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If you’re unclear about any of these, make it your mission to find out. A little homework upfront can save you from missing the mark with your audience and wasting a valuable opportunity.

Get organized: As a former speech teacher, I still believe in, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” In other words, be sure to include a preview of your content at the beginning and a review at the end.

Here’s an example of what to say: “I’ll begin by sharing some information about the size of the problem, then describe our proposal for solving it. I’ll conclude by comparing our solution to our competitors, so you can see where we agree and where we differ.”

Giving this type of road map accomplishes several things. First and foremost, it forces you, as the presenter, to logically group your thoughts. Second, it establishes credibility with the audience by demonstrating an organized approach. Third, it enhances your listeners’ comprehension and retention of the material by providing a larger context for the information.

Get visual: Many business presentations, especially more formal ones, involve the use of visuals. Most commonly, these are slides that are either projected or printed, or both.

Resist the urge to fill your slides with text. Once upon a time it was cool to simply throw your outline up on the screen; nowadays, that’s passe. Carmine Gallo, writing for Forbes.com on “The End of PowerPoint as We Know It,” recommends ditching slides that are “dull, wordy and overloaded with bullet points. Image-rich presentations work effectively because pictures appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain — the emotional side.”

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