How to Put Together a Presentation Binder

The thought of giving a business presentation strikes fear into many hearts, but it doesn’t have to. A well-prepared presentation starts with written material and illustrations in a business binder, which forms the basis of the oral portion.

Define the Purpose of the Presentation

The first step to preparing a presentation is to define its purpose. Are you proposing a new project, reporting on a completed one, or simply presenting updated information about trends and issues? The information needed for each purpose is different, and the tone of the presentation will vary as well.

Gather and Organize Information

Once you have defined the purpose, gather and organize the necessary information. If you are presenting a proposal for a new project you want to be persuasive; you are asking management to accept and implement your ideas. Obviously you need to describe the project in detail; you should also demonstrate why it is necessary or important, provide estimates of costs vs. benefits or profits, state the goals of the project, give a time line for it, and list the people or departments that will be involved.

When reporting on a finished project, start with a brief overview of what was done and the goals, then discuss the goals individually. Was the goal met? If not, why not? What, if any, unexpected problems or obstacles arose? What, if any, unexpected benefits accrued? Did the overall project meet its budget and schedule as originally proposed? If not, why not? Be sure to provide as much hard data and statistics as possible. Finally, make recommendations for future similar projects: what can be done better next time, what pitfalls should be avoided.

Presenting information on new trends and issues can be the most difficult. If you have been asked to come up with answers to specific questions, make sure you address them directly. If you are gathering information from news media or the internet, be sure to carefully document and cite your sources.

Prepare Charts, Graphs, Illustrations

Much statistical information is easily and effectively presented in a chart, graph or table. The challenge is to come up with just the right format. As with the whole presentation, it helps to define the purpose of each illustration. For example, comparing each quarter’s sales figures for the current and the previous year can be done with a bar graph. For each quarter, perhaps a blue bar for the current year and a yellow bar for the previous year. If a project goal was to increase sales by a certain percentage, that can be noted on or above the current-year bar. An overall project budget can be shown in a pie chart. Software programs such as Excel and PowerPoint have features which make it easy to create graphs and charts.

Write the Text

Next, write a few sentences explaining the data in each graph or chart, and paragraphs summarizing the main points of the presentation. Keep it brief and to-the-point; numbered or bullet-point lists are good. You will fill in most of the details in your oral presentation. Leave blank spaces for note-taking.

Assemble In A Binder

Finally, print out hard copies of your text and illustrations and assemble them in a presentation binder. A loose-leaf ring binder with acetate page protectors can hold a great number of pages, and has the advantage that more information can easily be added later if necessary. Keep one copy for yourself and prepare copies for everyone who will be hearing your presentation.

Once your binders are prepared, you can give your presentation with confidence!

Need Help in Your Presenting Style?

For those who give big presentations, do public speaking, training seminars or present marketing and sales presentations to corporate or non-profit boards of directors, they realize that it is one of the hardest things to perfect. However, once it is perfected it is just amazing the power of presentations on the minds, hearts and imagination of those viewing.

It is a skill and a talent, some say it is a born talent to present well, but that simply is not so, it is a learned skill set, one which you must apply yourself to, if you want to be a successful presenter. If you wish to up your success ratio or become a world class presenter, then you need to take a few pointers from the top folks in the industry.
 
Namely Lani Arredondo, who is my favorite authority on the power of presentation and how to present like a professional; thus, I’d like to recommend his book to you, one I have on my shelf;
 
“How to Present Like a Pro; Getting People to See Things Your Way,” by Lani Arredondo [corporate trainer and speaker]; McGraw Hill, Inc.; New York, 1991.
 
The author helps amateur presenters become professionals, teaching them how to connect with their audience, set the mood, ditch your fear, find the best tools of the trade and stay effective, even when fielding disruptive questions. He shows the reader how to use presentation to train employees, sell products and services or make big presentations to those folks who can make the decision. He is a firm believer in the art of getting folks to visualize your way.

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