Good Presentation, Great Presentation

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 5 comments

great-presentationWhat makes a good presentation? What has a great presentation got that a good presentation lacks? What are some of the ways to recognise a poor presentation – before you stand up and deliver it? Our handy reference provides presenters everywhere with a checklist of the components of good presentations and great presentations. You can also download a PDF version.

Objectives

  • Poor Presentation
    Unclear objectives. Not really apparent why you are even delivering the presentation. Nothing to measure success against.
  • Good Presentation
    Clear and appropriate objectives. You have written the presentation in a conscious attempt to achieve the objectives.
  • Great Presentation
    Clear and appropriate objectives, in terms of what the audience ought to feel, think, and do as a result of seeing the presentation. Objectives are realistic – and may be intermediate parts of a wider plan.

Introduction

  • Poor Presentation
    Either too much introduction – twenty slides of irrelevant scene setting – or none at all. You leave the audience wondering why they should listen.
  • Good Presentation
    You use your short introduction to build credibility – so your audience realise that you are worth listening to.
  • Great Presentation
    You use your short introduction to show credibility, demonstrate an understanding of your audience’s needs, and explain the benefits to your audience of listening to your presentation.

Structure

  • Poor Presentation
    Your presentation is long and meandering. Your audience spend the entire time wondering how long the presentation will be, and not having any sense of how things fit together. You either have no sections, or sections that are too long.
  • Good Presentation
    You have a clear presentation structure, which you share with your audience. You repeat your agenda slide each time you start a new section. Your audience always know where they are in the presentation.
  • Great Presentation
    You have a clear presentation structure that you share with your audience each time you start a new section. You realise that your agenda slide will be repeated, and therefore remembered – and so use it to convey key messages.

Length

  • Poor Presentation
    Your presentation is too long. You give little consideration to how long the audience want to hear you speak – and just talk for as long as it takes. You disrespect your audience by over-running without permission.
  • Good Presentation
    Your presentation is relatively short. You understand that attention levels start to drop after twenty minutes, and shorten your presentation accordingly.
  • Great Presentation
    Your presentation is relatively short. You utilise interactivity, multimedia, and changes in delivery to raise attention levels. You plan your presentation from the perspective of audience attention levels.

Bullet-Points

  • Poor Presentation
    You use bullet points, to write out what you plan to say. Your audience read what your key messages, and ignore you as they can’t read and listen at the same time. You could have just emailed the slides and saved everybody the effort.
  • Good Presentation
    You realise that bullet points don’t work. You use pictures to help get your point across. You might be tempted to use a Presentation Zen style, and reduce your text substantially.
  • Great Presentation
    You don’t use bullet points. You realise that simply splitting your bullet points across multiple slides and inserting pretty pictures in the background isn’t enough. You use visual slides that help you get your point across by making it easier for the audience to understand your messages.

Design

  • Poor Presentation
    Your slides look unprofessional, or if they have been designed professionally, they look like they were designed for a different medium and then copied into PowerPoint.
  • Good Presentation
    Your slides look good. The fonts are legible, the images are suitable, and overall you give the right impression.
  • Great Presentation
    You understand the need for good design. You also understand that presentation design is a niche expertise – and that what works in print might not work when projected. Your presentation looks good, but it is fundamentally designed to help the audience understand your messages.

Animation

  • Poor Presentation
    Where you use animation, it lasts too long, distracts the audience, and is merely decorative.
  • Good Presentation
    You use limited animation. The animation that you use is introduced for a purpose – to aid understanding or to increase impact.
  • Great Presentation
    You make extensive use of appropriate animation. You build slides to control the sequencing of information. You use animation to draw attention to various elements on the slide. You utilise points of dissonance to truly engage the audience.

Interactivity

  • Poor Presentation
    No interaction at all in the presentation. Audience members are entirely passive.
  • Good Presentation
    Some use of audience interaction – possibly spontaneous. Audience members are not entirely passive.
  • Great Presentation
    Use of interactivity to maximise audience engagement. Quizzes, polls, and Q&A are considered as ways to make sure the audience remain interested in your material.

Delivery

  • Poor Presentation
    You haven’t practiced properly. You use your slides to remind you of what to say. Talk in terms of “me and we”.
  • Good Presentation
    Practiced presenting a number of times. Have a good sense of what’s going to happen on slides before it happens. Make reference to the audience perspective.
  • Great Presentation
    Interact with slides in a natural way – so that your audience don’t know whether the slides are leading the presenter or the presenter leading the slides. Use “you” and “your” instead of “I” and “my”. Consciously tailor your delivery to your audience.

Print-Out

  • Poor Presentation
    Distribute a print-out of your slides in advance. Your audience are able to read through your presentation material before you even start speaking. Some audience members might not even bother staying, but read the slides later.
  • Good Presentation
    Don’t use print-outs because they prevent audience engagement. Concentrate on making sure your audience listen to what you say.
  • Great Presentation
    Don’t use print-outs of your slides. Instead, record an online presentation of your key messages, and distribute this narrated version of your slides as follow-up to increase your impact.

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5 Comments to Good Presentation, Great Presentation

  1. #1

    Keith Davis

    8:53 pm, March 30th, 2011

    Well presented article
    Love the three levels – poor, good, great.

    Agree with you about the importance of “Interactivity” a great way to involve the audience and keep their attention.

  2. #2

    Joby Blume

    8:58 pm, March 30th, 2011

    Thanks once more for the contribution Keith.

    (We’re just testing our ‘subscribe to comments’ functionality – should be deployed shortly…)

  3. #3

    John Cunnick

    9:25 pm, March 30th, 2011

    Brainshark is good, you might want to try GoldMail which is easier to user and cheaper.

  4. #4

    Joby Blume

    12:58 pm, March 31st, 2011

    Well – MyBrainshark is free, and it looks like GoldMail’s most useful functionality is paid for…

    We’re running a few tests now – we’ll let our readers know what we make of the GoldMail service. A lot of online comment seems to be pretty negative – but obviously we’ll look for ourselves.

  5. #5

    John Bevan

    1:47 pm, March 31st, 2011

    I’ve just run a 20 minute test of GoldMail, 15 minutes of which was waiting for it to accept a PowerPoint file (at first it just gave up on the upload). It accepted uploads of pictures and PDFs and provided some formatting options for changing the background and scaling the images, and adding titles and captions. But whatever I did, it looked pretty awful.

    I stopped assessing Goldmail after I did manage to upload a short PowerPoint file, started recording my narration, and wondered why the slides weren’t building. All I could do was move from static slide image to static image. On replaying the presentation, the slides also displayed as static images.

    Since it does not appear to have the capability to support animations in PowerPoint, Goldmail cannot justify any further investigation. Builds, animations and sequencing are absolute essentials for cultivating audience engagement, especially in a virtual setting. This is, at best, an application for recording commentary onto documents, not a tool for presenting with any degree of effectiveness.