6 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

6 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Implementing a few sound strategies can make your presentation process more predictable and painless, keep the audience’s attention and help ensure approval for project goals

This is a sad state of affairs. Quite a bit is at stake in your presentation, or you wouldn't take the time to give it and your audience wouldn't invest the time to show up for it. You have something important to say. The results may mean funding, career advancement, a bonus or a pink slip. So at a minimum, lay out a structure that approximates a three-act story of some kind. It can give you a road map and can make things a lot easier for both you and your listeners. In Microsoft PowerPoint, the Outline View can help you achieve this.

Even though I'll recommend visuals in a moment, you should use words to lay out your structure. Or, if you're more comfortable in Word, use Word's Outline view to construct a minimalist story structure such as the following:

  • What is the current problem? What are the potential consequences of inaction or the wrong action?
  • Your recommendations for solving the problem
    • What you've already tried
    • What you've already tried
    • What others have suggested (and why it won't work)
    • What you recommend
  • The process that will be involved in the solution
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
    • Part 3
  • A call to action
    • Immediate steps to be taken
    • Contingencies and follow-up
    • Sign off; get authorization

Put these items into an outline and expand them. If you use Outline view in Word, you can click File/Send to PowerPoint, and your slides will be created automatically; your main points become slide titles and the sub-points are bullets.

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