How to Create a Professional Presentation for Your Next Online Meeting

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A high-quality and professionally prepared presentation is more than half the success of your project and report. The main goal is to clearly and briefly demonstrate the results of the work, convey the main information to the audience, and introduce a particular program. 

Difficulties with such a project may arise from users who have never faced this issue. Or rather did not take it so seriously as it should be. In fact, if you start to make a presentation step by step (understanding each element gradually) — everything is quite simple and easy even for a very novice user. 

Fortunately, today there are a lot of ready-made presentation templates that you can customize in a few clicks to suit your purposes. But even using these solutions, you need to know the basic rules and actively apply them to achieve the desired result. 

We offer you to read a guide that will fully reveal to you all the secrets of creating a professional presentation. Now, you may easily present your projects to the audience and reach the goals you set faster.

Analysis of presentation objectives

This is the first and one of the main stages on which the further development of the presentation will depend. Realizing the purpose helps determine the form of the visual project, the content and style, and the level of audience interaction with the speaker. 

How to Create a Professional Presentation for Your Next Online Meeting_

All presentations can be grouped into the following types:

Motivation or entertainment 

If the purpose of the presentation is just that, it consists mostly of a regular speech. Only the speech itself needs to be carefully prepared and pay little attention to the preparing questions. It is also essential to create the project in bright colors and make an eye-catching visual with a minimum of information on the slides. 

To take your presentation to the next level, make sure to watch online tutorials and videos that can provide you with practical tips on everything from organizing your ideas to creating effective visual aids. Consider seeking the assistance of professionals such as Clear Communication Academy presentation coaches and trainers who can provide you with the guidance and support you need to create a truly compelling and impactful presentation. With professional help, you can develop a clear and concise message, craft engaging visuals, and deliver your speech with confidence and ease.

Informing or analyzing 

If the purpose of the presentation is to inform or provide analysis, it involves interaction with the audience. After listening to the presentation, attendees ask questions to better understand and clarify some of the details. 

Such presentations are often used in large companies, for example, to monitor the state of the company's finances. In such cases, the presentation should have a more restrained style, infographics, tables, diagrams, etc. The best way for you to illustrate your topic in the corporate world without making them bored is to use conference PowerPoints. This can create engaging and powerful slides for your presentation. 

Persuasion or invitation to cooperation 

The greatest interaction with the public involves a project that aims to persuade someone to take part in certain activities or to collaborate on a joint solution to a problem. Such a presentation usually begins by providing information about the object under discussion so that the audience understands what is being discussed. 

It is then appropriate to provide arguments for your point of view to induce the people to take the action you require. Such a project is demanding in terms of quality of presentation. 

It also requires you to be quite flexible and have a strong feel for the situation, especially in the event of unforeseen circumstances. You should try to prepare for that. The interaction with the audience is so great that you can lose control of the presentation. 

Therefore, you should not rely entirely on the prepared and written text, you need to keep a close eye on the actual situation and not let it get out of hand. Plus, do not forget that presentations often have more than one of the above goals, so you need to define it correctly to develop the project properly. 

Planning and predicting the duration of a presentation

Once you have the basic idea and purpose of the presentation well thought out, you can begin to plan the volume and structure of the project. The last aspect fully depends on the goals, the audience, the object, and the time available for the project. 

Planning and predicting the duration of a presentation

If the time for the speech is short, such as 10 minutes or less, it is necessary to organize it to cover the most important aspects. Consequently, the report will be like a summary of a full, extended presentation. 

More time-consuming presentations should be organized like reports. If the purpose is to entertain, motivate, or inform, there can be no strict structure. You should use the default structure, depending on the main goal.

If the purpose is to analyze, persuade or induce cooperation, the presentation should be organized around the main arguments and opinions. It is necessary to use the organic structure if the audience is friendly, receptive. And vice versa, if one feels the audience's rejection, then it is necessary to approach the main arguments carefully and thoughtfully.

It is essential to learn how to plan your speech so that routine blocks of information alternate with fascinating statistical facts or historical aspects. Listeners who have lost the main idea of the speech are very difficult to get back. Moreover, they may leave out important points of the presentation because they do not have a convenient function for reviewing what was said a few minutes ago. 

So, it is up to you to think carefully about how to organize the conveying of key points to the listeners. Find out how you intend to organize the project, and try to limit the number of main messages and opinions of the speech to three or four, even if the speech or presentation is quite long. Make sure that you choose the most useful and interesting information with which to control the audience's focus. 

Remember that listeners cannot pass up uninteresting, unnecessary material, so keep it to a minimum to avoid losing interest. 

The duration of a speech or project is often strictly limited. Once the speech itself is planned, you can more accurately determine the time needed for the presentation, given that the speaker talks at an average of 110-120 words per minute. 

For example, you need to cover three main aspects. In a 10-minute presentation, you could spend: 

  • for a superficial explanation of each point — 2 minutes
  • for the introduction and conclusion — 1 minute each

If your report is for 1 hour, the introduction can take 5 minutes. The next 30-40 minutes will provide more detail on each point in the report. The conclusion may take 3 to 5 minutes. The remaining time would be appropriate to spend on Q&A with the audience. 

