Whether you are just starting on a professional speaking career or you are an incidental public speaker because you have been asked to do a presentation as part of your job or as part of a requirement in your school, you will have a lot of details on your hand to sort out.
The most usual problem with getting organized is the overwhelming feeling of having too much information you want to squeeze into your presentation. Just thinking about where to start and how to proceed from there sometimes can get you paralyzed into inaction. Throw all caution to the wind and just jump in there and start working.
Your main challenge is to organize your materials so that your audience can relate to it and understand the message you want to convey. Here are five great ways to get your presentation organized.
1. Accumulate as much material first.
Research and read about the topic of your presentation. Collect as much material as you can. Most likely you will be using the Internet to gather your material so a word of caution is required here. Check the validity of the information you are getting. Be aware that not everything that ranks first on Google Search is 100% reliable or accurate. From the validated pieces of material that you have gathered, make some notes and annotations that will help you later when you are arranging your researched information in terms of relevance to your topic. Keep tab of things that stand out while
you are reading them. Chances are they will make good key points in your presentation.
2. Write down your key ideas and rank them.
Set aside the materials you have gathered in #1 and focus on creating a list of your presentation's key ideas that are based on your own appreciation of the topic you will deliver. By freeing yourself from the materials you have just read, you are also freeing yourself from being influenced by the various sources of those information. This will help you make your presentation your own and give it a personal flavor that will let your mark as a public speaker stand out.
Rearrange your key ideas by ranking them according to the order that you want your audience to benefit from them. Rank higher those ideas that you want your audience to remember best and move your way down your list.
3. Map your materials to your key ideas.
Your output for #2 will now be a starting outline for your presentation. Go back to your materials and start grouping them to fit the key ideas in your outline. Insert supporting elements for each key idea and map your materials to these supporting elements. As you are doing this, imagine that you are leading your audience through a path of knowledge discovery. Ask yourself the following questions as you go: Am I laying down a clear path for my audience to follow? Am I leading them from one point to another in a clear manner that they are sure to follow? Are the materials I'm adding to my key ideas relevant and helpful in achieving my objectives for my audience?
4. Decide on the format of your presentation.
The format of your presentation is your vital key to a successful delivery. Even though you already have an outline at this point, deciding on how to go through the sequence of key ideas is critical to your overall achievement of the connection you want to establish with your audience. Make it a point to vary your delivery between a lecture and a lively story-telling mode. Use a lecture tone when emphasizing key points in your presentation then shift to a story-telling tone when providing supporting materials for your key points.
5. Polish your presentation.
Now that you are ready with your materials, work on making your presentation as interesting to your audience as you can. You may have assembled a good collection of information that provides a richness of details but if you don't pay attention to the way that you are going to deliver them to your audience you may end up just being tuned out and your message will fall on deaf ears. Especially if your slot is during a meal or immediately after it, people will have difficulty focusing on what you are saying if you don't find a way to make your talk exciting and lively.
Make sure your visual aids are engaging and are eye-catching without distracting from your main points. If you use humor to enliven your speech, make sure you time them properly and does not get in the way of your main presentation objectives.
Remember that your primary goal in doing your presentation is to take your audience from a state where they may have no or very little idea about what you will be talking about, to a state where they will be enlightened about your topic enough to understand and appreciate the knowledge that you desire they take home with them. Picture yourself traversing a map with you leading the trail and your audience eagerly following in your journey of knowledge and discovery.