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6 ways to make your next presentation outstanding

Alina Dizik, special to CareerBuilder

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Knowing how to create an effective presentation means you'll always be able to get your message across to your audience. To really succeed, keep in mind that the focus is on the presenter, not just on the materials, says Andrew Dlugan founder of SixMinutes.com, a public speaking website. "Remember that you are the presentation," Dlugan says. "It's not your slides or your handouts that your audience has come to see. If it were, you could just e-mail them a softcopy."

Here are 6 more ways to create an outstanding presentation:

1. Stick to a clear outline

Organizing your presentation in an easy-to-follow manner can make it easier for listeners to understand your point. Customize a framework that includes "a beginning where you tell your audience exactly what it is that they will take away from this talk, a middle that includes the details and explanations, and an end that ties it all up with a restatement of purpose, and you send them off with a distinct call to action," says Adria Firestone, a presentation and voice expert. As you go through your presentation be sure to stick to the organization structure and avoid going off on any tangents.

2. Learn more than you need to

It's always best to over-prepare for a presentation and have a deep knowledge of the subject, Dlugan says. While you don't need to share everything you know with the audience, it can come in handy when addressing their questions or concerns. "This will allow a presenter to handle related questions in a Q&A session in a credible manner," he says, though he warns against overloading the audience with info unless they've asked for it.

3. Do some "market" research

Create a presentation that's effective by understanding the demands of your audience, says Sherri Thomas, author of "Career Smart -- 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand." To do this, Thomas suggests speaking to key members of the group about their expectations prior to when you actually have to present. "What many presenters don't understand is that your audience knows what they want, and they may not be able to focus on what you're saying until they get that information," she says. "The less resistance and more support you have in a meeting the easier your presentation will be."

4. Throw in a few telling anecdotes

"Whatever the subject matter, using laughter and storytelling can be a great way to keep your audience interested," Firestone says. Pick an anecdote that's both concise and make sure it fits the framework of your presentation. "A story illuminates and makes your point unforgettable," Firestone says. When telling your story be sure to share something about your own life and experience, adding in a bit of biographical information can help you further connect with the audience.

5. Don't make technology your entire arsenal

Whether you're using a new iPad app or simply scrolling through PowerPoint slides, it's important to use it as an aid not a crutch. "Don't be upstaged by your technology," Firestone says. "No matter how magnificent your technology, there is nothing like a live enthusiastic human sharing valuable information." To avoid mishaps practice using the device before the presentation has started -- especially if you'll be presenting in an unfamiliar space.

6. Vary your tone

If you're dreading the presentation or simply bored by it, the tone of your voice is bound to reveal your true emotion. Keep this in mind and exaggerate your enthusiasm during the presentation by varying the tone of your voice. While you don't want to come across as fake, use your voice to demonstrate that you're truly excited about the subject matter.

Alina Dizik researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.com. Follow @CareerBuilder on Twitter.



Last Updated: 08/03/2011 - 4:00 PM


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