There's nothing more nerve-wracking than having a big presentation coming up and feeling unprepared. Public speaking can be difficult. Not feeling ready makes it even more of a trial.
If you want to calm those nerves and wow your audience, then it's a good idea to understand the basics of creating attention-getting presentations.
In this guide, I'll share 10 presentation steps that'll walk you through how to prepare for a presentation from start to finish. So, you can feel confident when preparing to give a presentation.
Find Premium Presentation Slides on Envato Elements
One way to save time in the presentation preparation phase is to use a premium template to design your slides. This will help you feel secure about how your presentation looks, even if design skills aren't your core strength.
A great place to find templates when preparing to give a presentation is Envato Elements. This marketplace has a great offer you can grab today. Download as many premium PowerPoint presentation templates as you want, all for one low price.
This offer includes other items you can use to make your presentations stand out, like stock photos, graphics, icons, and more.
The great thing about using premium design elements for your presentations is that they're well supported by the creators, are compatible with major software and apps, and are kept up to date.
Get More PowerPoint Presentation Templates on GraphicRiver
Envato Elements is an excellent resource if you've got plenty of presentations to do. But if you need a single presentation template for one-off use, try GraphicRiver.
GraphicRiver is a great option if you prefer to pay as you go, and choose a single PowerPoint presentation template each time you need to create a new presentation.
How to Prepare a Good Presentation
Now, let's look at 10 key steps in preparing a presentation, covering everything from topic selection to delivering your presentation:
1. Choose the Right Topic
One of the most important presentation preparation tips is to pick the right topic for your presentation. You've got a few choices that'll give you a head start on wowing your audience. For example, you can:
- Choose a topic you're passionate about. This will make it easy to give an animated and appealing presentation.
- Pick your topic based on your knowledge and skills, so that you can wow your audience with the information you include.
- Do a data-driven presentation based on the latest statistics on a topic of interest, plus your expert opinion or conclusions.
- Select a presentation topic that relates to your business goals, such as reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) or revenue.
2. Know Your Audience
Another important step in presentation preparation is to know your audience. Your presentation plan will be completely different depending on whether audience members are novices or experts in your topic. Understanding who you're presenting to helps you select appropriate data and anecdotes to convey your topic.
If you're presenting to the C-suite, you'll want to keep your presentation short and focused to avoid wasting their time. Learn more about executive presentations in the following article:
- PresentationsHow to Give a Presentation to Senior Management & Executives in 2021 (+ Expert Tips)Sharon Hurley Hall
The next tip in our series of presentation steps is to brainstorm. This can be something you do on your own or with others. Either way, note down initial ideas and inspiration for your presentation. Use tools like mind mapping to connect related concepts.
By the end of this process you'll have a clearer idea of the intended focus of your presentation and can move onto the next stage.
4. Do Your Research
If you're thinking about how to prepare a great presentation, one of the key elements that separates good business presentations from the rest is research. Once you know your topic, you can search for supporting information such as:
- recent news or features
- the latest statistics (taken from reliable sources like .gov and .edu industry reports, and Google Dataset Search)
- relevant quotations
Once you've got that information, you're ready for the next step.
5. Plan Your Presentation
Now it's time to put your presentation plan together. This is where you bring together ideas from your brainstorm and information from your research and organize them into a rough outline.
A good way to do this is with headings for different parts of your presentation and bullet points with facts, quotes, and stats. By the end of this process, you'll have a pretty good idea of the content of your slides.
6. Draft/Write Your Presentation
Of course, creating a presentation isn't just about the slides. Use the outline you've created to draft the spoken part of your presentation. It's good to start with an overview of what your presentation will cover. Get it right, and this will whet your audience's appetite and make them pay attention.
Plan your introduction to draw your audience in. Using a story, or an unusual fact or stat can help with this. Plan your conclusion, too. It's helpful to know where you're headed so you can steer your presentation the right way.
Use storytelling throughout to keep your audience's attention. Don't be concerned if the final spoken presentation is a little different from your prepared outline. The outline is a guide, but you'll know what you need to include or exclude as you start to polish the actual presentation.