Audience analysis and presentation style selection

How, for what, and for whom is it done? The audience is another basic aspect of any presentation, and since the speech is made for the particular public, you should pay special attention to its analysis. 

Audience analysis and presentation style selection

You can achieve the best result if the characteristics of the future audience are known and used in the preparation of the report.

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Size and audience participation

Try to guess how many people will come to the conference. Determine if they have any political, religious, or professional biases.

Analyze the ratio of males to females, the age of the audience, the affiliation of them with certain social and ethnic groups, and the professional aspects of the activities of the visitors.

Possible audience reactions

Analyze why particular people came to the meeting. Determine how the listeners feel about the subject of the project: whether they are interested or indifferent. Consider what aspects of the subject of presentation and in what light is best shown to that audience. 

Analyze which way of presenting information will be most effective, beneficial, and make the greatest impression on the public: providing technical information, statistical analysis, historical data, demonstrations, storytelling, etc. Plan how your listeners will react to what you are doing, and if necessary, change the vector of the presentation.

Level of audience understanding

Find out if people know anything about the object of your presentation, if the audience is familiar with the specific terminology vocabulary, and if they can understand what you are talking about. Determine what additional information you need to provide the people to better understand the object of the project.

Think about specific figures and specifications that you may be asked for or need to talk about.

Other relevant information about the audience should also be analyzed. Here are some questions you have to know the answers to before your speech: 

  • What kind of audience will you have: friendly or opposed to your point of view?
  • Does the audience care about the issues for which you want to persuade them to engage in specific actions?
  • What is the audience's level of education and understanding of the subject matter of the presentation?
  • What does the audience know about what you intend to communicate to them?
  • Do they know you?

Developing a presentation structure

The specific structure of the presentation depends on its purpose. However, a basic structure, quite common and tested, is reflected in every project. It looks as follows: 

  • Topic — what the talk is about (keyword).
  • Analysis of the situation — what the facts (problems) appear to be.
  • Negative consequences — what will happen if a solution cannot be reached.
  • Goal — what it accomplishes.
  • Proposing a solution — your unique approaches to solving the problem.
  • Positive outcome — what the proposal will bring.
  • Action — what needs to be done as the next step.
  • Feedback on the topic — question and answer with the listeners.
Developing a presentation structure

The order of each item in the structure is important. How to prepare each point depends on the particular situation. Preparing for most speeches is very similar to writing a formal report, though with this difference it is essential to reorganize the text for the oral presentation. This is both a challenge and a new opportunity. 

The opportunity comes from the interaction between the speaker and the audience. Communication with the audience involves flexibility. The more interaction with the audience, the more flexible the speaker must be. And as a result, he/ she must follow the presentation process more carefully.

This is why the first minutes of a project are very important. It is necessary to determine the mood of the audience, their interest in the topic, and prepare them for the next actions.

The first thing to do is to arouse the public's interest. Here are several ways and opportunities to attract and hold the audience's focus: 

  • Use humor. Even if you are preparing a business presentation, that is not to say you cannot include some slight humorous inserts and commentary. Humor helps to relax and sets the audience in a friendly mood toward you.
  • Tell a story. Most people are interested in all kinds of stories and enjoy listening to them. So, you can easily find a suitable story that illustrates the point you want to express.
  • Build a speech around a powerful example. Psychologists say that you can get people to remember important points of a speech by associating them with a specific image.
  • Ask a question. It will help draw the listeners' attention to your speech. 
  • Provide interesting statistics. People like details. If you present any interesting statistics, it will help to excite the audience.

With these tips, you can start your speech better to capture the public's attention at once. 

Techniques for improving presentation effectiveness

When you have your entire speech planned and prepared, when you have the means to illustrate it in your hands, then you are ready to practice the speech. 

Techniques for improving presentation effectiveness

Here are a few types of speech practice: 

  • Memorization. Since you are not an actor, avoid memorizing an entire speech, especially if it is long. Thus, you become anchored to the text and cannot speak calmly. In this way any question can throw you off balance.
  • Reading. If the speech is very important and very formal and does not involve interaction with the audience, it is perfectly acceptable to read the text. However, you still need to practice so you do not stutter or get lost in the text.
  • Storytelling with notes. A presentation using a short plan is the most effective and easiest to prepare and deliver. You do not lose contact with the listeners, become more flexible and adapt to the situation, making the language more interesting for the listeners, which is most beneficial to you as well.
  • Spontaneous language. Of course, it is better when the speech is prepared in advance, but in life, there are often situations where there is simply no opportunity for this. In such cases, there is no need to rush. Take pauses, think about what you will talk about. Then speak, trying to do it logically, avoiding abrupt transitions from one topic to another. But never start talking if you do not know anything about the subject of your presentation.

After careful preparation and study of the speech types, you have to practice. You can do this in front of a mirror, or by recording it on a voice recorder. 

