How to prepare for and deliver an important presentation

Project Management

Directions:  Unless otherwise stated, answer in complete sentences, and be sure to use correct English spelling and grammar.  Sources must be cited in APA format.

 

Part A: If you were asked to advise someone on how to prepare for and deliver an important presentation, what would you say? For each step listed, state why it is important.

 

Part B: Why are progress reports an integral part of project communications? What should they include? How are they different from a final report?

Grading Rubric

Please refer to the rubric on the following page for the grading criteria for this assignment.

Answer

Introduction

Communication is a critical skill as it helps in sharing of ideas and opinions. As a result, it is important to develop skills in verbal, non-verbal, and written forms of communicating information about a project. Effective communication ensures that the professionals involved in the project are aware of the goals and expectations. Some of the specific types of communication commonly used in project management include meetings, discussion boards, surveys, memos, presentations, and project plans.

How to Prepare for and Deliver a Presentation

            Preparing and delivering presentations is an important skill and much time should be dedicated to preparing the presentation to make it successful. There are several factors that should be considered while preparing for a presentation such as the aim of the presentation, the venue, the time of presentation, the length of the presentation as well as the audience. Good preparation helps the presenter to overcome some common challenges associated with presentations such as fear, anxiety, and stage fright.

According to Cole (2019), the following are some important steps in the preparation of presentations that can help one to plan, write and deliver a professional presentation. The first step is to determine the purpose of the presentation. This helps the presenter to determine the objective of the presentation in terms of what the presenter wants to achieve by the end of the presentation. It also enables the presenter to consider where they want to offer some insight, provide knowledge and information, or persuade the audience to accept some ideas. Second, the presenter should analyze the audience. Understanding the audience helps the presenter to tailor the information accordingly. The presenter should consider the audience’s background information on the topic and whether they are likely to be sympathetic, neutral or hostile to the presentation. The audience’s demographics in terms of their age, culture, language and literacy guides the presenter on how to structure and explain the information. Third, the presenter should decide what to cover, considering the audience, the message and the goal of delivering the presentation. This should include the most important information that needs to be covered and should be structured in a way that takes into consideration the amount of time available for the presentation. This enables the presenter to deliver a comprehensive presentation that is easy to remember, in a timely way. Fourth, the presenter should develop an outline that structures the ideas into a logical sequence. The ideas should be ordered systematically, one point leading to the other, to enhance the flow of information. The presenter should also develop ways to help the audience grasp the ideas presented, by using tools such as handouts, samples, demonstrations, diagrams, case studies and so on to make the presentation memorable. Fifth, the presenter should write down the talk in full using complete sentences or an outline of the key points using words or phrases to ensure a natural delivery of the presentation. The introduction should indicate the objectives as well as what will be covered, and should be developed in such a way that it captures the audience’s attention. The presentation should be structured in a way that makes it easy for the presenter to find key points and remember ideas. The sixth step involves practicing the presentation. Practicing helps the presenter become familiar with the presentation and gain confidence. It should be done in short sessions, several days prior to the presentation to help prepare adequately and eliminate anxiety and stage fright. The seventh step is the delivery of the presentation. The presenter should concentrate on communicating with the audience to make sure they understand the content, and maintain eye contact once in a while in order to read the audience’s non-verbal cues which indicate what needs to be done such as further explanation. Finally, the presenter should plan to keep on improving. Asking members of the audience for feedback concerning the presentation is important to help one improve on any suggestions offered, to make the next presentation better.

Progress Reports

            Progress reports are an integral part of project management because they help to report on the project and help the project team and other stakeholders in project planning (Guffey & loewy, 2018). Both the project team and stakeholders benefit from the progress reports in various ways. First, progress reports enable all the people involved to keep track of the project’s development in comparison to the original plan. Second, progress reports help the project manager to have better control over progress, stagnation, team performance, and job quality in order to take the necessary measures to keep the project on track. The data provided through these reports may be used to discover new things and enable the people involved to determine what is working and what is not. The reports also give clients and supervisors a chance to evaluate the work done on the project and offer suggestions or request changes. Third, these reports help the project team to monitor costs and manage the budget better, by discussing problems and delays and establishing a work schedule that will see the completion of the project on time.

Project reports should include several items. First, it should include the accomplishments made since the previous report by identifying important project milestones that have been reached, as well as achievement of particular goals set for a reporting period (Gido et al., 2017). Second, the reports should incorporate the current status of the project performance including data on schedule, work scope, and cost. Third, the report should include progress towards the resolution of previously identified problems and where no progress has been made, an explanation should be provided. Fourth, the report should incorporate problems encountered since the previous report. These could be technical problems, schedule problems, or cost problems such as cost overruns. Fifth, the report should include the planned corrective and preventive actions for the problems identified with an explanation on whether the project objective will be jeopardized by any of the corrective measures. Sixth, it should contain the milestones expected to be reached over the next reporting period relative to the latest agreed-upon project plan.

Progress reports are different from final reports in several ways. Progress reports cover the development of the project in stages, whereas final reports are a summary of the project. Unlike final reports that are provided at the completion of a project, progress reports are prepared regularly during the course of the project. Additionally, progress reports showcase the milestones achieved during the course of a project, whereas, final reports showcase the overall outcome of the project.

Conclusion

            In order to communicate effectively, it is necessary to develop skills on different types of communication tools that one may use, such as presentations and written reports. Presentations help professionals present their ideas and are useful when describing their projects or explaining projects to key stakeholders. Written reports such as progress reports are fundamental during the course of a project and enable the people involved in a project to track its status for effective management of the project.

References

Cole, K. (2019). Leadership & management: theory & practice. Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.

Gido, J., Clements, J. P., and Baker, R. (2017). Successful project management. Cengage Learning.

Guffey, M. E., and Loewy D. (2018). Business communication: process & product. Cengage Learning.

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