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How To Create an Effective Business Presentation: The 10 Commandments

Updated on September 24, 2015
Brent Burns, speaking before the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Brent Burns, speaking before the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. | Source

Thorough preparation is the key to giving a great business presentation that will surely get the approval and commendation from your big bosses and even pave the way to an unexpected promotion in the corporate ladder. And, knowing the do’s and don’ts is crucial to this.

Let’s start with the don’ts.

# 1 You shall not come with half-empty brain.

It is not enough that you know what to say before your audience, what is required is that you are well-versed about the subject of your presentation; that particular state wherein you feel you can answer whatever questions thrown at you. You are very convinced that no one can beat your expertise on the topic, even your boss, the executives, and all the people in the conference room.

Tip: Study all sides of the topic thoroughly, even those that have little connection or relevance to your presentation goals. Who knows someone from the audience will ask? And, be very particular with the important details. When citing facts and figures, make sure to memorize the year, the people, the number, and the places in general sense.

A woman studying for her business presentation.
A woman studying for her business presentation.

# 2 You shall not go unprepared for possible questions.

Once you are well-rounded about the subject, it’s now time to dig deeper by listing possible questions that any of your audience may ask. In doing so, you need to go over all the information provided in your presentation. I know that this will really take time, but I tell you, this is for your sake. Being prepared to speak in front of your bosses can be very challenging and a wrong answer can definitely affect your credibility and overall performance.

Tip: To assist you, make use of timeline templates to easily track the flow of your ideas. These templates are not only perfect for presenting corporate historical data and the like, but are also very helpful in creating an organized and easy to follow flow of your speech.

A man preparing for an office presentation by researching and studying.
A man preparing for an office presentation by researching and studying.

# 3 You shall not talk to your own self.

I know this may sound a bit funny, but there are some speakers who are guilty of this, even those who are experts in the corporate world; they just read whatever is written in the slide until they reach the last part. Although others look to their audience while reading, it is still very boring to hear and watch if you just read what you wrote.

Tip: Only put the most important points or the gist of your ideas in the slides and just expound each of them during your presentation. And, remember to expound naturally. You can effectively connect to your audience if you are calm and natural when speaking. Also, don’t forget to use relevant gestures and eye contact occasionally.

A man doing his business diagram on a white board.
A man doing his business diagram on a white board.

# 4 You shall not come illiterate with your PPT template.

Never ever allow embarrassing moments to happen. I’ve witnessed speakers who are illiterate with their PPT design. And, I'll tell you, if you are not used to creating slides or PPT presentations, I would highly recommend that you try ready-made, customer-friendly and professional PowerPoint templates and slides. You will be amazed with the wide array of choices.

Tip: Master all the aspects of your visual presentation. Hours before the actual speech, rehearse using all the tools and see if they are all working fine. If the USB or file you saved malfunctions, for instance, there might not be second chances.

A man in white suit testing his visual PPT presentation in his own laptop.
A man in white suit testing his visual PPT presentation in his own laptop.

# 5 You shall not neglect the attention span of your audience.

Not everyone has long attention span. In fact, most people feel sleepy and bored after listening to a 30 minute presentation. So do something to break the ice and wake up everyone. Being in a formal gathering doesn’t mean you have to forego funny stories or world-class entertainment.

Tip: Inserting funny examples in between will surely energize your audience. You can also use different facial expressions or voice tone when talking to keep their attentive. Another option is to give a few minutes to watch short videos, so they have time to stretch their muscles and relax. You can hire a singer or a dance group to entertain too.

# 6 You shall not impart too much information.

You don’t want your audience to experience information overload, so you have to, Keep It Simple Silly or KISS. Make it simple, brief and concise yet quiet interesting. Otherwise, you will see people who are excusing themselves to go somewhere, listeners who are giving their biggest yawn, or worst, guests who couldn’t resist but sleep in front of you.

Tip: Think of a dartboard. In creating your slides, each of them should be able to hit the ultimate message and should never be going around the bush. Always look at the main goal and do not deviate from it. Keep your focus and attention.

A man bored in an office meeting.
A man bored in an office meeting. | Source

# 7 You shall not use inappropriate PPT template design.

The theme of your PPT is not just about having the most attractive color. What you should think of is, will it be effective in reaching out to your audience? Just think about using pink colored templates in front of an all-men gathering. You have consider your listerners always. Remember that you are presenting because they are there.

Tip: Again, if you are unsure what design or template to use, downloading ready-made and editable free PowerPoint templates will save you time.

A businesswoman preparing her PPT slides.
A businesswoman preparing her PPT slides.

# 8 You shall not bombard your audience with varying colors and styles.

Welcoming them with a messy, unorganized content and color scheme can create a bad first impression. Just like choosing the best template or design that’s fitting with the subject matter, you have to choose those styles that are pleasing to their eyes.

Tip: When it comes to font style, avoid Comic Sans and running letters. Instead, use only two kinds, one for headings and the other for subheadings. But then again, if you want to save hours of work, ready-made templates are a great help. They showcase the best font style and size to use.

Trying different color schemes.
Trying different color schemes.

# 9 You shall not convey vague ideas.

PowerPoint diagrams, text and tables, maps, and shapes are there to aid you in presenting facts and figures clearly. You don’t need to enumerate or list them barely in a plain looking slide.

Tip: Use the power of visual presentation.

Different business ideas.
Different business ideas.

# 10 You shall not present messy content.

Jumping from one slide to another slide to connect ideas can be very distracting; thus, affecting the focus of your audience. Make sure that a certain topic is briefly and concisely explained in continuous relevant slides or even in one slide.

Tip: If you have the opportunity to tell it all, then do it. Don’t wait for another time because you may lose the chance.

A messy unorganized white board presentation.
A messy unorganized white board presentation.

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      I'm sure that presenters will find your commandments helpful. What I hate most is messy content, also distracting colors. Good job you've done here.

    • Evane profile image
      Author

      Aeva 20 months ago

      Indeed! Thank you so much MsDora! I also hate messy content and display as well as those who are violating rule #3. :D

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 20 months ago from Washington KS

      You combined humor and helpful information here in exceptional style. Well done!!

    • Evane profile image
      Author

      Aeva 20 months ago

      Hi lollyj lm! Thank you! I couldn't agree more. I like giving information while at the same time, entertaining my readers :)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 19 months ago from Georgia

      Very good advice. I am not a fan of the presenter who stands and reads the content of every slide. That is boring and an affront to me as a listener. It also says to me that you either are not comfortable with your material or you are not comfortable in front of an audience. Thanks for the tips.

    • Evane profile image
      Author

      Aeva 19 months ago

      Hi Cyndi10! Yeah, same here. Mere reading of the slides is very boring :)

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