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Tips for showing your skills and knowledge when presenting


If you haven't had much experience making presentations, they can be quite intimidating. Especially if you are trying to impress the audience with your skills and knowledge. There are some situations, such as job talks, where your abilities will be judged by a single presentation. Here are some tips for making just such a presentation.

Make it look professional-most presentations these days are done on with Microsoft's PowerPoint program or some similar program. These programs offer plenty of options for making an incredible, professional looking presentation, complete with whistles and bells. Sometimes it is tempting to make a presentation that is too busy because of all of the available options. Remember the very important "K.I.S.S." rule when you are building your presentation: Keep It Simple Stupid. Your presentation should look professional, that doesn't necessarily mean that the slides are animated, or that the background from every slide changes. Choose one background that looks nice. Choose a font and font color that is easy to read from a distance, and stay with that theme. A lot of busy-ness does not look professional; it looks like you are trying to make an impression.


Start with good outline-when you get ready to prepare your presentation, make an outline before you do anything else. Start the outline by reducing your topic to just one sentence in which you state your goal or objective for the presentation. Once you have a very clear goal that you can state in one sentence, start to brainstorm and come up with three main points that you would like to make. Once you have your three main points, treat each point as if it were its own mini-presentation. Do some research on that point. You should be able to give references, evidence, and examples for each point that you make in your presentation.

Don't read your notes-use the PowerPoint slides to illustrate important points or display data graphically. In the presentation, make sure that it is you that is doing the communicating. Only use the visual presentation to supplement what you are trying to say. Standing before an audience and reading from your PowerPoint notes does not show that you have skills or knowledge beyond basic reading abilities. If you are trying to impress, you should have the details of your presentation committed to memory and you should be able to discuss the material on a conversational level. If you need to cite studies, you should offer the reference on a PowerPoint slide but you should be able to tell your audience about the study with out referring to the slide.

Ask for questions-if you want to show your knowledge and your skill you should take plenty of questions. Any drone can give a canned speech but it takes somebody with real confidence and knowledge to field questions. Of course, this can work against you too. If you don't know that much about your topic your audience does will quickly see through you if you start making stuff up. Hopefully, you will actually possess the skill and knowledge that you are trying to demonstrate. If you do, answering question is one of the best ways to demonstrate that knowledge. If you are confident in your abilities, ask for questions after each point and each example. You might even ask questions of your audience to make sure that you are communicating properly. If it seems that they are not getting you, you can try to explain things a different way.

Don't be afraid to say "I don't know"--an important thing to remember when asking for questions is that it is okay to say that you don't know. Rather than trying to manufacture an answer, your audience will appreciate your confidence and honesty when you admit that you don't know something.

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