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15 ways to improve your reports and presentations (23 Apr 18)

No matter how good your efforts, they count for nothing unless you explain what is happening and “sell” what you are doing to all concerned.

But after poisonous snakes, the thing people fear most is speaking to an audience - no matter how large or small.

So no wonder presenting to board and committee members can be a pretty daunting prospect, but it is essential and important. And a professional presentation linked to a well written report can turn an ordeal you may have been dreading into a real triumph.

You must know how to write the report, how to present the information in words and, where appropriate, pictures - and most importantly how to link the two when you present.

You need to consider that not everyone will have read and got the same message from your written document. Levels of understanding may differ, too. So how do you summarise and get your main points across without repeating the report and seeming patronising to those who are already primed to voice their opinions?

As you prepare your report you need to consider how the presentation will add value to what has been written - yet say enough to bring everyone up to speed.

Repeating the report verbatim is boring and shows a lack of respect; yet introducing new information that must be considered at length will be frustrating. So striking a balance is essential.

Present your report badly and you end up wasting valuable discussion time - and decisions could even be based on misunderstandings. You may omit important points covered in your report or worse still people could end up wasting time on irrelevant detail. 



There are many things you must think about which will help you to do well:


  • You need to be confident and manage nerves
  • You have to be able to answer questions which require back up information
  • You have to know how to cope when you are “caught out” by not having information to hand or immediately know the answer to a question
  • Your audience will have different levels of knowledge so you have to know how to pitch your information
  • You may have to handle irrelevant questions and discussions without upsetting people
  • People may bring their personal opinions which are nothing to do with the meeting
  • You have to avoid getting caught up in internal politics
  • You have to form a good relationship with the chair
  • You have to know how to prepare and lay out a written report for a board, committee or tenants’ group
  • You have to write a report which is easy to read and easy to act on
  • You have to present complex information on subjects like grants and funding, or aspects of multi agency working
  • Maintain the interest of everybody at the meeting
  • You need to remain focused and not get sidetracked.
  • You have to manage the meeting as your presentation unfolds
  • How to present your paper confidently.

To run this topic as an in house course contact me on 01494 872 836 or email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk  Why not do it now while it's fresh in your mind?


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