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The Seven Phases of Effective Presentations: How Not to Bore Your Audience

by Yad Bhatti  |  
July 15, 2015

In this article, you will learn...

  • The seven phases of an effective presentation
  • Time-tested do's and don'ts of engaging with your audience

Preparing for presentations is tough, tedious, and time-consuming, and the cardinal rule once you're in the room is to engage those in your audience—not put them to sleep.

I'm not asking you to be the next Steve Jobs or Tony Robbins, but a better version of yourself, when presenting your hard work, thoughts, and ideas.

As a senior account manager and adjunct instructor in digital marketing, I have seen and participated in my fair share of presentations. It takes practice and experience to know your audience and learn to quickly pivot if things aren't going well during a presentation.

So let's get down to the seven phases of making an effective presentation.

1. Know your audience

The most important thing to do before getting started on preparing your presentation is to research your audience. Spend some time learning what they expect to gain from your presentation: The more you can connect with them, the more engaged they will be.

Your presentation should cater to the background and needs of your audience. For example, if I'm presenting to a group of accountants, I would make sure to include hard numbers and objective data. On the other hand, if my audience is a team of creatives, I would make sure to include more visual and interactive content.

2. Agenda

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Yad Bhatti is a senior account manager at Elite SEM and an NYU adjunct instructor, teaching digital marketing strategy, planning, and execution.

LinkedIn: Yad Bhatti

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  • by igor Griffiths Wed Jul 15, 2015 via web

    Hello Yad

    Having been an unwilling victim of many presentations with hosts who actively avoided all that you presented here, it's a shame to see that the bridge to great presentations that you present here is far removed from rocket science. It means there is no reason to host a truly awful meeting.

    One thing I would add is post-meeting feedback, as in your image. If people actually fall asleep or by taking a look at where they were sitting and finding a collection of fingernail nibblings created in an attempt to remain conscious, then you know you need to sharpen up your presentation.


  • by Shankar Sat Jul 18, 2015 via web

    I teach Communications to MBA students at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Hyderabad and Presentations is a topic for lecture that got completed last week. Gave them examples from corporate world on how Death by Presentations, How Not to bore audience vs Nancy Duarte TED Video or Garr Reynolds Presentationzen can help them. Presentation is about Opening|Body|Close but when done with a Storytelling (5W+1H) model using KISS (Keep It Simple & Short) approach - you come a winner
    Hope students learn to use it well when they start working later..

  • by Yad Bhatti Fri Jul 31, 2015 via web

    Storytelling is a great way to capture the audience's attention immediately. I have been guilty of 'zoning' out' during presentations, but when someone says "let me tell you a story" my attention is back on the presenter.

    Besides storytelling, appealing to the audience's motives are very important. For example, when I'm teaching students at NYU, I'm very cognizant of using real life examples, discussing the pros and cons of the digital marketing industry and sharing interviewing tips in order for them to get a job.

    By appealing to motives, you will capture your audience's attention quickly. I believe in the two F's - be Frank and/or Funny.

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