The most important tip...EVER!
Make sure that you always think of your audience - when preparing your talk, writing it and presenting it. Put yourself in the audience's position at all times and your presentation will go with a swing. Remember your audience does not want to know how marvellous you are, or how brilliant your product is. What they do want to know is something that will help them. Find out what your audience needs to know first and your presentation will be bound to succeed.
The second most important tip...EVER!
When you prepare your presentation do not include any bullet points or text whatsoever. All your slides should be pictures, illustrations, charts, cartoons etc. That way your audience does not have to read anything and can concentrate on what you are saying. Equally, if you lose your way in your presentation it is not obvious - with text, the audience knows you've made a mistake!
The third most important tip...EVER!
MOVE! Whenever you are presenting make sure you move. Animation helps your audience and it helps you. Movement stops your muscles from tensing and also puts extra air into your lungs. When you move you relax. When you relax you perform better. So don't be static, get moving!
Use flow charts
If you need to demonstrate the way a project is proceeding or how you plan to achieve something, use a flow chart rather than a list of bullet points. This way you can make the flow chart visual, using icons and symbols.
Avoid too much colour
Try not to make your slides loo like an explosion in a paint factory! Too much colour will be distracting. Try to use 'complementary' colours which you'll find opposite each other on the 'colour wheel' found in most software packages that can produce slides. For instance, you'll find that yellow is opposite red on the wheel. Never use colours that are next to each other on a colour wheel as they will clash.
Prepare different handouts
Many people give printed copies of slides as their handouts. This is next to useless as the slides rarely make sense without the accompanying spoken words. So, the best handouts are those which are a written version of your talk - simply write a summary article with plenty of subheadings and bullet points. That way your audience will be able to review what you said more easily. True it takes more time to do this, but it is considerably more effective. Top presenters never give handouts of their slides.
About The Author
Graham Jones B.Sc.(Hons) B.A. (Hons)(Psychol) is one of Britain's leading public speakers and presentation educators. He is a member of the Professional Speakers Association and runs The Presentation Business (http://www.presentationbiz.co.uk)