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Tips on Making Project Presentations

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Ronda Bowen • updated: 8/8/2010

Project presentations are a great and effective way to disburse information, convincing stakeholders, and displaying key achievements. In this article, we’ll look at some tips that’ll help you design, create, and deliver engaging project management presentations.

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    Introduction

    The key to making potent project management presentations has two phases. Firstly, there is the creation and design of the presentation and secondly, there is the delivery of the presentation. The most commonly used software to make presentations is Microsoft PowerPoint and KeyNote. Any software you use has various effects that you can apply to your presentation. For example, to transition from one slide to another, you can apply the sliding windows animation effect. Ultimately, you goal should be to design project management presentations that appeal to your audience and aid in the delivery.

    Let’s look at some tips that you can use in creating and delivering project presentations. You can use these tips in your next stakeholder meeting. Use the Salience Model to identify the key stakeholders in your projects.

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    Project Management Presentation Tips – Creation and Design

    The following tips will help you design and create potent project presentations:

    Tip 1: Focus - During the design of project management presentations, make sure you have an objective or a set objectives in mind. The slides in the project presentations should then focus on these objectives. Too many presentations have redundant information that don’t pertain to the objectives. If you have anticipated questions from the audience that may not appeal to everyone, keep these slides at the end of the project management presentations and hide them. You can show them to the relevant audience of the presentation, when required. This ensures the presentation flow is not broken.

    Tip 2: Engagement – Project management presentations need to engage the audience. Therefore, like all forms of communication style, in a presentation you need ensure that the content is easily digested by the intended audience. Apart from the type of content, engagement during project presentations can come from asking pertinent and thought-provoking questions. It can also come with carefully selecting images. For example, a simple graph comparing productivity figures is more engaging than the same content in a tabular format. Similarly, instead of walking through the numbers, consider narrating stories that led to the numbers.

    Tips 3: Effects – Microsoft PowerPoint and other project presentations creation software come with a litany of effects that you can use to jazz-up your presentation. Don’t go overboard with these effects. Too many effects aren’t visually appealing and distract the audience from the objective of the project management presentations. Effects must be slick and subtle.

    Tip 4: Bullets – All too often project presentations contain a bulleted list. Ensure the list is kept to no more than seven bulleted items. Ideally, your target should be five! You need not put all content on a slide, leave some out for when you are delivering the presentation.

    Tip 5: Visual Appeal – Project Management presentations need not only have bullets with text. Consider using visual stimuli to present the information. For example, you may use Smart Art to create processes and visual advanced organizers. Choice of colors should focus on readability. All too often what looks great on an LCD monitor is unreadable on a projector. Therefore, test the project management presentations on the projector.

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    Project Management Presentation Tips– Delivery

    Use the following tips to deliver effective project management presentations:

    Tip 1: Know your room and technology – You may need to adjust the microphone, projector or software. Therefore, ensure that you are familiar with the room and the technology being used.

    Tip 2: Engage – Posing open- and closed-ended questions is a great way to engage the audience; as is starting project management presentations with a Wow! factor. Personal stories and jokes also help in keeping an audience engaged. However, be careful when using jokes, sometimes they aren’t suited for the audience and no one laughs. For example, if you are tell a joke on the critical path when your project is already running late.

    Tip 3: Use Notes – Keep talking points close by, just in case you need to reference them.

    Tip 4: Question Time – Inform the audience when you’ll be taking questions. This should also be considered while designing the project presentations. If it is at the end of the session, then distribute paper for them to jot the questions down. Lastly, anticipate the questions when creating the presentation. This helps in preempting them.

    Tip 5: Voice – Speaking too loud or too softly can spoil well-designed project management presentations. To ensure, your voice carries and is heard they way you intend it, practice mock presentation in a similar sized room.

    Giving project presentations is key skill for a Project Manager. Read the Qualifications Needed to Become a Project Manager article for more skills.