There’s an old adage that goes, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is true of just about any event in life, and it is particularly true when you have to give a presentation. Even seasoned speakers must have an idea of what they are going to say and how they are going to say it. When presentations are planned well, it shows.
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Create an outline. Outlines help to guide the speaker on broad points that will be covered during a presentation. If, for example, the speaker is covering a health care topic, it will be necessary to decide which areas of health care will be discussed. Will the speaker cover the role of facilities in health care, or the various payment models that exist for health care beneficiaries? Will the speaker discuss the lack of health care for the millions of uninsured? In any case, the finer points of the presentation must be decided.
Perform research. If a presentation is not well researched, the speaker will appear unprepared. This is an amateur mistake. Even experts on a particular topic need to know the latest and greatest advances on the chosen topic. To continue the health care topic, the presenter must know about new technologies and health care models that affect the course of the specific topic.
Consider the audience. Presenters must know the knowledge level of the audience in order to make the presentation as useful as possible. If the presenter is speaking to an audience of health care professionals about a health care issue, he or she may not have to break down medical terminology in order to reach the audience. If the opposite is the case, the presenter may appear arrogant or fail to communicate with the audience if she is speaking over their heads. Make sure there is a basic understanding of who the target audience is.
Develop handouts. When the audience has a hard copy of information to look at, the presentation becomes real. It allows the audience to make notes and begin to apply the information in the presentation to their specific situations. It allows the presenter to flesh out topics that need a visual cue for more explanation. If, for example, the presenter is explaining the function of a new medical device, giving the audience a picture of the device from various views as well as how it works in production will make most presentations successful.
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