How to deliver a presentation in 8 steps (benefits and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 June 2022 | Published 3 January 2022

Updated 17 June 2022

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effectively presenting information can help you in your career, whether you're delivering a presentation about a company's growth projections or making a sales pitch. Learning how to deliver a presentation increases the likelihood of a positive outcome with your audience. Reviewing essential steps to giving successful presentations can help you get the results you're hoping for. In this article, we discuss how to deliver a presentation in eight steps and explain why learning how to present information is key to your professional success.

How to deliver a presentation

Giving effective presentations requires you to spend time preparing. Here's how to deliver a presentation:

1. Consider your audience

Making sure you understand your audience is essential to preparing, structuring and giving presentations. It's usually the first step to take, as in many cases, the audience determines what styles of presenting you can choose from. For example, presenting important annual reports to higher-level management requires a different approach than presenting weekly project updates to your colleagues. To better understand your audience and identify their needs, think about the level of information they already have. You can also consider their familiarity with any technical terms you want to use when presenting.

Related: How to start a presentation and keep the audience interested

2. Introduce yourself and the information you're about to deliver

At the start of your presentation, briefly introduce the subject of your presentation. Doing this gives your audience a chance to better understand the cause of the meeting and what they can expect to hear from you. If you're presenting something to a new client or people you simply don't know, it's also essential that you introduce yourself. For example, you may mention your role at the company and why you're the one presenting.

Related: How to introduce yourself in an interview

3. Use simple language

It's important when delivering a presentation to speak in a way that's easy to follow and understand. If you're preparing a presentation from a research paper that uses a lot of complicated technical terms, it may be a good idea to simplify the spoken language. For example, you can use contractions and more casual speech. If including complex terms and phrases is essential, consider explaining them verbally as you introduce each slide or graph.

4. Engage your audience

As you go through your slides and notes, consider incorporating some visual or audio elements to break up more significant sections of your speech. You may also ask your audience some questions. This way, you can make sure they're engaged and understand the information. If you're delivering a lot of technical information, consider giving your audience an option to ask you any questions they may have before you move to the next topic or slide.

Related: How to improve public speaking skills to communicate effectively

5. Memorise the presentation

Memorising your presentation, including some of the most important numbers or statistics, is a great way to prepare for delivering information to an audience. This way, you can look them directly in the eyes while you speak and quickly react to any questions that they may have. Paying attention to the audience's facial expressions can show you if what you're saying is interesting to them or if they need more clarification to better understand what you're presenting.

6. Work on your body language

Your body language tells your audience a lot about how you're feeling. Using common tricks and working on your body language allows you to appear more professional and deliver a dynamic, interesting speech. In addition to keeping eye contact with your audience, remember to maintain an open and communicative posture. You can also use gestures to make some statements or parts of your presentation clearer. For example, if you're presenting a contrast between something big and small, you can use hand gestures to show that.

Related: Nonverbal communication skills: definition and examples

7. Practice

Spending a substantial amount of time practising your presentation can help you feel more confident when you're delivering it in front of an audience. After you've finished writing your script or taking notes on what you want to cover during your presentation, practice it repeatedly so that you more easily remember the most important points you want to make, the links between those points and the phrases that most clearly express them. Check the timing of your presentation with the slides. You can also practice referring to your slides while you're speaking.

8. Focus on your movements

If you're delivering a presentation on a big stage, it may be a good idea to move around a little to create some visual interest and keep people engaged. This also allows you to speak directly to different parts of the audience. Scanning through the audience and looking at people's faces is a great way to identify if they can easily understand what you're saying.

If your audience is relatively small, you may consider limiting your movements. Instead, you can make your slides more dynamic by including interactive or moving elements in them, such as short video clips or GIFs. Remember that your goal is to make any movement appear intentional and use gestures that add context to what you're saying.

Benefits of learning how to give effective presentations

Developing public speaking skills and learning how to give presentations has many benefits. Consider these things to motivate yourself to work on delivering presentations:

  • Better communication: Teaching yourself how to present information allows you to better communicate with others in the workplace. It allows you to structure your messages and use language that the audience can easily understand.

  • Career advancements: By presenting information in a dynamic and interesting way, you increase the likelihood of securing important deals with new clients. As a result, you have the opportunity to challenge yourself and advance your career.

  • Real-time feedback: By presenting your findings or the results of your work to colleagues or supervisors, you get a chance to see their reactions and receive real-time feedback that can help you improve your work. During presentations, it's essential that you pay attention to their body language and facial expressions, which can tell you a lot about the quality of your speech.

  • Maintaining a company's good reputation: Delivering effective and interesting presentations at external and industry events allows you to support your employer and maintain their reputation among clients, customers and competitors.

  • Better marketability: If you're looking for a job, you may encounter a recruitment process that requires you to prepare a short presentation about yourself and your interests, skills or previous experience. When you have the skills necessary for delivering effective presentations, you automatically increase your chances of advancing to the next round or even getting a job offer.

Related: Tips for preparing a presentation for an interview

Additional tips for giving presentations

Public speaking and presenting information are valuable skills that you can use throughout your career, regardless of the industry you're in. Consider these additional tips to better prepare for delivering presentations:

  • Limit the number of slides: Including too many slides in your presentation can distract your audience. To ensure they're engaged throughout the entire presentation, consider preparing one slide for every minute of your speech.

  • Use as few words as possible on slides: During a presentation, your main goal is to verbally present your findings, an idea or information. Using a limited number of words on your slides makes it easier for people to focus on what you're saying.

  • Make your presentations visually attractive: If you decide to limit the number of words you use, consider including some visual elements on your slides instead. Images, icons, illustrations and colourful shapes can help you make the presentation more dynamic and highlight the most critical information.

  • Use high-quality images: Using high-quality images enhances what you're sharing and makes your presentation look more professional. There are many free online platforms that you can use to find photos and illustrations that match the information on your slides.

  • Stay under your time limit: Always consider the amount of time you have for your presentation. Staying under the limit allows you to leave a few minutes for any questions that the audience may want to ask you.

  • Face your audience: Even if you're using a microphone to give your presentation, it's important that you're intentionally facing your audience while speaking. Doing this is a sign of professionalism and respect.

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