Planning Is Key to Creating an Effective Presentation

Businesswoman giving presentation to colleagues

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Planning is the most important step in creating a successful presentation of any kind. During planning, you decide on the content and the order in which the information is presented. Whether you are using PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress or any other presentation software, use the following steps as a guide when planning a presentation.

Identify the Purpose of the Presentation

There's no end to reasons for presentations, but you should know why you are giving the presentation and what you hope to accomplish. It may be a:

  • Presentation about a product for a client
  • Business presentation about the latest sales figures
  • A new idea you are introducing
  • An informational presentation to a club
  • An educational topic 

Determine the Presentation’s Audience

Know your audience and focus your presentation on their interests and the information you are trying to relay to: 

  • Your staff
  • A new prospective client
  • A group of small children
  • A convention for people in the same line of work

Gather the Most Important Information

  • Remember the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid) when designing your presentation.
  • Focus on three or four main points only.
  • Know everything about your topic so you are ready for questions after the presentation.

Keep Your Slides Interesting and on Topic

  • Design the slides to emphasize the main points in the presentation.
  • Place only one main idea on each slide.
  • List no more than four points per slide.
  • Use transitions that enhance your presentation, not that detract from it.

Practice the Presentation

Use speaker notes if your software supports them to plan which topics you want to be sure and cover as each slide displays. Plan time for a run-through before the presentation.

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