1. Set a time-line for: planning, research, writing, re-drafting, getting feedback, practicing, prepare for questions work back from the date of your presentation, time limit each activity – research can be a time vortex!
2. Plan decide exactly what objective, purpose and content focus of your presentation will be. Prepare a time- line to give yourself adequate preparation time. Make sure that you allow extra time for any aspects of preparation that you are nervous about.
3. Research knowing your subject thoroughly will mean that you will be confident in your material when presenting. Be mindful not to research outside the scope of your objectives.
4. Write presentations are best when they are not read, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be carefully mapped out and written in advance – you can do this in long hand, or in the form of bullet points that will help you stay on track.
5. Make your slide deck slides are a visual aid for your audience and for yourself. Slides are not a script of your presentation and should contain minimal text. Use only one slide per minute of spoken presentation. Choose slides that are memorable, provocative, illustrative, and add value.
6. Get feedback show your written presentation to people. Ask for feedback on your content, your tone, your choice of images, the relevance of your slide deck. Ask whether the people you have shown have any questions or would like to see any of your points expanded.
7. Re-draft use the feedback to hone your presentation and to make any changes suggested that you think would improve it.
8. Practice presentations are performances, so you need to practice the part where you speak your presentation out loud. Think about your tone of voice, your body language, your stance, how you will use your hands.
9. Practice in front of an audience or three to get comfortable with performing, practice in front of your dog, your family, your friends, colleagues. Don’t let anyone run wild with their feedback because it could make you nervous – ask them specific questions if you need to. “what did you like about the content?”, “what specifically can I improve about my delivery” that kind of thing.
10. Practice again taking your feedback into account I can’t stress enough how important practicing is. It is the number one thing to ensure you feel confident and comfortable. The more you do it, the easier and more natural your actual presentation will be.