5 Keys for the Perfect Presentation

It's not required that you panic about giving a speech. Here are some basic presentation principles.

You’ll give a lot of presentations in grad school, so you need to be prepared. As far as we know, there is no immediate solution for blushing during a speech. But as for the rest of your presentation, success is within your control.

Make the most of prep time

There is no such thing as being “over-prepared.” Show up early to set up the room and rehearse in the classroom environment. Don’t wait until the morning of to select and iron an outfit. Practice in front of people who will tell you like it is. The more you have nailed down ahead of time, the less you’ll have to be nervous about in the moment.

Don’t end with a Q&A

It’s alright to open up the floor. But as the speaker, you should always have the last word. After responding to any thoughts from the audience, be sure to offer a solid conclusion that summarizes your main points, rather than awkwardly wrapping up when the questions die out.

Keep your purpose in mind

Are you simply describing a theory—or are you trying to convince an audience of its validity? Don’t just present information; prove a point.

Less is more

Don’t abuse the time and attention of your listeners with information overload. Put the focus on your main points, and keep the rest of your speech brief and easy to digest. For each sentence, ask yourself, “How does this serve the purpose of my presentation?” If it doesn’t, throw it out.

Know your audience

Are you presenting to peers, strangers or superiors? Put careful thought into what they may already know about your subject, what they expect from you and what would motivate their response. Engaging, connecting with and persuading your audience is easier when you’ve tailored your speech to their position in life.

Source: “7 Mistakes Even Smart Presenters Make” by Gina DeLapa, Maestro Consulting Group. Excerpted with permission.

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