It's no big secret that the key to a successful presentation lies within its preparation. Having said that, many people 'leave money on the table' by neglecting this important step.
The simple truth is, 'winging it' seldom works.
Good preparation starts long before you put pen to paper (so to speak). Here we outline a few key areas you should pay close attention to at the very beginning of your creative process.
1. Understanding your audience
Understanding your audience is very important; delivering relevant, useful material is far more likely to result in you winning business. The more information you know about your audience the better, as every detail you uncover will enable you to tailor your content.
There are many ways you can go about this. Ask the event organiser for a list of participants. Consider sending each one a survey aimed at helping you understand what they wish to gain from your presentation. Check their LinkedIn profiles, websites and company information to see who these people are and what they represent.
2. Know the venue
What size is the stage? Is it to the side of the screen or in front of it? Is there a lectern? Asking the event organiser these questions will help you decide how you are going to utilise your surroundings to best present your material.
What size is the room? Do you need a mic? Will you be able to interact with the audience if you wish? Are also equally important questions to ask. Finding this out in advance will help you minimise 'last minute' changes on the day.
3. Know the technology
Do you build your slides for a 16:9 a 4:3 display? If you think of the screen as a canvas, then you want to use as much of the canvas as possible - getting the wrong aspect ratio will prevent you from doing this (and will leave you with either horizontal or vertical bars).
If you will be required to use a microphone then ask what type. Hand held microphones permanently 'tie up' one of your hands. If you were planning on using a slide clicker and have notes on stage with you, then suddenly your hands are full, and you need to become an expert juggler.