Awesome Presentations

The ultimate guide to creating amazing presentations

Emma Cullen30 of November, 2017

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At Mentimeter we love great presentations, and want to help you create them! This guide will show you how to do just that! Often, creating a whole presentation from start to finish and the presenting it can seem like a daunting challenge. That's why we put together this guide that will help take you from your idea to the stage!

Introduction

Understanding how to plan, create and execute a presentation is an important skill to have and essential for success as a student, a teacher or in the workplace. In fact, at some point in your life, you will probably need to do some sort of presentation. However, despite the regularity and importance of presentations, this modern practice is rarely formally taught in the mainstream. At Mentimeter, you could say that we are experts in presenting and presentations. We have put together all of our knowledge on presenting to create this guide. You can select the links below to read one particular section, or read through the whole guide for in-depth knowledge. If you find the article useful, please share it with someone else - it might really help them too!

Guide Contents:

How to plan your presentation

So, you have to create a presentation to present in front of an audience. There are numerous different situations that may require a presentation; from board meetings with a few people to lectures in front of hundreds of people. Whatever the occasion, a great presentation always starts with great planning. This is how you plan for an awesome presentation that will impress your audience.

Choose your presentation topic

Firstly, choose a topic for the presentation. If you already have a topic, then skip this part.

Spend time over choosing what you want to talk about, as well as the message you want to get across. There are many different ways that you can present a topic, so consider the different aspects that you want to touch upon.

If you are unsure of which topic to choose, go for something that you already know about. This will not only make the research and planning stages of your presentation easier, but you will more than likely feel more comfortable presenting a familiar topic in front of an audience.

Researching your topic

Next, you should thoroughly research the topic you plan to talk about, and also the type of presentation you will have. Spend time reading around the subject and make notes as you go. As you research your topic you may be able to start visualizing how your presentation will look.

Create a presentation structure

Now it’s time to set the structure for your presentation. The structure of your presentation can make or break its success. A poorly structured presentation can leave your audience confused and missing out on the core elements of your message. On the other hand, a well-structured presentation can create an enjoyable and memorable presentation for your audience where they will learn a lot of new things.

Once you have a clear structure you will also have a clearer idea of how long your presentation will be. If you already have a set time limit, keep this in mind. If not, remember that shorter and more concise is better than long and rambling; people can only stay focused for so long!

You can also use this structure in your presentation as an adgenda for your audience. You can do this easily with Mentimeter Quick Slides, as demonstrated in the image below:

Presentation agenda

Now you should have the bare bones of your presentation, it’s time to start bulking it out. Think about what information and resources such as images or other visuals you will need. Then it’s time to start building your presentation for real!

How to create your presentation

Now that you have spent some serious time planning your presentation, it will be a lot easier to create. This section looks more in-depth about how to build your presentation and focuses on creating the presentation script, slides with some tips on design, text and images.

Creating a presentation script

First, you should create the script that you want to use for your presentation. This should include everything you want to say and in which order. Depending on what type of person you are, you might want to create the script in different ways. For example, some people want to create a detailed script that they can learn off by heart, whereas other only need a few bullet points and are happy to improvise the rest. Use whichever method suits you best. Creating the script before your slides is important at it will create a high-quality, content-driven presentation, rather than a beautiful but poorly researched one. Remember to incorporate all the notes and information you collected during the planning stage into your script.

Creating your presentation slides

Now it’s time to create your presentation slides. Seeing as you have already done all the research and have created your script, you can now really focus on creating beautiful presentation slides that will amaze your audience.

Written content

Your presentation slides will most probably contain some text. Do not be tempted to add your whole presentation script to your slides. This will make your slides look cramped and might cause you to read directly off your slides instead of engaging and talking to your audience. Instead, add some important points, numbers, quotes or other important snippets of information that will enhance your audience’s viewing experience.

Once you are happy with the written content, ask someone to proofread it, or at least make sure you have spell-checked it. Once your presentation is up on up on a giant screen, any mistakes will look very visible!

Tip: One of my personal favourite tools for correcting spelling and grammar is Grammarly. It's easy to use and very thorough!

Design elements

Design, of course, is a very important aspect of your presentation slides. Here are some of our core design tips that will help you to create a beautiful presentation:

  • If you are representing your organization, make sure that your presentation follows brand guidelines where possible.

  • Less is more, don’t overcrowd your slides with too many images and too much text

  • Make sure that your font is readable! Avoid over-the-top fonts or - bright fonts that are difficult to read

  • Ensure that you only use high-resolution images in order to avoid pixelation

  • Use graphs and charts where appropriate

  • Limit any text transitions and animations, if applicable

  • Use a consistent design throughout your presentation

You can easily make your presentations looks great with Mentimeter. Mentimeter has a number of different themes to choose from and with easy formatting, it can be easy to create a presentation that really elevates your content. For example, just a Quick Slide to highlight a quote, as shown below:

General - Mentimeter 3

Finding images that you are allowed to use can sometimes be a difficult task when creating a presentation. First, you should check with your organization to see if they have any guidelines or images that you can use (they might even have a subscription to a stock photo library). Alternatively, there are a number of different online resources where you can access and use thousands of free photos.

