In the workplace, people make presentations all the time to internal or external stakeholders. One of the reasons that many people fear taking the podium or making presentations to the boss or clients is because they are afraid of being the focal point of everyone’s attention and they don’t want to make a fool of themselves.

Put your best foot forward every time. There are several things you can do to ensure that you give a good presentation every time.

1. Do your homework

Take the time to prepare well for your presentation. Preparation enhances your confidence and it’s also an opportunity to refine any weak areas in your presentation.

2. Begin and end your presentation on time

Arriving late to your presentation is simply unprofessional, and it will not score you any points with the audience either. When you go over your allotted time, it shows your audience that you don’t value their time.

3. Know your audience

The only way to relate to your audience is to know who they are. Conduct an audience analysis. Are they male or female? What income bracket are they in? Why would they want to attend your presentation? What do they already know? What are their hot buttons?

4. Dress appropriately

Not all speaking engagements require a business suit. There are many places where business casual attire has become the norm. Before your audience even hears your message, they are already sizing you up and your attire will impact whether or not they will hear what you have to say.

5. Prepare a Plan B

Have a backup plan for visual aids used in your presentation. You choose to use visual aids because these would be helpful in getting your message across. What happens when your laptop fails or the room cannot accommodate presentation equipment? Think of a plan on how you would handle a situation like that.

6. Avoid information overload

Yes, you can overload your audience with too much information and if you are not careful, you will lose them. They will mentally check out of the room. As a speaker, you would want to present enough information that hooks them into wanting more information from you!

7. Don’t use inappropriate humour

Humour can be a tricky thing — it can work for you or against you. You will really have to know your audience well to use jokes appropriately.

8. Vary your speech tones

The monotonous speaker will lose his audience within the first 15 minutes. It is okay to be animated during your presentation, and doing so exudes flair and passion, keeping people engaged.

9. Relate your topic back to your audience

Basically, stop talking about yourself. Your audience may want to hear a testimony or two, but remember, the presentation is all about them. They will want to hear how your presentation can help them solve their problems or address their needs.

10. Solidify your message

Support your ideas with data and evidence and build a solid case for your viewpoints. You can use statistics, testimonies, demonstrations, graphs and pictures.

Your presentation can be fool-proof if you take the time to minimise mistakes. By going through these key points, you can assure yourself that you are well prepared for any challenge that might come your way.