Prepare Your Way to a Successful Presentation

Do you know how to write a compelling and engaging presentation, with quality content and an impactful conclusion?

The first step is to prepare an effective speech.

A speech requires three distinct parts to make it dynamic and easy to follow. The first part is an audience-grabbing introduction. Secondly, well-developed, logical, and flowing content, with supported ideas and statements. Finally, a memorable conclusion which provides a sense of closure.

To create a quality presentation, you start with a draft followed by a review of the draft and finally, a rewrite to revise, improve, polish, and refine the piece.

Develop an engaging introduction

Did you know that research shows that an audience bases more than 70% of their opinion on the first impression? So, it is paramount that you develop an engaging introduction which grabs the audience’s attention, makes a good impression, is sincere and leaves your listeners with no doubt about your message.

To develop an interesting introduction, keep it brief, no more than 10%-15% of total speech. Use visual language by using word pictures with vivid adjectives and verbs. Keep to your purpose. Make it suit your audience. Learn the different ways to begin a presentation.

Develop quality content

Eighty percent of your speech is the body of your presentation. While the introduction and conclusion are general, the body of the piece is specific, and each paragraph contains one point only.

When expressing your ideas, select information from your brainstorming session which achieves your purpose, is relevant to the topic and suits your audience. Support the points that you make with examples, proof-source, or statistics.

Maintain your ideas in a logical order which may be one of the following:

  • Chronological
  • Cause and effect
  • Problems and solutions
  • Geographical
  • The interrogatives (who, what, where, when why and how).

When developing your paragraphs, use linking sentences to form the body or middle content of your speech. In this way, you will make the piece flow smoothly.

The amount of material you include will depend on the length of the speech. For example, a three to five-minute speech has a maximum of three ideas.

Develop an impactful conclusion

An effective conclusion will signal the end of the speech, reinforce your message, and provide a sense of closure.

Types of conclusions include:

  • Summary
  • Call to action
  • Quotation, short story, or anecdote
  • Rhetorical question
  • Deduction

You can develop an effective conclusion by linking your conclusion to your introduction. Make sure that you do not present new information or ideas in the conclusion. Only review points, do not add to them. End with a bang, not a whimper, make it memorable. Grab your audience as at the start. Keep to your purpose. Finally, do not forget to tailor the conclusion to your audience.

Review, revise, redraft

Read your first draft and ask: Does it meet the stated purpose? Is it suitable for the audience and occasion? If not, edit and rewrite it. You may have to redraft several times.

When editing your draft, especially your final draft, the following is essential:

  • Only keep material which meets your purpose. If it is not relevant to the speech, omit it. Have well-balanced content; each idea developed to the same length as others. Maintain a logical order, construct linking sentences, so each new idea, flows smoothly from the previous one. Remember to make sure your presentation meets any time requirements.

By preparing and redrafting a speech, which contains an engaging introduction, provides balanced, logical, supported, content, and includes an impactful conclusion, you create a presentation that stays in the minds of your audience long after they leave.

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