Presenting your knowledge, experience or simply sharing useful information is neither an art nor magic.
It is a skill developed through practice and lots of exposure to a real-time audience.
It is not the slides or the data that you present, but your idea has to reach through to the audience. It should not just help them understand, it must compel them to implement the process or idea and see its value.
Let me share my experience and suggestions by taking my presentation as a reference:
My topic is “Usability Testing”. Usability testing’s main aim is to observe people using the product to discover errors and areas of improvement. But Usability testing is not treated as a compulsory part of QA process.
Here is how I will go about this preparing for the presentation:
#1) What is my presentation all about?
A successful presentation should provide the audience some value. It should teach, inform, simplify, introduce, compare, etc. while engaging the audience.
Usability testing is a well-known form of testing and is expensive too. It is usually ignored in many testing projects because it is viewed as yet another step that will delay the product timelines. So, my aim when I present on this topic should be to convince my audience of how easy it is to perform usability tests and their advantages. If I can do that, my presentation would be a success.
#2) Understand your audience:
Consider these aspects:
#3) Content- What are you going to say that will fortify your presentation aim?
Make your case. Keep things to the point and think about engaging ways to say it. Here are some tips:
Tip #i: Include images/graphical content to drive the point home.
Tip #ii: Keep it short, simple and lively: Don’t write all you are going to say on the slides. Use it as a guide and you do the talking.
Tip #iii: Avoid getting into intricate or complex ideas, statistics or data because it will make your audience uncomfortable and intimidated. Ease your way in. Simplify.
At the end of the Usability testing presentation, I have included links for more information can be found, so advanced users can further their learning and the new users don’t get turned off.
Tip #iv: Have fun and connect with your audience. For example, the below might be a situation that everyone must have encountered.
Also, when I did my usability testing presentation I have included the video recording of a real participant using the application for testing it. It shows the screen, the app, and the user’s facial expressions. This is a great way to show that the end user behaviour and helps in reaching your audiences in a simple yet impactful manner.
Tip #v: Feel free to experiment and try something new
Tip #vi: Research thoroughly. There is nothing more embarrassing than being the presenter and not able to justify your ideas. Become an authority on the topic, if you can.
Once you have your entire material ready, it is time to make the presentation- The D-day. :) This is how I go about it.
#4) Practise and practise some more. “Practise makes a man perfect”- well, there is some truth to this.
Understand that you audience will have different levels of knowledge and that you have to make it easy to understand for everyone. So, go over your material as many times as it takes until you are absolutely sure of yourself.
#5) Be Positive:
Stay calm and composed. Stand straight and take deep breaths J I know, we all need it. Be polite throughout the presentation (and after too helps).
#6) Time to Present: How to start it? Start on a happy and interesting note.
Be energetic, excited, open and comfortable. Feel like the host and own it. May be even include a funny image (like the dog one above), share a silly story, pose a question, take a poll, play a game, conduct a quiz or get straight to it.
There is no one right way, but an optimistic beginning can make a ton of difference and can make the ‘Presenter’, ‘Presentation’ and ‘tool/process/technology’ remembered.
#7) Make eye-contact.
This makes the audience feel included and not as if you are delivering a monologue.
#8) Watch your Volume, Pace, and Pitch:
Achieving the perfect combination of all three is hard, but try. Too loud, too fast, too shrill- not going to cut it.
#9) Plan to answer questions:
Anticipate questions and keep your answers ready. You might not be able to answer every question, in which case note the question and the contact info (email) of the person who has asked the question and get back to them promptly.
#10) Close with confidence and conviction:
Don’t let your presentation drag or end abruptly. Bring it all to a closing point smoothly. Point to additional resources and give your contact details, if anyone wants to know more about the topic.
Also, do not forget to thank your audience for their presence and take feedback to understand if your content for useful and has served them.
#11) Enjoy the accolades.
Further reading =>
About the author: This is a guest post by Sushma S. She is currently working as a Senior Software Test Engineer in an MNC.
In conclusion, some are natural speakers and presenters. Others, like me, have to work on it. These are my tips on making an effective presentation. What are yours?