Meeting Presentation Tips
Public speaking is difficult enough for many people without having to prepare and organize a work-related presentation that requires you to talk while managing visual aids and keeping track of the time.
Whether you are making a presentation to co-workers, a committee or the public, you want to make an impression with your audience that inspires belief in your credibility and confidence in the information you share. Instead of just surviving your presentation, make it a success by reviewing a few practical, effective meeting presentation ideas.
Plan and Practice
Plan every aspect of your presentation to maintain control during the meeting, recommends Skills You Need.com. Create an outline for how you will approach and explain your subject. Understand your audience, keeping in mind the meeting participants who will attend via telephone or other remote access.
Consider the time allotted for your presentation as you plan your talk, recommends conference software maker, Ex Ordo. Determine the information and materials you need to convey your information and plan for a question-and-answer period.
Use a timer to practice your presentation –including any equipment, such as a projector – to become comfortable with the material, the tools and the speaking pace you need to complete the presentation in the allotted time. A checklist of to-do items and a list of items you need to take to the presentation helps ensure success.
Technology and Visual Aids
Use meeting presentation software, slides or tools like PowerPoint or Keynote to coordinate the different elements of your presentation. These programs -- which allow you to create files, calendars and other useful planning tools -- are especially helpful if your presentation is a team effort and file sharing helps with the collaborative effort.
Visual aids, such as slides and handouts, engage your audience and convey information through the use of images and limited text. A well-designed PowerPoint presentation, which can be posted online after the presentation, grabs the audience's interest and reflects your presentation skills.
Use charts, lists or other formats to summarize the data and highlight important points. Slide presentations should include a title page, an introduction to your subject and two or three items per slide. Provide materials to remote participants ahead of time.
Delivering the Presentation
Arrive early and set up your materials and equipment. Introduce yourself to the audience, and provide background for why you are making the presentation. Adopt a speaking style that is natural for you and avoid long, wordy sentences and jargon. Speak at a relaxed, unhurried pace and ease into your presentation, keeping track of time and remaining mindful that you are always making an impression on the audience.
Maintain good posture, use professional language, exhibit enthusiasm about your subject and avoid missteps, such as chewing gum, reading continuously from documents and failing to make eye contact with audience members. Approach the question-and-answer period as an occasion to relax and speak more informally with participants.
Virtual and Telephone Meetings
While the same tips help you prepare and deliver your presentation at virtual and telephone meetings, you need to plan for elements that are specific to these venues. Your presentation delivery and materials will differ from that used at an in-person meeting.
Anticipate connectivity problems and learn how to quickly correct them. Send detailed instructions and reminders, and provide access to presentation materials ahead of time. Make sure your environment is free of distractions and interruptions. Have an assistant help with presentation materials during the meeting.
Telephone and virtual meetings require a more intentional approach to inclusion. Ask often if there are questions, and provide play-by-play descriptions as you move through your presentation, remembering that attendees cannot interpret visual cues, such as body language.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.