So, you have done all that you can to prepare for your presentation – you know your topic inside out, you have the proper presentation materials and visual aids. But are you ready for the actual day of the presentation? Managing a presentation entails creating rapport with your audience, making sure everything is in place, and more. Here is how to best manage things on the day.
Pay attention to seating
It’s surprising how many presenters fail to pay attention to seating when they have a presentation. You should arrive at the venue early so that you can make last-minute adjustments if necessary. If the venue has free-standing chairs, arrange the chairs according to the number of participants and the size of the room. It is important that you arrange the seats in such a way that everyone can hear and see you and your visual aids. For situations where you don’t have any control over the seating, try to customise your presentation according to the layout. One tip: avoid placing important pointers near the bottom of your PowerPoint slides as the audience at the back may not be able to see them.
When you arrive
Aside from seating, it’s best to check various elements as soon as you arrive. Check the location and supply of electrical sockets as well as light switches, and you should also check whether visual aids and equipment are working properly. When it comes to visual aids, make sure they are well-organised and in order. Place handouts and brochures in the proper a5 or a4 presentation folders so that you can give them to the audience when they arrive. You should also check the microphone and determine whether you need or can use a table or podium for your presentation notes.
Create a connection with your audience
If your presentation is at a semi-formal or formal event, another person may make an introduction for you to the audience. Remember to take your time, get into the right position, and make eye contact with the group. Don’t forget to smile. If another person introduces you, make sure to acknowledge it with a simple ‘Thank you.’
Unless you are presenting in front of only a few individuals or a small gathering, it is always best to stand. Make sure to maintain eye contact with the crowd and remain alert to your audience’s reactions and mood.
Do you want your audience to remain interested throughout your entire presentation? Pay attention to your voice and how you speak as well. Controlling your voice is particularly important, especially when it comes to volume, variety (to make your audience more interested), and clarity (for you to be understood).
It’s important to speak slowly and enunciate each word, and don’t forget to pause once in a while so that your audience can absorb the information. Use language which is also easy to comprehend and stay away from jargon and clichés. The important thing is to remain enthusiastic and sincere, and you’ll notice the difference immediately.