How to Make a Presentation (With Detailed Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A presentation involves displaying and communicating information to an audience. There are many factors to consider that can determine the success of a presentation, such as body language and visual aids. You may engage and inform your audience effectively by understanding the steps involved in making a presentation. In this article, we discuss what a presentation is, provide a guide on how to make a presentation and detail some helpful tips to consider.

What is a presentation?

When discovering how to make a presentation, it can be important to review its fundamental features. A presentation is a visual and verbal communication of information. There may be an individual speaker or several speakers who present the information. Many presenters implement data visualisation to display complex data in a simple and engaging format. Presenters often stand in front of their audience and discuss the topic with presentation slides behind them.

The purpose of a presentation can vary depending on several factors. In the financial industry, most presentations are for informing shareholders about investment opportunities or displaying the financial status of a business to its executives. In the medical industry, a presentation may inform a panel of experts about innovative technologies and procedures. Professionals usually utilise a presentation to engage their audience with important information. Presentations are typically more effective at convincing an audience compared to written content.

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How to make a presentation

Below, you can find some steps on how to make a presentation:

1. Research your audience

Knowing the demographics and typical behavioural aspects of your audience is an important part of creating an engaging presentation. Before creating the presentation, you may research your target audience to discover important information. For example, if you're an investment analyst addressing a board of shareholders, you may research their typical demographic. You may discover that most of them are from an older generation and might not connect with modern social trends. From this information, you may determine appropriate social references that can engage and connect with the shareholders.

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2. Study the presentation content

When you present your data to an audience, it's usually important to have minimal text on the presentation slides. You may verbally communicate most content in the presentation and use text and visual aids as a reference for the audience to understand the data. You can study the presentation's content to ensure you don't rely on texts and visual aids when discussing the information. When the audience sees you don't require any aid in discussing the topic, they may trust the information you provide because they believe you have expert understanding and knowledge.

3. Create an engaging story

It can be important to ensure your presentation is engaging and entertaining enough to maintain the audience's interest. An effective method of ensuring this is to develop a journey within your presentation. This means your presentation can have stages that represent a beginning, middle and conclusion. The beginning of your presentation can introduce the topic and immediately engage the audience. The middle of your presentation is the main substance of the information that provides facts and data. To conclude the presentation, you may summarise the key points and provide the audience with an opportunity to ask questions.

4. Plan your delivery

The method you utilise to deliver your information can drastically affect your engagement with the audience. There are typically three ways you can deliver a presentation. You may use a teleprompter, read text from slides or memorise the presentation's content. A teleprompter is usually a better idea than reading directly from the slides, but the audience can typically identify that you're reading text. The most effective method of delivery is usually to memorise the content. People often enjoy listening to speakers who discuss a topic, rather than reading text aloud.

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5. Choose appropriate visual aids

Audiences usually enjoy a combination of verbal and visual communication. It can be important to ensure you balance your presentation to include an appropriate distribution of visual aids. It's usually a good idea to utilise simple styles of data visualisation. When choosing the type of visualisation, you can consider how far the audience is sitting, the complexity of the data and the volume of information. If you have complex data, you may implement a simple visualisation method and explain the information to the audience so they can understand.

6. Format your presentation

The order of slides in your presentation can help you engage your audience and maintain their interest. You can include a variety of slides that involve a combination of visual aids and bullet points. When you format your presentation, it can be a good idea to vary the slide content. This means you can have a mix of content throughout the presentation, rather than having all the visual aids in the first half and only text in the second half.

Tips for presenting to an audience

Below, you can find some helpful tips to consider when presenting to an audience:

Focus on your body language

It can be important to be aware of your body language when communicating with an audience. It's usually a good idea to utilise your body movement to help convey a message, but not all movements are beneficial. If you're shifting your weight and changing stances regularly, it may distract the audience from your presentation. If you're using a presentation slide, you may stay close to it, so the audience can easily glance between you and the slides. Using hand gestures and upper body movements can emphasise your argument, but too much theatrics might distract the audience.

Create a simple presentation

Creating a simple presentation is usually better for engaging the audience and maintaining their interest. The complexity of your presentation can depend on the topic you're presenting. Some subjects are more complex than others, so a simple presentation might not be viable. Regardless of the topic's complexity, there are still methods you can implement to make confusing subjects understandable for the audience. The most common method of achieving this is to utilise visual aids.

Make your presentation as short as possible

Everyone has a different attention span, but there's usually a point where the audience may lose concentration and interest. This point might come sooner or later, depending on the topic you're presenting. Some subjects are naturally more interesting than others, such as inventions or information that have the potential to be disruptive technology. If you're discussing something interesting, you might discuss the topic for an extended duration. If your presentation is on information previously established, it's usually a good idea to make it as short as possible.

Show your enthusiasm and passion

If you speak with passion and enthusiasm for the topic you're presenting, you may engage the audience and pique their interest. Audiences typically prefer listening to speakers who are visibly passionate about the topic they're discussing. This is because that passion can influence the emotions of the audience. If you're visibly displaying emotion when discussing a topic, the audience typically mirrors those emotions. Speaking in a monotone pitch and standing still may cause your audience to lose interest in your presentation.

Include examples

Including examples in your presentation can be a great way to engage your audience and convey a message. Examples and real-life experiences can help the audience connect with the information you're providing. It can also be an effective way of simplifying data. If you're presenting a new product that's unique in its market, you may utilise examples to portray the benefits of using the product.

Try to relax

One of the most valuable tips might be to remain calm during your presentation. This can benefit you and the audience. Feeling nervous about public speaking is very natural and the audience usually understands this, so there's nothing wrong with feeling nervous. If you can comfortably stand in front of your audience, you might enjoy the experience, which can positively influence your speech and body language.

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Make your presentation authentic

An authentic presentation is usually more engaging for the audience to listen to. If you're discussing a topic that previous speakers have established, you can identify ways to approach the topic uniquely. It can be important to understand that presentations can't always be authentic, particularly if the presentation is for internal use within a business.

Include humour if appropriate

Humour can be an excellent way of engaging the audience and maintaining their interest. It can also help you feel more comfortable on stage. It can be important to understand that some humour might not be appropriate for your target audience or presentation topic. You can research your audience and determine the type of humour that might be appropriate. In some situations, it might be best to not include any humour at all.

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