Have you ever been asked to give a presentation? I was recently asked to give a presentation by the principal of my kids school. At first, I picked up the phone, thinking some bad news was going to be shared with me.
Did something happen to my kids?
But, no, he was asking if I could put together a presentation (which might be bad news as well!) about what civil engineers do, what a day is like, what could they do now to prepare for that, salary, etc. At first, I took my anxiety meter down a few notches, and then I said that’d be great. I’ll work on one.
So today I wanted to chat about presentations. Maybe you’ve given one at work (you will sometime if you haven’t), maybe you are presenting at a conference, or maybe you’ve been asked by someone at your kids' school to present on something and you’re up for the challenge.
Maybe I should be asking if you’ve ever wanted to craft an amazing presentation?
Well, today’s newsletter will help you do just that. Consider it a sweet career tip for you.
Writing a great presentation requires more than just sticking to the basics. It requires crafting a message that’s clear, concise, and grabs the audience’s attention.
It’s not just about how much experience you have or how many books you’ve written — it’s about how effectively you can deliver your message and hold the audience’s attention. The ideas must flow, and they must be organized in an engaging way for them to stand out from the crowd. It takes practice, but with the right tips and techniques, it can be done!
- Be Realistic About Timing
Timing is everything in writing. You must plan ahead to ensure that your ideas are heard and your presentation is as effective as possible. Be realistic about when you want to deliver your presentation. Don’t be late to give it, understand how long you have, and give it a practice run to check how long it might take to get through.
- Know Your Audience
First impressions matter and knowing the audience for your presentation could make or break things. Am I presenting to 9th graders or am I presenting to experienced engineers? If you choose the wrong audience, your presentation might sound robotic and dry. On the other hand, if you choose the right audience, then all the elements that made your previous presentations successful will easily flow from one to the next. You’ll have the audience’s attention, they’ll be engaged, and you’ll have a great chance of making an impression – maybe even laughing.
- Be Organized
Organize your thoughts. If you have a lot to say and don’t know where to start, then a note or two or a list will do the trick. Even if you don’t write things down, the ideas will still come to you in an organized way. Having an outline for your presentation will help you stay focused and avoid getting side-tracked.
- Show, Don’t just tell
If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to use your presentation to show more than just tell the story. Don’t kill people with bullet points and information. Some people go so far as to just have pictures with a few works. Your audience will remember your ideas, not just your words. Therefore, you must use your presentation to encourage the audience to think and question what they’re being told. You must use your visuals, sound effects, and transitions to guide the audience’s thoughts and make a case for your ideas.
In a nutshell, if you want to create a lasting impact with your presentation, then you need to make sure that your ideas are fresh and engaging. You also need to make sure that they flow and that they’re properly organized. With a bit of practice, you can create incredible presentations that grab the audience’s attention and leave them wanting to discuss your ideas with you.
Wish me luck with my presentation. I hope it leaves an impression to inspire a few to become civil engineers!
If you’ve given a presentation, let me know what you think – what have you done to help your presentation stand out?
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Author: Isaac Oakeson, PE
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