Informal vs Formal Presentation: What You Need To Know
Table of Contents
What Is A Formal Presentation?
There are three key elements which make a presentation formal – your audience, your supporting material and the time you’re given to prepare in advance.
A presentation is considered formal when you’ve been asked to share ideas with an individual or group and you’ve been given time to prepare. Formal presentations require a very different approach than presenting to your team during a weekly meeting or in an impromptu discussion.
Let’s take a closer look at what goes into creating a formal presentation.
How Do You Create A Formal Presentation?
Creating a formal presentation is an art which requires hours of practice to create an effective presentation.
At Presentation Geeks, we know the importance of crafting an excellent formal presentation. That’s why we’ve put together a simple structured template of main points you should include in your next presentation to take it from a generic, informal presentation to a formal presentation which will surpass your audience’s expectations.
1 – Clearly Defined Goals
Before you begin writing your presentation or the speech you’ll deliver, you want to take the time to think about the following questions, “What do I want the audience members to remember and what is the key message I’m trying to drive?”.
Knowing your expected outcome is the goal of the presentation. Always keep reminding yourself what the goal is and don’t lose sight of it. This is the foundation of your formal presentation.
2 – Know Your Audience
Every audience is different and every audience consumes, absorbs and remembers information differently.
If you’re presenting to a graduating class of university students, your delivery will be much different than your presentation to an audience of senior executives at a Fortune 500 company or an audience of single mothers with newborns.
Get familiar with your audience members and prepare your presentation accordingly.
Bonus Tip: Try and figure out where the presentation will take place. Will it be held in an auditorium? A church? A boardroom? Perhaps it will even be held virtually. The venue in which your presentation will take place will also determine the supporting material you’ll use to help engage the audience during your presentation.
3 – Create An Outline
The success of your presentation depends on how well your audience can understand it. If you’re delivering a presentation that continuously jumps back and forth from one idea to another, your audience won’t follow and you’ll lose them.
Develop an outline that will guide the flow of your presentation. Think of it like a story. You want to keep it interesting. Provide appropriate examples that resonate with your audience. By tapping into an experience your audience is familiar with, it will work to your advantage as it will help the audience get engaged and keep them interested.
4 – Use Visual Aids
Using visual aids will help support your overall presentation and increase audience engagement.
Visual aids can include slides, videos, images and other visual supporting material. Although it might take some creative finesse to put visual aids together, you don’t have to do it alone.
Consider enlisting the help of a company that offers presentation design services. Presentation Geeks offers a variety of presentation services ranging from e-learning solutions, Google Slides, sizzle reels, Prezi design and much more!
5 – Dress Appropriately
Remember, first impressions are everything and your attire is a form of communication.
If you want to be seen as the expert on the topic matter and have people take your knowledge seriously, you want to dress appropriately.
Although this might seem like an outdated way of thinking, it is rooted in our psychology. These small details make or break a presentation and you don’t want to take a chance.
Don’t know where to start? Nine millionaires shared how they dress to make an impactful first impression which you can use in your wardrobe.
What are the types of formal presentations?
There are many types of formal presentations you’ll be exposed to throughout your career.
We’ve outlined six types of formal presentations you may consider when developing your next presentation.
However, if you’re looking for more examples of formal presentations in action, TED Talks are a great resource. TED Talks are presentations ranging on a variety of topics from science and business to motivational and unique life experiences.
Review the list below and determine which style your presentation will focus on. This will help you structure your notes, write your presentation and ultimately how you will present.
1 – Informative Presentation
This is the most common type of presentation, be it in an educational setting, business or corporate setting.
The aim of an informative presentation is to give detailed information about a product, concept, or idea to a specific kind of audience.
2 – Persuasive Presentation
Persuasive presentations are used to motivate or convince someone to act or make a change in their actions or thoughts.
3 – Demonstrative Presentation
A demonstrative presentation involves demonstrating a process or the functioning of a product in a step-by-step fashion.
4 – Inspirational Presentation
An inspirational presentation’s aim is to motivate or emotionally move your audience.
Using techniques like storytelling, narrating personal anecdotes, or even humor work wonders to enhance your presentation as your audience develops an emotional connection to the message.
5 – Business Presentation
A business presentation can encompass pitching client presentations, raising business capital, articulating company goals, RFP presentations, screening candidates, status reports, investment pitching and many more.
6 – PowerPoint Presentation
PowerPoint presentations or PPTs are the most effective ones among all types of presentations simply because they are convenient and easy to understand.
They are available in different formats and are suitable to use in practically any type of presentation and context, be it business, educational, or for informal purposes.
The only downside to PowerPoint presentations is the time it takes to create them and the creativity needed to make them stand out. Fortunately, there are PowerPoint presentation design services you can use that will help you save time and deliver new ideas in a creative way.
What Is An Informal Presentation?
It is fairly common for business meetings to include impromptu presentations. Most presentations you’ll encounter are informal presentations.
These types of presentations are usually prepared in a short amount of time and do not require the same organizational methods as a formal presentation such as using audience engagement or presentation software.
Oftentimes, they are very much like a conversation and you won’t be using any note cards. The presenter is usually speaking to a much smaller audience where each audience member will feel like they’re being spoken to.
What Presentation Style Should I Use?
Now that you know what the difference is between a formal presentation and an informal presentation, it is now time for you to decide which style to choose.
More often than not, if you have the time to be reading this article, you have the time to prepare a presentation. That means you’ll likely lean towards the formal style.
Informal presentations are more impromptu and you won’t have the time to research it ahead of time like you are now. But since you do have the time, here are some additional resources to help you master the craft of a formal presentation.
Additional Resources To Master Your Formal Presentation
Presentation 101: How to become a better presenter. We’ve put together a list of 10 actionable items you can start working on to become a better presenter. This article covers body language such as eye contact and voice projection to the topic you’ll talk about.
Secondly, if your presentation is held online, you need to have the skills to present a virtual presentation. We’ve got you covered once again. We take a deep-dive into how to ace your virtual presentation. We cover virtual presentation software you might encounter,
The last article you should review to incorporate into your presentation arsenal is how to give and receive constructive presentation feedback. The only way you’ll improve is through ongoing feedback and data collection of what your audience thought of your presentation and presentation skills.
If you review these three articles and incorporate them into your next presentation, you’ll be on your way to becoming an influential speaker who can convert any audience with a well crafted presentation.