There are always situations where you have to present the results of your work, not just your daily work. Therefore, we provide a guide with tips and checklists to help you look confident in your presentation.
Whether you are a department head or project manager, a Ph.D. candidate, a working student, or a trainee, there are often situations today where you have to submit your work to the committee. In most cases, this also includes a decision. For example, allocating funds, approving changes, or accepting employment relationships. Therefore, you must do your job well. Thorough preparation is essential.
Those who are ready have better cards and are confident when presenting the results of their work. This is a very important aspect of being able to do it with confidence.
Presenting Properly – a checklist for preparation
As part of the preparation work, the following questions should be clarified.
- What is the purpose of my presentation: what do I want to achieve? What’s important (such as budget allocation)? Do you need to “fight” for something, or is it a presentation for a purely informative purpose?
- Target group I’m talking about: Who are you talking to? How familiar are your listeners with this topic? Can I use jargon? Are there any amateur listeners there?
- Which core structure is suitable for the presentation: Which “dramaturgy” is suitable for my goal?
- Media Visualization and Use: What means do you use to graphically represent a particular idea or information, such as PowerPoint, photos, plans, tables, videos, caricatures, etc.? Which media I have available and suitable for my case: PC, overhead projector, video …? (Don’t forget to check the features in advance!)
- Interaction: When do you want to allow questions: during the entire presentation or only at the end? What if my audience doesn’t follow my “guidelines”? Handouts: At the end of the day, I would like to give the audience something: documents, summary sheets, files?
- Conclusion: What do you expect from the final stage? Decision, approval, support? I want to encourage the audience to take action; how can I motivate them to do so?
Construction Success Criteria
Approximately 15% of the overall structure of a lecture should consist of audience greetings and referrals, including a brief introduction of the speaker, topics, meeting objectives, and schedule. It should also be mentioned whether participants can ask questions at any time or collect questions in the final discussion of the presentation.
The main part, which is the actual center of the lecture, should have the largest share in terms of scope (about 75%). The important thing is not only to present research, results, thoughts, and discussions about possible solutions in a confident, clear, descriptive, and easy-to-understand way but also to attract and persuade the audience. Reading the text is not good because the audience is not the focus. A film that has only bullet points and is refined with a natural composition is best.
In the last part (about 10%), we repeat consciously and concretely important points and call for action.
Confident Body Language and Voice
Your overall appearance as a speaker is just as important as the content of the lecture. If you want to win your audience for yourself and your cause, you must persuade with genuine and coherent behavior. Friendly and attractive smiles, direct eye contact, arm movements above the waist, controlled hand movements that emphasize what is said, upright posture: this creates a positive feeling for the listener.
Make sure the volume is comfortable and “normal” so that everyone can hear your voice. Use a microphone if necessary. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. In this way, it allows the audience to follow the central theme of the presentation. Stop talking and always make eye contact with the audience. Emphasize important thoughts and terms with your voice and underlined gestures.
The terms used also need to be adjusted for each target group. Therefore, use the correct language and avoid complex sentence structures, unnecessary jargon, and unnecessary abbreviations. Formulate it in a targeted way, with easy-to-understand discussions. Stay true to the facts and refrain from making subjective statements.
Avoid empty phrases such as “good” and “tell me” and repetitive phrases such as “OK?”, “Isn’t it?” And “Do you understand?”. An unnecessarily bulky subjunctive formulation such as “I would mean that …” and overuse of words such as “probably” have also received negative attention. Ideally, rehearse your presentation with colleagues and acquaintances for constructive criticism.
Our tips At-a-glance
- Standing towards the audience, open-minded attitude.
- Get your hands out of your pocket.
- There is no movement of the arms below the waist.
- A gentle smile overlooked the entire audience.
- Sometimes eye contact with people (not always the same)
- Friendly greeting
- A brief introduction to the instructor and perhaps the audience
- Topic overview and schedule
- Create a timetable with a flip chart and point out the points. Leitmotif must be recognizable
- Explain the interaction strategy (when is the question “permitted”?)
- It “translates” certain thoughts and information into images so that the listener can better perceive them. The presentation is more persuasive, more credible, and better prepared.
- Our tips: “less is more” and “keep simple.”
- Attractive and easy to understand
- Small text, bullets on slides only (don’t read the text!)
- Pay attention to the correct spelling, layout, color language, etc.
Use of media
- The instructor is familiar with the media used
- Up to 2-3 different media per lecture, no overstimulation!
- Do not read the text on the slides shown aloud.
- Comfortable volume
- Clear pronunciation (tone)
- Speaking pose
- Appropriate speech speed
- Precise, factual expression
- Avoid complicated sentence structures, unnecessary technical terms, and abbreviations
- Comprehensible arguments
- Dispensing with empty phrases