time to thank them for the opportunity to speak with them. Some people feel odd about reaching out after a presentation, but always do this. You never know when someone was too busy or shy to reach out first. What to Do After
  13. 13. 13 | Guide to Presenting Like a Professional Let’s face it, your first time presenting is never easy. Chances are you’ll finish and think of dozens of things you wish you could’ve done better. But the great thing is that there are probably more presentations in your future, so now is the time to tweak your presentation, enhance your visuals, or practice your public speaking before the next presentation comes around. And remember that the more you present, the easier it will be come. Keep At It! All images are subject to copyright.

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