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Effective Presentation Design & Delivery

First Impression

The first few minutes of your presentation are the most critical. This is when your audience will be forming their first impressions. Right away you should establish the tone of your presentation by taking these few steps:

1) Get your audience involved early. They will be more receptive to questions and activities later.

2) Keep slides and visual aids off to keep everyone's attention on you.

3) Set expectations high. Tell your audience exactly what you expect they will accomplish.

4) Share handouts immediately and then refer to them throughout your presentation.

5) Show enthusiasm and passion from the start! The audience will feed off of your energy.

6) Avoid apologizing for technical difficulties or other problems. Instead, state your appreciation for the audience's patience and cooperation.

Managing Questions

BUILD IN TIME: Set aside time for questions at the end of your presentation or allow time between segments of your presentation. Ring with a question markSet aside at least 20% of your presentation time for questions (i.e. 12-15 minutes for a one-hour presentation)

MANAGE YOUR TIME: Don't go over the time you have alloted for questions, especially if you have more to present.

BE SPECIFIC: Prompt your audience with specific questions. Don't just ask, "Does anyone have any questions?"

LISTEN: Listen to the entire question before you respond. Oftentimes, people will offer a lot of context before they actually ask their question.

REPEAT: Always repeat the question aloud for the whole audience to hear.

STAY CALM: If someone's question or comment feels critical, don't get defensive. Listen and acknowledge their point of view.

ADMIT YOU DON'T KNOW: If you don't know the answer to a question, admit it and then tell the audience you will follow up with them after the presentation with an answer.

INVOLVE EVERYONE: Avoid getting trapped in one-on-one discussions with individual audience members who have many questions. You can always have a more in-depth conversation with that person after your presentation. Also, try to answer questions in way that is relevant to the whole audience.

Image Credit: "questions" Some rights reserved by Oberazzi

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