How To Make an Effective Presentation at Work (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Throughout your professional career, you can expect to communicate business and marketing information to a target audience. Captivating presentations keep an audience engaged with your message, and creating one shows excellent communication skills. If you work in marketing or business development, learning how to create compelling presentations can help you communicate a business message well. In this article, we discuss how to make an effective presentation, explain why business presentations are necessary, provide helpful presentation tips, and discuss presentation styles you may use.

How to make an effective presentation

Knowing how to make an effective presentation can help you discuss a business idea clearly. Follow these steps to present information at work:

1. Identify your audience

Understanding your target audience is an essential step to creating effective presentations because it can help you decide how to organize your presentation. It involves determining their demographics, such as age, location, and industry. For example, if you're presenting to marketers, you may use marketing terms and technical words. Alternatively, you want to use simple language to present information to nontechnical professionals.

2. Select a presentation method

Many marketers and business development professionals create digital presentations and slideshows. You may also use boards and paper fliers if you're presenting in person. If you plan to use software programs, it's important you select one that aligns with your purpose. For example, suppose young professionals comprise your audience. You can look for software applications that enable you to include visual aids in your presentation. Even if you're presenting digitally, consider having physical aspects, such as models or samples, for your audience to try.

3. Gather information and materials

Depending on your purpose for creating a presentation, you may need information from various sources. For example, suppose you're presenting a marketing strategy to potential customers. You may use statistics, graphs, and testimonials to support your claims. Similarly, if you're presenting a new business model, you may use research results and the industry's outlook to convince your viewers. Gathering the required information in advance can make creating a presentation more efficient.

4. Plan your presentation

Next, determine your presentation's structure. Consider how much time you have and how many individuals you may address. Reflect on ways to keep your listener's attention throughout the presentation and how to order your message. For example, if you're creating a digital presentation, you can arrange each slide in a logical sequence. Consider supporting the information on each slide with what you want to inform your audience and decide whether to use a laser pointer or microphone.

5. Organize a practice presentation

Before your presentation, consider practising to become more familiar with your message and identify the best way to communicate it. If possible, have a friend, family member, career coach, or mentor listen to your presentation in advance and request their feedback. They may offer advice on better ways to connect with your audience and provide recommendations on your presentation method.

6. Prepare what to wear

Whether you're delivering a presentation virtually or in person, it's important you dress appropriately. Prepare what to wear in advance, ensure it's clean and pressed, and ensure it fits you well. If various dress codes are acceptable for the presentation, you can select business casual clothing or something more formal. This helps present yourself professionally in any situation.

7. End by reiterating your message

Aim to leave a lasting impression on your audience with your closing statements. Reiterate the presentation's purpose and the information you shared. You can also answer a question you asked earlier and present a call to action, which encourages an audience to respond with a specific action.

Read more: How to End a Presentation

Why are business presentations important?

Presentations are essential because they can help communicate company goals and updates with an audience. It can also be useful for instructing or training team members. For example, you may present how to use a new marketing strategy in instructional presentations. Effective presentations can also persuade and facilitate decision-making, especially in collaborative work environments. For example, you may create presentations to discuss a business idea.

Tips for presenting business information to an audience

Here are the best practices for effectively conveying business information to a target audience:

Use visual tools

Pictures and videos can help you present information in a way your audience understands. When creating your presentation, identify concepts you can more easily explain with a visual aid and ensure they're high resolution. If you'd be using a projector, you can practise presenting the pictures and videos you select to evaluate how your audience would view them.

Be confident

Show confidence with how you address your listeners. During the presentation, you can use positive body language, such as gestures and facial expressions. Confidently discussing a business or marketing topic can encourage your audience to continue listening to your presentation.

Related: 15 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Show enthusiasm

Display your interest and passion for the topic you're presenting. Audiences typically prefer to listen to presenters who are genuinely passionate about sharing knowledge with others. You can be more enthusiastic with how you describe events or discuss concepts with them.

Maintain a speech pace

Whether you're presenting in person or digitally, it's important you choose a pace that enables your audience to understand your message. You can practise taking deep breathes and speaking clearly. Consider reducing your pace if you're explaining a technical concept for your audience to show attention to detail.

Related: 14 Strategies for Developing Your Oratory Skills

Consider isolating animations

If you use images to add humour to your presentation, consider including them on separate presentation slides. Separating animations and moving images can keep your viewers focused on what you're explaining. It can also convey professionalism in your presentation.

Limit presentation texts

Consider creating bullet points in your presentation so the audience can follow your thought process. Having less text can redirect their focus from your slideshow or visual aid to the information from you. It can also help to include diagrams, pictures, and videos that support your message.

Prioritize the audience's needs

Focus on what the audience can learn from the presentation. For example, if you're creating a presentation to promote a product or service, ensure you prioritize the value of these business offerings over the company's history. This makes understanding your audience more crucial.

Presentation styles to explore

Here are the most common ways to present information in business settings:

Coach

Coach-style presentations are useful for showing your enthusiasm about a topic. It involves presenting information, requesting regular feedback, and active listening to the audience. Active listening is the ability to focus on a speaker, understand their message, and reply appropriately. Coach-style presentations are suitable when presenting information at conferences or persuading the audience about a business's offerings.

Related: Active Listening Skills: A Key to Effective Communication in the Workplace

Connector

This presentation style involves highlighting traits or qualities you share with the audience. Listeners are typically more receptive to a message if they feel you understand their needs. Using a connector presentation style, you can include answer sessions and use gestures in presentations. It often requires you to be comfortable with your audience to develop a lasting connection with them.

Freeform

Freeform presentations require you to know the information you want to present without creating strict presentation rules or structures. If you want to use this style, consider creating only a few points about the topic and connecting with your audience. The freeform style is often suitable for improvised presentations. It typically requires you to rely on your knowledge about a business and its offerings during presentations.

Instructor

The instructor style may be suitable if you want to convey a technical message or persuade an audience to consider your views. It involves using several visual aids to help the audience conceptualize your message. If you want to use this style, reflect on balancing your focus on the topic and meeting the audience's needs.

Storytelling

Another way to connect with an audience is to use stories. This presentation style works when creating compelling presentations. It involves discussing an experience that aligns with the message in your presentation. The storytelling presentation style may be suitable for marketing and sales presentations. For example, you may start with a story or testimonial before marketing the product or service to your audience.

Visual

This presentation style focuses on engaging visual aids more than text. You can use it if you have extensive knowledge about the topic and are confident in your ability to connect with a target audience. Visual presentations may also be appropriate if you can more easily explain your message with colourful slides. For example, suppose you're promoting an ecology and wildlife business. You may prioritize having slides on local wildlife over texts.

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