The ultimate and effective presentation checklist: From planning to applause!

Discover the ultimate presentation checklist to ensure your next presentation is a success.


Bharti Jain

Delivering presentations

hand writing presentation checklist from planning to applause

Delivering a standout presentation requires more than just confidence and a good slide deck. It demands meticulous preparation, effective content, the right technology, and flawless delivery. This ultimate checklist will guide you through every step, ensuring nothing is overlooked. Whether you're a seasoned speaker or a first-timer, these detailed guidelines will help you captivate your audience and deliver your message with impact.

Checklist for planning your presentation

Define your objectives

Start presentation preparation with a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

  • Set specific goals: Determine whether your aim is to inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire. Specific goals help you focus your content and measure success.
  • Tailor your message: Adapt your content to align with these goals. For instance, if your goal is to persuade, ensure your arguments are strong and backed by evidence.

Pro tip: Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives to refine your presentation goals. Research by Forbes shows that setting clear objectives can improve performance by up to 33%.

Understand your audience

Your audience is your focus. Understand them well.

  • Demographic analysis: Age, profession, interests, and background. Knowing who they are will help you tailor your message effectively.
  • Audience expectations: What do they hope to gain from your presentation? Meeting their expectations will make your presentation more engaging and valuable.

Pro Tip: How does your audience prefer their data? Objective or narrative? Do they need vibrant visuals or a minimal approach? How can you know your audience in advance? There is no need to guess what works with your audience. With smart presentation tools, you can know your audience in advance and align your presentations to their preferences. Know your presentation audience in advance for free using Communication Fingerprint by Prezent.

Research thoroughly

Content is king, so make it robust.

  • Gather accurate information: Use reputable sources and current data. Accurate data enhances your credibility.
  • Incorporate stories: Find real-life examples or case studies to make your points relatable. Storytelling structures make presentation data more digestible and memorable.

Pro tip: Look for unique angles or lesser-known facts to surprise and engage your audience. According to a Stanford study, stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone. Creating stories is not everyone's cup of tea, but there are tools like Prezent that can help you build impactful stories out of raw data. There are over 1,000 expert-curated storylines that can be tailored to your specific audience and brand in just a few clicks.

Outline your presentation

The structure is the backbone of a great presentation.

  • Craft a clear flow: Introduction, main points, and conclusion. A clear structure helps your audience follow along.
  • Plan transitions: Ensure smooth flow between sections to maintain coherence and keep your audience engaged

Pro tip: Use the rule of three – break your content into three main sections for better retention. Psychologists suggest that groups of three are easier to remember and more satisfying.

Select the right tools

The right tools enhance your presentation.

  • Choose your software: PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezent, etc. Each tool has unique features that can enhance your presentation.
  • Leverage features: Interactive elements, transitions, and multimedia can convert a deck into a dynamic presentation

Pro tip: Explore lesser-known tools like Haiku Deck for stunning visuals or Visme for infographics. For those seeking a comprehensive solution, especially for large enterprises, Prezent is worth considering. This AI-powered platform helps create hyper-personalized, on-brand presentations quickly and efficiently, making the process smoother and more effective.

Design your slides

Visual appeal is crucial.

  • Keep it simple: Clean design, limited text, and high-quality images make your slides easy to understand.
  • Consistent style: Use a uniform color scheme and font to maintain a professional look.

Pro tip: Follow the 10/20/30 rule by Guy Kawasaki – 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font.

You can even leverage Prezent's vast library of templates and design tools to ensure brand compliance and professional aesthetics.

Checklist for preparing effective presentation content

Develop compelling content

Your words matter; make them count.

  • Engaging opening: Start with a quote or a question to grab attention. This immediately piques interest and sets the stage for your presentation.
  • Support with data: Use statistics and facts to back your points and make them informative. Data lends credibility to your arguments and helps to substantiate your claims.

Pro tip: Enhance your presentation using data visualization tools and well-structured slides to make your content more engaging and easier to understand. Prezent can help you design on-brand, impactful presentations quickly and efficiently, ensuring your message is both clear and compelling.

Prepare notes or a script

Stay on track without losing spontaneity.

  • Detailed notes: Bullet points to guide your speech can help keep you on track.
  • Full script: Only if absolutely necessary, practice to avoid sounding robotic.

Pro tip: Use cue cards for key points instead of reading from a script to keep it natural.

Practice your delivery

Practice makes perfect.

  • Rehearse aloud: Multiple times, in front of a mirror or a friend. This helps you get comfortable with your material.
  • Time yourself: Ensure you fit within the allotted time. Overrunning can be detrimental.

Pro tip: Recording and watching a preview of your practice sessions can help refine your pacing and gestures.

Checklist for presentation equipment

Ensure the laptop/tablet is ready

Technical readiness is essential.

