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SEVEN STEPS TO AN EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION

Let us start with a basic question: Why do we make a presentation? The simplest answer: “to
convince the ones who are listening and make a buy or an acceptance decision on the
idea/concept/product”.

There are 7 steps to making an effective presentation. They are as follows:


• Commitment
• Audience Analysis s
• Organization of thoughts
• Think, Sight and Sound
• Practice
• Relax
• Enjoy

The first five steps are parts of preparation and once those are done thoroughly, the remaining
two come easy.

Let us go into each of the steps one at a time.

Commitment
We must be committed and convinced about what we are saying or want to put across. The
conviction is what gets expressed and that is what helps us put our point across effectively.

Audience Analysis
This is also a preparatory stage. We need to answer 4 basic questions while analyzing our
audience. They are:
a) WHAT do THEY want?
b) WHAT do I want to achieve?
c) WHO are they?
d) WILL they relate to my humour?

One good way to analyze an unknown audience is to arrive early and if it is a gathering of up to
about 15 people, greet each one socially. Create a rapport with them. Use questions to get to
know about them, as that would be helpful during the presentation as well.

If we are talking to prospective clients whom we have not met before we can visit their web site
to get details about the company culture and style or even speak to people who have met them.

Organization of Thoughts
We can organize our thoughts by chalking out a plan, thinking of the time we have on hand and
how we are going to manage that time. The objective of the presentation should be clear while
we are making the presentation and we should never lose focus of that. We should have as much
knowledge about the subject as that would make us ready for the questions that follow. While
organizing our thoughts also we should stress on the points that we want to put across.

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Thoughts should be placed in the conventional format of:

INTRO – what you say


BODY – say what you want to
CONCLUSION – reiterate what you said

While chalking down our thoughts, it is essential to put the body in shape first and then build the
introduction and conclusion around it.

Questions that come from the audience could be either Clarifying questions or Utility based
questions. A good presentation should have very few clarifying questions and tending to utility
based questions from the audience. This would also show how well we analysed the audience
and their needs.

INTRO stands for


I Interest - Capture the interest of the audience
N Need - Find the need of the audience
T Time - Respect for audience time
R Response - Tell them when they can ask questions
O Objective - clearly stated so that they know

An ideal introduction could be something like "Let me take you on a trip to Ladakh. Hope it is as
much fun for you as I experienced. I will speak to you all for about 5 minutes and then you can
shoot your queries and I will be happy to answer them." In such a topic there is no need for a
statement of need as there is none. The other things have been covered.

The BODY of the presentation must contain the following:


a) Present Situation: This must be a statement of all the facts.
b) Reasons for Research: This would contain your point of view and this is where the selling of
your idea/concept/product comes into the picture. All the points stated here should effectively
nullify the ones in the Present Situation.
c) Opportunities and Threats: This would further be an expansion on what you are wanting to
convince the audience. State the threats but also give solutions with it.
d) Future Potential: Would contain the broad plan and the growth rate. Cost of the product and
its enhancement features should come here.

The CONCLUSION is extremely important while selling. It should contain the following:

a) Summary: of all that has been said in the intro and body
b) Questions from the audience and your replies: Be honest if you don't have the answer and
tell them you will get back to them. This is considered the last chance to sell as asking questions
could mean they want to be convinced and are still open to what you spoke. The kind of
questions asked could also be like a feedback for our next presentation, as we will know what to
anticipate and put that within the presentation
c) Impact-ful closing: is very important, as that is what will remain registered in the minds of the
audience as an anchor

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Some tips for organizing your thoughts:

• Cater to the creative and logical instinct of the audience

• A presentation must have the following:


FACTS
FANTASY - a look into the future
FICTION - stories / case studies
PICTURES
• Always keep in mind the 3 E's of communication:
Earn - the right to talk to the audience, be fully prepared
Eager - Be eager to make them understand your point of view and not force them to do
the same
Enjoy yourself
• Make a presentation big enough to cover the topic and short enough to maintain
the interest

Think, Sight and Sound


This is also a preparatory phase and should be remembered while speaking.

SOUND contains the atmosphere, the way you speak. This contains the tone basically.

Tone comprises of:


• Pitch (modulation of voice)
• Speed
• Volume
All these should be in the correct balance and if kept in mind while speaking, can have the
desired impact.

Body language is what falls in the category of SIGHT. In broad terms, the human body is
divided into three zones- the head is the mental zone, the body is the practical zone and the legs
are the physical zones. The thumb rule here is that no body part from one zone should come in
the other like the hands should not come before the face.

Tips on each of the zones:

MENTAL
• Angle of head should be straight
• Maintain eye contact with the audience. If nothing else, it helps to gain a support
mechanism from the crowd.
• Look at each person in the crowd with respect
• Smile at relevant points

PRACTICAL
• The posture of standing should be straight
• Hands always defy gravity and want to move upwards to fly and while speaking we try to
keep them under control, DON’T
• Hands like to speak and if controlled they would move on their own accord and could be
distracting
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• Use hands to explain relevantly
• Move hands in practical area only and do not block face
• While sitting the hands should be resting on the table or the arm of the chair and there
should be less movement
• Wear minimum ornaments, they can be distracting
• Never point fingers, if you want to, use your hand- not begging (hand in the begging pose)
or commanding (complete opposite to begging) but requesting which is between the two

PHYSICAL
• Weight should be equally on both feet, the feet being about a foot apart
• Putting all one's weight on one foot and then the other gives a very casual impression. If
one is tired, you could walk around a bit. Walking gives the required energy and thinking time
too. One can even gain contact by moving closer to the audience and the most important thing
here is not to repeat the same motion repeatedly as it could be very distracting for the audience
• Never show your back to the audience, if you come too far ahead while walking and need to
go back, go sideways, backwards but not with our back totally to the audience either while
walking or writing

These were all points to note while standing, while sitting it is much easier. Sit in an open
posture. If you want to cross your legs then the curve of the knee should not be in front but on
the side.

Practice
Practice before the mirror or in front of friends. It is best to do a dress rehearsal a day before the
presentation. It gives a feel of the way you are going to present. This is mostly for those of us
who are making presentations for the first time or are new to making presentations.

Practice is essential for those of us who are used to making presentations too though they would
practice, maybe a few one-liners or emphatic points of their presentations.

Relax
Stage fright is normal and should be dealt with by deep breathing and talking to individuals of
the group before the presentation begins. Consider them as individuals and not a group.

Enjoy
If the first 5 are done well then all you need to do during the presentation is enjoy yourself.

Some tips during this phase are:


• Plan regular breaks if the presentations are long
• Let it be as interactive as possible
• While talking, give the audience a peep behind the curtain that is what is coming up