What Goes Into Presenting A Seminar?

Attendees at a seminar, especially those who have not given one themselves, are generally unaware of what goes into preparing to present a seminar. The presenter must understand the demographics and needs of the attendees, to properly customize the seminar, so that those attending gain the maximum benefit from attending.

While many individuals present seminars, there is a big difference between a presentation professional and others who merely give occasional presentations. Having given seminars on numerous topics to significantly various size groups, as well as groups with varying interests and demographics, I have established some personal ground rules to assure that my presentation achieves optimum impact.

Some believe that you simply appear the day at the seminar with your Power Point presentation (when I started it was with slides), and that’s it. However, everything from the way the Power Point is designed, to how interactive one makes the presentation, needs to be customized to the individual group.

When preparing to present a seminar, I always do the following:

1) Speak to the Seminar organizer, in depth, about such things as what the group wants to gain from the presentation, what areas he wants emphasized (if any), the anticipated demographics of the attendees; the expected turnout, etc.
2) Create an outline before I start of topics I want to cover. I place these on separate 3″ X 5″ size index cards.
3) Determine the order I want to cover these topics, that I believe will have the greatest impact, as well as create the most interest and attention.
4) Do needed research, get statistics (if necessary), and decide upon what, if any graphics to use.
5) Create a dynamic introduction that sets a powerful tone for the seminar
6) Explain to the group, at the beginning of the seminar, what I am planning to accomplish, and outline the basic topics to be covered.
7) Explain that the seminar will be interactive, and urge participation.
8) Create an opening exercise, survey, “test,” etc.
9) Design the PowerPoint, initially in broad strokes.
10) Let the presentation sit for at least 24 hours, and then go through Power Point slides from the beginning.
11) Make modifications as needed.
12) Remember that the intent of the Power Point is to create an outline — not for the presenter to stand up in front of the group and read the slides to them.
13) Prepare a hand-out outline, and whatever other hand-out materials might be necessary.
14) Wait at least another 24 hours and review again. Make any additional modifications necessary.
15) Create suitable, attractive, and attention-getting, point-making animations.

These recommendations are only a portion of what I do for a typical presentation, but steps I take every time. There are many other aspects of giving the presentation, but being prepared is perhaps the most essential one!

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