  • Charge fully: Bring your charger. A dead battery can derail your presentation.
  • Update software: Ensure all applications are up-to-date to avoid unexpected crashes.

Pro tip: Have a backup device ready in case of technical failures.

Check projector and connectivity

Avoid last-minute technical hitches.

  • Test compatibility: Check if your laptop works with the projector. Different venues might have different setups.
  • Internet connection: Ensure a stable connection if needed for online content.

Pro tip: Carry adapters and connectors for different types of projectors.

Prepare remote clicker and sound system

Smooth control enhances delivery.

  • Test clicker: Check range and battery. A malfunctioning clicker can disrupt your flow.
  • Audio check: Ensure microphones and speakers work well. Clear audio is crucial for comprehension while public speaking.

Pro tip: Familiarize yourself with the venue's audio-visual setup to avoid surprises.

Checklist for final preparations before giving a presentation

Visit the venue

Get comfortable with your surroundings.

  • Venue layout: Check the seating arrangement and stage setup. Knowing the layout helps you plan your movement.
  • Equipment check: Test all AV equipment on site to ensure everything works smoothly.

Pro tip: Arrive at least an hour early to set up and acclimate.

Conduct a technical rehearsal

A dry run can highlight potential issues.

  • Run through the entire presentation: Using the actual equipment ensures everything works as planned.
  • Adjust lighting and sound: Ensure optimal settings for visibility and audibility.

Pro tip: Have a tech-savvy friend or colleague assist during the rehearsal.

Prepare handouts

Enhance your influence with supplementary materials.

  • Print or digital: Decide based on your audience's preferences.
  • Include key points: Summarize main points for easy reference and reinforcement.

Pro tip: Include QR codes in handouts for easy access to additional resources.

Perform a dress rehearsal

Final polish for your performance.

  • Practice in full attire: Ensure comfort and appropriateness. Dressing the part can boost confidence.
  • Final run-through: Adjust pacing and refine delivery.

Pro tip: Simulate the actual presentation environment as closely as possible.

Checklist for delivering the presentation

Arrive early

The early arrival of the presenter sets a positive tone.

  • Set up materials: Arrange everything neatly to avoid last-minute rushes.
  • Final equipment check: Ensure everything is working perfectly.

Pro tip: Use the extra time to calm your nerves and mentally prepare.

Check your appearance

Professional appearance boosts credibility.

  • Dress appropriately: Suit your audience and occasion. Dressing professionally can enhance your authority.
  • Grooming: Neat and tidy appearance to ensure you look your best.

Pro tip: Avoid distracting accessories or loud patterns.

Engage the audience

Make a connection from the start.

  • Start strong: Use a hook to grab attention. An interesting fact or a question works well.
  • Interactive elements: Polls, Q&A, or small activities keep the audience involved.

Pro tip: Make eye contact and use open body language to build rapport.

Manage time efficiently

Stick to your timeline.

  • Keep track: Use a timer or clock to stay within your allotted time.
  • Be flexible: Adjust if certain sections take longer. Having a buffer time is useful.

Pro tip: Plan for a buffer time towards the end for unexpected delays or audience interaction.

After the presentation checklist

Host a Q&A session

Encourage audience interaction.

  • Open floor for questions: Invite questions warmly to engage with your audience.
  • Be patient: Listen carefully and respond thoughtfully. This shows respect and understanding.

Pro tip: Prepare answers for common questions in advance.

Collect feedback

Learn and improve from audience insights.

  • Feedback forms: Digital or paper-based can be used to collect audience opinions.
  • Ask specific questions: They can be about content, delivery, and overall impression to get useful feedback.

Pro tip: Use feedback to refine future presentations.

Thank attendees and participants

Show appreciation for their time and attention.

  • Express gratitude: Sincerely thank everyone involved. Appreciation can leave a positive, lasting impression.
  • Acknowledge contributions: Of co-presenters and organizers to show teamwork.

Pro tip: A personalized thank you can leave a lasting positive impression.

Follow up

Keep the engagement going.

  • Send follow-up emails with additional resources or a summary. This keeps the information fresh in your audience's minds and encourages further engagement.
  • Include a Call to Action for further engagement or feedback, such as subscribing to a newsletter or attending future events.

Pro tip: Use follow-up as an opportunity to reinforce key points and build relationships.

This comprehensive checklist ensures that every presentation aspect is polished and poised for success. Remember, the key to a successful presentation lies in preparation, practice, and the ability to engage and connect with your audience. Good luck!

Prezent is an invaluable tool for enterprises looking to streamline their presentation creation process. In addition to the features mentioned throughout this blog, Prezent offers gamified, engaging courses that not only build effective presentation skills but are also designed to accelerate your overall communication abilities, no matter which field you belong to.

Explore more about Prezent by scheduling a detailed demo with our experts or signing up for a free trial!

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