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Since the dawn of business, giving an effective presentation has proven to be one of the fundamental elements of success. After all, persuading customers, partners, or others to make a decision is the sign of an effective salesperson or executive. Presentations have evolved over the centuries, becoming more robust and leveraging the latest technology to convey a particular topic. But technology lies at the heart of one of the most vexing problems with presentations today: They have become gimmicky and filled with irrelevant fluff.
Many presenters have become captivated by the technology available for presentations. Modern presentation tools have made it so easy to plummet off the deep-end (for lack of a better phrase) with effects. Focusing on nifty tricks and visual aids often come at the cost of clearly presenting important content and creates the risk of watering down the critical message delivered.
Advanced tools and capabilities certainly have their place in a presentation, but those effects should be used conservatively and should not distract from the message at hand. When building presentations, you can simplify the process by following some basic rules and rein in your internal Spielberg to deliver a presentation that is high on substance and low on gimmicks:
Use the Proper Equipment: Most presentations involve equipment of some type, either a projector, large display, slides created on a color printer, or simply a laptop computer. Regardless of what equipment you use, it should be reliable and provide a professional tone. For example, don’t expect a presentation to be taken seriously if you use a beat-up projector with poor resolution or a large display that has lots of dead pixels, or even color handouts that are smeared or otherwise low quality. Invest in professional equipment if you want professional results.
If you’re bringing your own device or doing an on-site pitch, always plan to arrive early to set up and test your equipment and test your connections. No one wants to watch you take 10 minutes to get the technology ready for a presentation.
Focus: Organize the presentation so that it focuses on the issue at hand. No one likes a presentation that rambles. Rambling is an indication that the speaker is both self-indulgent and unorganized and leads listeners to mentally shut you down and lose interest. Always create an outline beforehand and practice your presentation for length and flow, paying particular attention to the time you’ll spend per slide. Identify a concise number of takeaways (usually three to five) that you want to communicate to your audience.
Enhance with technology: You can incorporate media, such as audio or video into the presentation to further entice audience members. Other technological aspects to consider include incorporating interactive technology, such as screencasting or screen sharing so that live demonstrations can be part of the experience.
Use stories: Tell stories that captivate the attention of the audience, make sure those stories illustrate the key discussion points to make the presentation much more memorable.
Leave something behind: Although handouts are always a good idea, presenters should go beyond that by recording the presentation with a unified approach. That way audio, video, and interactions are preserved for later playback, creating a record of the presentation that will live beyond the moment.
Although presentation technology has come a long way, much of the heavy lifting to create an engaging and effective presentation is still up to the presenter. Organize your materials first to ensure you get your key points across, then create a base presentation. Finally, kick your presentation into high gear with rich visuals, such as charts or videos. In other words, start with a substantive foundation and then enhance the presentation.
Using technology for just the sake of technology and viewing it as the end is usually a recipe for disaster. However, when professional technology is used in an appropriate manner, presentations can become memorable and can effectively forward a narrative to the proper conclusion.
One advantage that the latest technology offers comes in the forms of portability and reusability. Presentations can now take on many different forms, ranging from web-based, to live in-person, to prerecorded sessions — all built using the same base materials. These base materials can create presentation dynamics that were unheard of or unseen 10 years ago. What’s more, the technology behind presentations has created an opportunity to be more interactive with the audience by introducing polling questions along the way and interjecting live comments, such as tweets or other social media feeds.
One thing is certain, presentations are sure to remain a key part of businesses, but making those presentations memorable and creating a lasting impression takes more than just technology. Learn more about the latest display technology and other solutions for your Small, Medium or Corporate business by visiting: Epson Business Solutions for Corporate or see the lineup of solutions for Small-Medium Businesses here.
This article was originally published here.