Making Effective Presentations
Although you have consistent key prevention advocacy talking points that you want to convey, every presentation is different because every audience is different. Some rules of thumb are included here to help you make the most of your presentations, regardless of the audience.
Always plan ahead before you present.
- If you are not familiar with the venue, visit it ahead of time. If a site visit isn’t possible, speak with your contact to get a description of the stage, seating, etc.
- Determine what type of audio, video and Internet capability is available, and which of these you will need for your presentation, if any.
- Find out how many are expected in the audience. If you are planning to offer handouts, make sure you have duplicated a large enough quantity for the planned attendance.
- If you are presenting with a PowerPoint or other electronic presentation, prepare a back-up copy on a USB flash drive to bring with you, just in case.
If you are meeting with a small group of people or even just one person, it still pays to plan ahead, even if you are simply meeting in a conference room.
- Think about how you should tailor your presentation material for a smaller group. Decide which A/V tools, if any, you will want to use.
- Prepare packets of information to leave behind.
- Make sure you bring your business cards.
Know your audience.
- Determine who is most likely to attend your presentation and tailor your remarks to them. Incorporate examples that are relative to their concerns. For example, if you are speaking to a group of business owners, work stoppage, lost profits, etc., will be relevant. For policymakers you might want to focus on the potential for injury, lost tax revenue, and community blight.
- Make special arrangements if appropriate. For example, you may want to use handouts in large-print format if you are speaking to a group of senior citizens.
Outline your remarks.
Even if you have discussed this topic many times, it’s beneficial to review your talking points and go over your presentation notes. Think about changes that make sense for this particular presentation. Are there current economic conditions or news of the day that helps put your points in context? Can you discuss a recent fire loss as an example?
Once you know what you want to say, outline your presentation. Bring your notes with you (most presenters favor 3×5 note cards) and don’t try to memorize a long presentation.
Who can assist by adding impact to your presentation to a target audience? Bring along an advocate who can uniquely help you reach the audience with his or her powerful story.
Make sure you leave time for questions and answers.
There are many online resources that can help you improve presentations. Here are some suggestions:
IFSTA Resource One
Safe Kids Training Academy
Mr. Media Training: 25 Most Essential Public Speaking Tips