How to make an Effective Presentation

Business is all about selling — a product, topic or concept. When making a business presentation, the most important thing is to know your material. If you do not know everything about what you are selling, it is not likely that the audience will be buying. It is important to keep your audience focussed and interested. The central purpose of any presentation, written, oral or visual, is communication. To communicate effectively, you must state your facts in a simple, concise and interesting manner. Making effective business presentations takes practice, but with a few tips up your sleeve, you can be ready to take on the challenge.

Giving an effective presentation means working with both the audience and the topic. It’s important to know how to relate to who you are communicating within order to get through to them. A business presentation usually calls for professional language, while a laid back style is more appropriate in some situations. Think about the audience’s point of view and what they have in common when planning a speech. Appealing to emotions is a great way to convince and inspire action in others. Make the topic more personal by telling a touching story about another person or situation.

A few import areas that one needs to address in interview preparations include tone, body posture, enthusiasm, subject knowledge, background research on the company, knowledge of the role, etiquettes and one’s ability to showcase oneself as the right fit. How should I do background research on the company, should I be humble in the interview or should I boast about my qualities? What are the strict no-nos when it comes to face to face interview? What kind of clothes should I wear? What if I do not know an answer? Presentations could be made interesting and effective if one were to follow some basic steps.


Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.


Sweety asked, Hi Amit, Is it a good practice to provide handouts? if yes, what should i mainly concentrate while drafting the handouts?
Amit Bansal answers, Handouts are good only if a specific information is critical for an audience to take back and refer to at a later time. During educational presentations, handouts are given to do certain assignments or activities. While formatting the handouts ensure you have included all reference material in the handouts and activities for the audience to complete.

d_abhi asked, Hey Amit…What is a most optimal number of slides & duration of a presentation one should prepare?
Amit Bansal answers, You must refrain from going beyond 20 to 25 slides in a deck.

Rahul asked, What to do when I observe people sleeping or showing disinterest while I am making presentations?
Amit Bansal answers, Wake them up by asking a question, not picking up on one person but to the audience. You can also use an analogy or a story or general brainstorming.

ASHISH asked, sometimes i am not able to show my presentation nicely !!! Sometimes my english communication is ok but some times not !!! what can i do now sir? plz suggest me .
Amit Bansal answers, Practice every presentation. Don’t be over confident that you will be able to present flawlessly all the time.

Rahul asked, How many bullet points or words on a slide would be a standard practice?
Amit Bansal answers, Up to 5 bullet points is a good practice. However if you have more, suggest reducing them or making two slides.

Pakkya asked, Hi Amit, I have fear ness for first 10 – 15 mins while giving presentation. though the persons sitting in front of me are well know and daily lunch mates.. so how to over come the fearness and after some time i will be OK automatically.. but starting presentation and first 10 mins am worried every time….Please suggest on this
Amit Bansal answers, That’s absolutely normal. Don’t worry about it. Infact preliminary nervousness is good in a way because it prompts you to prepare for your presentation well. So I guess it’s good to be nervous in the first 10 to 15 mins.

Sony asked, Amit, which is a better approach? entertaining doubts and question from audience while presenting or at the end only.
Amit Bansal answers, Both ways are appropriate. However if you think that the presentation topic is such that the audience will have many questions during the presentation, however you have included many answers in subsequent slides, tell your audience to hold their questions till the end. However, if you feel that you should strike out doubts during the presentation for better retention allow your participants to ask you questions while you are presenting.

sarvesh asked, Hi Amit, I’ve attended many presentation skill classes & trainings but still when the action point comes those skills won’t come naturally & lot of effort has to be put and also not very sure of the outcome. Can you suggest anything to overcome this & make the presentation short but effective?
Amit Bansal answers, The thumb rule of three should be used. Always remember that any person retains information in clusters of three at one time. So keep three major objectives of your presentation and then use clusters of three during the entire presentation.

veeru asked, when being bold and giving a positive qualities about my product the customer pulls my leg down and says your product is not the only product in the whole world and says i have seen so many product like yours. dont act smart.. what to do in these situations?
Amit Bansal answers, In sales presentations there is something called rebuttals. While you are preparing your presentation make sure you have prepared thoroughly for the questions your potential customer may ask you. This can be prepared by understanding your product thoroughly and maybe speaking to your seniors and taking their input.

vicky asked, Good afternoon Amit. Even though i practise my presentation before presenting and try and see if i can do it infant of the mirror also to get my expressions right. But on the time of the acutal presentation my mind just blanks out. My palms start sweating.g and i just want to flee. Everyone says it will get better with practise, but im very worried that i might not be able to. Do you have Any suggestion?
Amit Bansal answers, It definitely becomes better with practice. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle… :). Why don’t you record yourself on a video camera and watch your own presentation. Most often the fear while standing in front of an audience is … what are they thinking about me. Watch yourself present and you will know what your audience would be thinking while you present live. Get used to yourself as a presenter.

omi asked, Hello Amit, Can you plz tell us the difference between presenting contents in PPT vs Word Document? What points should we keep in mind while preparing both? Thanks,
Amit Bansal answers, PPT is a better way of presenting as it gives you the presentation features. Word documents are also used for presentation only when you cannot use the same information on a ppt deck. Moreover the display in word doc can be cumbersome.

jasbir asked, Is all capitals a good idea or running hand ?
Amit Bansal answers, All caps and cursive writing should be used sparingly. All caps is only for abbreviations or any specific jargon. Cursive writing is just add some cosmetic value to the presentation. Never overdo its usage.

style asked, How can I make my presentation interesting while the content is majorly statistics, graphs and figures?
Amit Bansal answers, Keep only the graphs and figures on the ppt and everything that will explain that statistics should be said by you.