Now are some useful tips for an effective speech: 

1. Prepare more materials than necessary. Extra knowledge combined with an interest in the topic will help you.

2. Set yourself up positively and do not be afraid to make mistakes.

3. Be the most realistic you can be. Know that even experienced speakers have anxiety and fear before important presentations.

4. Before you start speaking, take a deep breath.

5. Feel free to drink water.

6. If you feel like you are losing your audience during the speech, do not panic. Try to win it back, try to draw it into action.

7. Use different illustration techniques.

8. Speak loudly, calmly. If the presentation is offline, move slowly, stand facing the audience.

Major presentation mistakes: knowing - avoiding

Now let's look at the most common mistakes that occur in practice, and possible actions to avoid them. A speaker's act depends entirely on his/her personality and individuality. And even despite experience and confidence, some often make typical mistakes that are better avoided. 

Major presentation mistakes knowing - avoiding

1. Anxiety. In offline meetings, this manifests itself in nervous walking, voice trembling, sudden movements, and the like. In online meetings, it is more likely to show through the tone of the voice. Some may stutter or mumble words. 

Solution: First, stand firmly on your feet, without fidgeting or shifting from place to place. As a result, your speech will also be more stable. But that does not mean you have to get out, stand and stay motionless. Hand gestures are welcome, walking around the stage is also acceptable. It just does not have to be over the top. If you have problems with speech with nerves, it is better to practice in advance and take a few deep breaths before the speech. 

2. Stressful hands. It may be expressed in the clacking of a pen, twitching of papers.

Solution: If there is nothing in your hands, you can cross them in front of you. Then the hands are free to gesture during a speech or, for example, to point to certain positions during a presentation with a projector. It is inappropriate to take a pen, pointer, or something similar in your hands unless you want to use it as a presentation tool, otherwise, you are automatically playing with these hand-held items and distracting listeners from the presentation itself. 

3. Talking to the screen. In other words, to know what's on the projector slides, you turn your back to the audience and read the notes on the screen. 

Solution: Turn slightly toward the screen and control yourself. Check if the slide is positioned correctly, and direct your hand to the specific point you are talking about. And then turn to the public and talk to them. Remember, that hey are your audience, not the screen.

4. Speaking too loudly or too quietly. The speaker's voice needs to make an impression, that is, it needs to have some impact, otherwise it can harm the presentation. If you speak too loudly, you look aggressive. Too quiet voice gives the impression that you are not quite sure what you are speaking about. 

Solution: Listen to others and yourself. If you see that your voice is not what it should be, try to change the tone. 

5. Poor readability of project elements. It is quite a common problem because all images are mostly taken from the Internet and can be of poor quality. Moreover, sometimes when speaking in a large hall not everyone will be able to see what is written on the screen.

Solution: You should check in advance if the audience in the last row can read the information you display. Also, download only high-quality graphics and do not oversize the images. 

Top 5 tips for stylish presentation design

Whether you use PPT templates, Keynote, or any other online service, there are some nuances to creating presentations. With our advice, you will make an awesome project, even with no special skills.

No standard templates

Every program initially has a basic set of templates that everyone is used to working with. But even if you change the style and colors, it does not mean that your project will be fresh and new. These templates are rather hackneyed and will not give the impression of a long and painstaking preparation. 

We recommend using premium solutions, which have uniqueness and a lot of extra slides. 

Choose the appropriate colors

One of the mistakes is choosing colors that do not match each other. For example the use of red and pink, gray and dark green. And if you also fill the slide with unsuitable fonts, the presentation will look absurd. The fastest method is to use special platforms where there are ready-made color combinations, or you can find the perfect pair of colors in real-time. 

Do not forget about contrast: if you use a light background, choose a dark font, and vice versa.

Icons — the key to an effective perception of the information

Icons and graphics will help to improve the perception of the content, so if possible, they can be inserted into your projects. The main thing is to choose the same style elements so that the document looks accurate. You can find free icons at Flaticon to get you started.

Stylish and fresh typefaces

The fonts are a significant element of the presentation because they can both catch the eye and spoil the whole impression of the project. Do not use standard fonts, such as Calibri, Comic Sans, Times New Roman. They are visually very boring and do not draw attention. It is better to choose Helvetica, Open Sans, or Roboto. Despite the simplicity, these typefaces are suitable for any project.

Also, remember the rule of three scripts: 

  • for the title
  • for the text
  • for the additional inserts

High-quality pictures

We have already mentioned this aspect a little bit. Remember that low-quality stock photos are still a widespread mistake. Do not choose the first pictures you find. It is better to spend more time, but find high-quality images on the subject that will be nice to look at. 

Conclusions

A presentation is a great way to provide the public with new information, reports, analysis, and show the solutions you have found to some issues. And many people think that it is easy to create such a project in half an hour without paying special attention to design and content. By making this mistake, important information can be devalued and you automatically fail to achieve the desired goals. 

We are sure that using this guide you will be able to create a spectacular and professional presentation. All you have to do is put the tips into practice and reach great results in the work.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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