Here are the 5 steps to effective presentation preparation:
1. Plan - Planning ahead of time what you want to say and how you want to get your point across is crucial. In the initial phases, just write down everything that comes to mind. You can organize your thoughts and put the pieces together later. The more you can write down, the more options you will have to put your presentation together.
2. Put the pieces together - Once you have jotted down as many thoughts as possible, it's time to begin organizing those thoughts. Connect the different pieces in a way that makes sense by tying related topics together. From there, you want to include transition in your speech to make one though flow smoothly to the next. The easier people follow along from one train of thought to another, the better your presentation will be.
3. Say thoughts out loud - Simply organizing your thoughts on paper won't do. If you were handing in a written paper, it might cut it. But preparing for an oral presentation requires you to think out loud. You can get a better gist of how things sound next to each other by saying them out loud.
4. Practice in front of the mirror - Once you have your speech written out, practice in front of the mirror as many times as possible. The more you practice and become familiar with your presentation, the less nervous you will be when it comes time to step in front of your audience. Depending on the length of the presentation and what the topic is, the best presentations involve you looking at note cards as little as possible.
5. Speak clearly - A majority of us will have jitters stepping in front of an audience regardless of how many times we do it. You have to hide those jitters and speak slowly and clearly. Make sure that everyone can hear you and go at a steady pace. The more you can avoid the "ands" and "ums," the more professional you will sound.
Giving a presentation can definitely be a nerve-racking thing to do. If you take the time to prepare your presentation well in advance and practice in front of the mirror, you will feel much more confidant stepping in front of a crowd. With the combination of a well-written speech and clear speaking, you are guaranteed to sweep people off their feet at your presentation.