Rahul asked, How much impact is tat of making the presentation humorous? specially in bits and pieces. Can it be done in formal presentations also?
Amit Bansal answers, Limited usage of humor is good. Remember like I said before, presentation aids and your style of your presentation should not dilute the message of the presentation.

11MITTAL asked, Dear Amit could u pl explain the main points should be covered in a idle presentation
Amit Bansal answers, There is a famous saying about presentations… “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them and then tell them what you have told them”. Basically what it means is your presentation should have an ‘introduction’, ‘the main points of your presentation’ and a ‘summary’.

jk asked, Hi Amit, Is it good to add animation to the presentations or just the content of the presentation is enough
Amit Bansal answers, Limited, based on the content of the ppt. Animation should not hinder the retention of your presentation subject it should facilitate in its retention.

sunny asked, Amit, is it necessary yo male a ppt for every presentation you male? Can’t we just speak like we used yo in he days before ppt? I feel we can connect with the audience better if we don’t have a ppt
Amit Bansal answers, You sure can make a presentation without a ppt. But using some visual is important. You can use the flipchart or the white board instead of the ppt.

vk asked, sir how about two way communication or involvement of the audiance in the ppt? is it good?
Amit Bansal answers, It is extremely critical to involve the participants during a presentation. Interaction increases the success of your presentation.

Sangi asked, Hi Amit, give me some tips on how can i make my presentation interesting? specially while ppt has educative content for the audience.
Amit Bansal answers, Educational content should have a lot of analogies and stories. The concepts should always be explained in reference of their practical application. Educational presentations should be designed on the basis of experiential learning. Try keep minimum information on the slides and use a lot of visuals.

anil asked, What is the good way to narrate when you are giving the PP presentation. Many people just tend to read out the same stuff. How does one should make it really interesting. second question is even the experienced people though knowledgeable, get nervous. How to overcome that.
Amit Bansal answers, Knowing your content is the best reflector of your confidence. However to enhance your presentations, keep the information on the slide deck minimum to avoid the temptation of reading the slides. Use more visual notes so that as a presenter you also remember what you have to say on this particular slide. Use a stories, analogies, statistics, graphs or anything that will make your listeners interested in what you have to say.

kurup asked, Hi, my speaking English is bad. When present i feel people not got what i say. No problem when i speak my mother tongue. But if i must increase business i need tp deal with English customer. How can i be better?
Amit Bansal answers, I suggest work consciously on improving your English communication. Read, listen, speak and write in English to improve.

Ashutosh asked, How much of animation do you think should be used for presentations?
Amit Bansal answers, What ever animation or graphics you use, ensure it does not dilute the subject of your presentation. It should enhance your presentation and the retention of the content. Keep it simple. You can have one animation per slide for one idea. Sometimes you may replace an animation with a one liner or bullet points. Like I said before, keep it simple.

smitha asked, Is there any standard ratio in the amount of content we put in presentation and the content we speak while conducting a presentation?
Amit Bansal answers, You slide deck should act as notes for you. A lot of presenters use only one liners or pictures as a descriptor to what they will say. They don’t even use bullet points. Now that’s totally dependent on how comfortable you presenting. However, when deciding how to distribute content on your slides, 20% of your presentation should go as bullet points on slides and 80% of your presentation should be what you speak.

Ashutosh asked, For Conference Presentations is it best to start with something humorous or get to the point strictly.
Amit Bansal answers, In most presentations humor works very well. But never overdo it. It should not overshadow the purpose of the presentation.

sandesh asked, Hi Amit, i find presentations very boring. Most of them put me to sleep. This is why im scared to make presentations as om not sure if anyone is listening. How can you make presentations interesting
Amit Bansal answers, Well in that case, you should attend to presentations consciously and look for things that may interest you. Not all presentations are boring. You can also watch some power presentations on youtube or where you can take ideas to make your presentations powerful.

ss asked, which is a better approach? to include pointers or write complete sentence?
Amit Bansal answers, On a ppt always include bullet points. Do not have too many bullet points. A maximum of 5 bullet points are good or else it becomes too much information for an audience to grasp. Using visuals makes the presentation not only appealing but it also increases the retention of information given to the audience.

Adman asked, Hi Amit, I work as a Junior sales exec in a pharma company. Presenting my company products to probable customers iz apart ofmy job.but i get tensed wiyh every presentation and sometimes mixup my lines. Can you please give me some advice on how to be effective
Amit Bansal answers, It’s a very good idea to rehearse your presentation. There are some people who even record themselves before a presentation to get the final output right. You can do a similar activity to ensure you are absolutely comfortable before delivering a session. Remember you will need to put this extra effort only a few times before you master the art. Practice is the key!

surya asked, Hi Amit, is there any standard font for a presentation?
Amit Bansal answers, There are no specific fonts for presentations. You can choose an appropriate font depending on the topic of your presentation. However, keep it professional and legible. Like Times new roman, ariel, verdana. These are acceptable however you can experiment.



Chat Date: Feb 1, 2012


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