Tip: Unsplash is a great source of beautiful photos that you can use for free. Many of the images we use on the blog are sourced from there.

How to add interactivity to your presentation

We believe that the audience should be involved in your presentation through active engagement. Mentimeter makes it really easy for you to involve your audience with interactive presentations. Add icebreakers, opinion polls, quizzes and much more to your presentations. The audience can than interact with you directly from their smartphones!

For example, at the end of your presentation you can do a short quiz to test your audience to see if they listened and understood your presentation!

General - Mentimeter 4

Take a look at the list below for a list of some of our best resources that will help you to create amazing interactive presentations:

20 interactive icebreakers for conferences Free interactive presentation templates What great presenters do that others don’t

How to practice your presentation

Awesome job! You now have created your presentation, but that’s just half the job! Now it’s time for you to start preparing for the live event. Give yourself plenty of time to practice and ensure that your presentation performance is the best that it can be.

Improve your public speaking

Public speaking can take a lifetime to master, but there are a few simple steps you can take to improve your speaking on stage and look like a total pro! These include creating great content, connecting with your audience and practising your presentation plenty before you go on stage.

How to minimize any nerves

Some nerves and adrenaline can be useful on stage and enhance your performance. However, if you find that your nerves take over and hinder your ability to present, then this section is for you. These tips will help you keep calm and perform at 110%!

  • Try to establish the source of your nerves. Are you worried that something is going to go wrong? Do big crowds make you nervous? By finding the root of your nerves, you can take steps to try and calm your nerves

  • Before you start presenting, take some deep breaths to help you relax

  • Have a glass of water to drink if you need it

  • Take some presentation notes with you that you can refer to if you need to

  • Have someone that supports you in the crowd; it can help you feel more at ease.

How to get feedback during practice

Testing out your presentation before you present it live can be a great way to tweak and change anything, and also get good feedback. There are a couple of different ways you can collect feedback, namely: self-critique and feedback from your peers. These sections explore this in more detail.

Give yourself feedback

You can time and film yourself whilst practising your presentation. By doing this, you can look back on the recorded footage and do some self-critique. When watching the video of yourself performing, think about some of the following:

  • How is your speaking pace? Is it too fast? Too slow?

  • Does your presentation make sense?

  • Have you explained everything clearly?

  • Does your presentation look good?

  • Are you making eye contact with the audience, or are you looking down at your notes or presentation too much?

  • Are you speaking clearly?

  • Do you look relaxed or too tense?

Do a test run in front of an audience

Perform in front of a test group of people and ask for their honest feedback. You can take any feedback they give you and you can use it to improve your presentation before you host it live. If you are concerned that you will not get honest feedback, use this Mentimeter template to collect anonymous feedback from your test group. This feedback can be very useful in order to improve your presentation whilst also learning what the audience wants

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 11.54.07

Test out the stage and tech equipment

If possible, try to practice your presentation on the stage or environment where you will be presenting live. This will give you the chance to test out any technical equipment that you might be using such as microphones or projectors. You will also be able to get a clearer idea of what it will be like to perform in that environment and might help to calm any nerves. This will also give you some ideas on how you can improve your presentation specifically for the environment you will be presenting in.

Before your presentation

On the big day of your presentation make sure you’re ready for an amazing performance. Get plenty of sleep the night before and make sure you have a good breakfast. Create a checklist of things you need to remember to do before you present to make sure you’re ready!

During your presentation

It’s time to present! You should feel prepared to "wow" your audience with all your hard work. Make sure you take a look at this blog post we created to help you look like a professional when presenting on stage. You’ve got this!

10 things you can do to be a star on stage at your next conference

After your presentation

Great job, you hosted your presentation! High five!

giphy (3)

Whilst you are looking back on your achievement, there are some things that you can do to in order to finish on the right note.

Give thanks

Make sure that you thank your audience for listening and to everyone who helped you out during your presentation. This will make them feel appreciated.

Collecting feedback

You can also ask for feedback on your presentation in order to help you improve in the future. You can do this in a number of different ways:

  • Speak to audience members after your presentation in order to hear their feedback

  • If possible, send out an email survey to those who attended

  • At the end of your presentation collect anonymous feedback live with Mentimeter:

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 11.46.28

Write down your thoughts and feelings after you presented

By writing down some of your thoughts and feelings after the presentation can be useful in order to help you process your achievement and can be a fun thing to look back on later to see how you felt. It’s also useful to assess whether you enjoyed the experience or not and why.

What’s next?

If you enjoyed presenting, then there are a lot of different resources and opportunities for you to improve your presentation skills.

Mentimeter provides a great platform for you to quickly and easily build interactive presentations with lots of templates and resources to help you look like a star on stage!

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Posted by Emma Cullen30 of November, 2017
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