- SlideShareHow to Write Great Pitch Decks (With Powerful Storytelling Techniques)Brenda Barron
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Tell Effective Visual Stories in Your PowerPoint PresentationsAndrew Childress
That's part of the reason you don't always need to create your slides at the outline stage. Instead, update that initial outline based on what your ACTUAL presentation will be. Then it's time for slide preparation (PPT templates, as you'll see, will be a big asset for the next stage).
7. Design Your Presentation Slides
Wondering how to prepare your presentation with minimum hassle? Use a premium presentation template from Envato Elements to get a harmonious design. This means you can focus on your content, rather than worrying about needing graphic design skills. Remember, you can download unlimited PowerPoint presentation templates from Envato Elements, all for one low price.
Here are some other useful presentation preparation tips:
- Don't overdo the font choice. A single heading font and a single body font will be fine for most presentations.
- Choose your fonts carefully. Some fonts look attractive on your computer but are hard to read.
- Pay attention to font size. You'll need to make sure that even someone who's at the back of the room can read your slides.
- Avoid walls of text. They make slides hard to read and is pretty off-putting. A wall of text is a sure way to lose your audience.
- Make one key point per slide. Have a few supporting bullet points.
- Use charts, graphics, images, and quotes. They can help make your points and keep your audience's attention.
For more presentation creation tips, check out our in-depth PowerPoint tutorial: How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
8. Expect Questions
Once your main presentation is ready, there's one more way to make your presentation great. That's to prepare for questions. To do this:
- Think about what people might ask about your presentation content and be ready with answers.
- Consider how to deliver your presentation to lead people to ask certain questions that you're prepared for.
- Prepare an answer for when you've got no answer so that you're not left floundering.
9. Practice the Presentation
When you're happy with your slides and have prepared for questions, it's time for some presentation practice. This is where you do a complete run-through of your presentation, with both your presentation script and the slides.
As you practice, pay attention to anything that doesn't flow, or is hard to say. Edit both your script and your presentation slides to remove these items. You don't want to be stumbling over your words on the day.
Some people prefer to practice alone but consider using a few friends or trusted colleagues as a test audience. It's a good way to make sure your material is clear and easy to understand.
Keep practicing till you feel you know your material inside out. This will help you deliver a polished presentation when it's time.
To learn more about presenting in public, read our public speaking guide:
10. Prepare the Room
When thinking about how to practice for a presentation, there's one element some people overlook: the presentation space. If it's possible, check it out well before it's time for you to present.
One thing to pay attention to is the presentation equipment. Whether you're using a laptop and screen, a projector and screen, or some other piece of technology, get familiar with the presentation technology so you can ensure it'll work as expected.
And if you're able to book rehearsal time, take advantage of it. If you do, there won't be any surprises on the day.
Learn More About How to Prepare Your Presentation
Now you know how to prepare a good presentation, but don't stop there. Find even more useful presentation preparation tips in the following guides and tutorials:
- PresentationsThe Complete Guide to Making Great Business Presentations in 2021Laura Spencer
- PresentationsHow to Write a Professional PowerPoint Presentation (Discover the Writing Process)Brad Smith
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Write, Format, & Give a Great Business Presentation Report 2020Sarah Joy
- Microsoft PowerPoint15+ Top Presentation Design Trends to Create Cool PowerPoint PPTs 2021Andrew Childress
Find More Presentation Templates
Are you still looking for the right presentation template? Find great templates for any type of presentation in the following roundups:
- Presentations20 Best Free Corporate PowerPoint Templates Company PPT Presentations 2021Sharon Hurley Hall
- Microsoft PowerPoint25+ Best Premium PowerPoint PPT Templates to Download for 2021 PresentationsSharon Hurley Hall
- Presentations20 Best Free News & Newspaper PowerPoint Templates (PPT Slides for 2021)Barni Rajah
Start Your Presentation Preparation
Now, it's your turn to prepare a presentation. You've learned some key presentation steps, including the importance of developing a presentation plan as well as the importance of presentation practice. You're ready to get started.
Don't forget. You can find attractive PowerPoint presentation templates on Envato Elements. And, for one-off use, you can also choose from the presentation templates on GraphicRiver. Check out the best PowerPoint templates available today.
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