For administrative professionals, presentations are often part of the job. Whether you're an assistant or a full-time administrator, you're likely to find yourself putting together decks or speaking in front of groups. With a few tips, you can design a professional presentation that leaves a powerful impression.
When it comes to text, less is more. Long paragraphs on a professional presentation deck only serve to distract your listeners. Instead, use the fewest words possible. Aim for two to three lines, and use text that supports your point. In most cases, it's best to use a separate slide for each bullet point to keep your audience's attention. If you're nervous, it can be tempting to write out your presentation word-for-word. A better option is to use key phrases to orient the audience and prompt your memory.
Use Graphics Appropriately
The right graphics can take your professional presentation from good to great. For the most powerful impact, choose graphics that add layers of meaning to each point. If you're discussing new cost-reduction measures, for example, you might support your argument with a chart that illustrates how costs have risen over the past five years. Select images with ample open space — that way, you can add text without cluttering the slide. Whatever you do, avoid clip art or meaningless stock photos.
If you're creating a professional presentation that involves statistics, tiny details or dry subject matter, wake up your audience with a story or two. Stories draw your listeners in and make them feel engaged in the content, so they're less likely to zone out. Instead of citing statistics about a new customer service policy, tell a story that follows one customer as he struggles to get help under the current system. By presenting facts in the context of a personal tale, you can help listeners connect to the issue and understand why it matters.
A great slide deck is only one part of a professional presentation. The true power lies with you — when you're enthusiastic, prepared and invested, you can engage an audience in virtually any topic. Start by knowing your material inside and out. Imagine what questions listeners might ask, and research the answers. Read related news stories, and check out the current status of any political or policy issues. Then, practice your presentation with an audience of family members to get the kinks out and work the words into your muscle memory. When you go into a presentation feeling prepared and knowledgeable, you can speak confidently and adjust your comments on the fly.
Professional presentation skills are important for administrative professionals at all levels. By learning how to give a memorable talk, you can help your colleagues understand crucial policies and workplace initiatives.
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