As presentation software goes, PowerPoint has long been ubiquitously chosen by presenters, but other good options exist, depending on what you want to communicate and how you’re putting it all together. For example, Google Drive Slides are great if you need to collaborate with others on content, because all changes are updated and stored on the cloud so you have real-time access to the latest version. Apple users should definitely consider iCloud Keynote, which is also good for collaborating but features an intuitive user interface with a sophisticated look and feel. But if you want to do something fresh, Prezi is worth checking out. It uniquely uses motion to let you zoom in and out of your content, all of which is visually connected in a path that shows how ideas are related. The online software also makes integrating YouTube videos simple, a nice perk for anyone using video sourced from Google’s platform.
Regardless of which software you use, Prezi’s blog offers a wealth of tips on how to give a presentation your audience will pay attention to and remember. Here are 10 solid bits of advice from Prezi, which has amassed more than 50 million users in the six years the company has been around.
1. Research your audience.
2. Include dissenting views.
Identify ways your audience may challenge your ideas and acknowledge them in your talk. Dismissing dissenting views won’t make them go away.
3. Start with a good story.
TED Talks speakers use this tactic all the time. Your opening story should be one everyone in the room can relate to.
4. Reiterate your main message three times.
Professional communicators put it this way, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” In other words, introduce the points you will be making, and then spend the meat of your presentation fleshing them out. Conclude by reminding the audience about your points.
5. Practice like crazy.
When you know what you’re going to say backward and forward, you don’t have to worry about fumbling your words or losing your train of thought. Saying your talk out loud many times in advance also helps you to edit out awkward wordiness. Your audience will appreciate a no-rambling approach.
If you’ve ever seen someone glancing at note cards, you know that it’s not only distracting to an audience but also conveys that a speaker may lack confidence. Don’t memorize every word, just the flow of your key points and the examples you will use to back them up. Check out Prezi’sblog on how you can memorize any presentation in 60 minutes or less.
7. Make eye contact.
You can’t persuade someone if you’re not looking him or her in the eye. Just make sure to scan the room without staring at any individual for too long.
8. Use a good closing story.
It should be one that relates directly to your message and allows you to reiterate your main points. Less is more when it comes to closing, so keep your story succinct while being authentic. Essentially, your closing story should be close to your heart while summarizing your message.
9. Avoid bullet points.
They’re boring. Instead, use a compelling image with text that’s no longer than a tweet.
10. Use big gestures.
Holding your arms in close to your body not only looks unnatural, it also makes you look nervous. You’re telling stories, so act like it by commanding the space you’re inhabiting in front of the room.