Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Communications Management

Making the Right Presentations

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next project presentation.

The purpose of any presentation, written, oral or visual, is communication; and to communicate effectively, the information must be stated in a simple, concise and interesting manner. Your audience should be able to understand the purpose of the presentation; this involves knowing the audience, the occasion, and the expectations of the audience. This will be a critical determinant in what information is presented and how it is presented. You have to tailor the message to the audience - understand their needs, desires, knowledge level, and attitude toward the topic while being concrete, specific, practical, and relevant.

People learn and retain more information when learning is reinforced by visualization. Simple, clear, concise visual images, will lend support to the spoken words. This leaves the audience with a positive attitude toward the content of the presentation.

A good presentation is made up of four basic components:

  • The Opening. Participants are introduced to the purpose of the presentation. It should be a brief summary or outline of the points to be covered. This helps keep your audience oriented properly within the framework of your presentation.
  • The Body. This is where the subject is presented. The body should be separated into smaller, easily assimilated modules. Each module or subsection should make a single point or convey one idea. These subsections should each have their · own simple opening, body and summary.
  • The Summary.  This portion should be very brief and simple. It is a chance to reinforce the central theme and purpose of the presentation. The goal is to briefly emphasize the key points and main ideas of the presentation.
  • The Closing. The points that were raised during the question and answer session are summarized, and any handout material that was not required during the presentation is distributed. This allows the audience to review the subject and assures that the ideas presented will remain fresh in their minds.

Using PowerPoint Slides

  • When making a presentation that is using a PowerPoint Slide or other type of visual aid, do not read the text, unless people in the room do not know how to read. Repeating the text that is on the screen is just a waste of time.
  • Make eye contact with all the audience and speak in a clear voice, adding more content to the ideas presented to draw the audience attention.
  • On the day of the presentation, arrive and set up early. Have spare projector bulbs and extra copies of the handout material close at hand.
  • Images and text should be legible for anyone; a good test is to go to the back of the room and see if the text is readable.
  • Try to use large letters and 4 or 6 lines of text per slide, don’t clutter the slide with graphics or use too many colors and different fonts. Use font sizes large enough to view from anywhere in the room, try not to use fonts smaller than 28 points.
  • Excessive use of photos, sound, fonts, colors, backgrounds, transitions can be distracting and can misdirect the attention of the audience from the intended content.

Another good strategy is to deliver the hard copy of the slides at the end of the presentation, that will keep people from reading ahead of you and miss your talking points. Make sure that you go over all your materials the day before the presentation to ensure that you have all that you need.


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Why you need a project marketing plan?

The goal of marketing your project is to raise awareness and build strong stakeholder support by saying how your project is unique. The use of a distinctive name or an image to promote public awareness of your work is called branding.
The Five Building Blocks to branding and marketing your project are:

  • What - What the project will do?
  • How - How the project will do this?
  • Why - Why is the project important?
  • When - When will the project start and end?
  • Who - Who is the project target?

With this information, you can develop a simple project marketing plan and strategies to market it. Some of the key actions of the plan include:

  • Create a logo embodying the project, make it simple and visually memorable.  Use it consistently in all the project materials. You may choose an acronym derived from the name of the project to help simplify communications.
  • Develop the core message or “story” of the project, describing how the goals of the project will address the needs of the beneficiaries.
  • Spread awareness about the project: Early in the life of the project, identify the channels to spread information about the project.
  • Create a website for outreach and development and to publicize the project efforts to donors and stakeholders.
  • Develop a video or documentary highlighting the project work and showcase it to the local community.
  • Publish Project newsletters.  Meant for marketing purposes, a newsletter should always focus on positive news.

Marketing the project is an integrated communications-based process through which beneficiaries, partners, local authorities, and communities discover that existing needs and wants may be satisfied by the products and services of the project. Marketing the project helps increase its visibility among other initiatives in the community, particularly when most communities may be receiving support from various organizations; therefore, projects compete for attention. By properly marketing the benefits of the project, the community will have better information to make decisions.

A critical element of the marketing plan is the development of a compelling simple story describing the goals of the project in a way that will get people excited about it as it sounds relevant to them, and they will be able to easily remember it.  This message will attract stakeholders to the project; but if the story is not appealing, people won't get involved. A good story depicting a shared purpose attracts people who share this vision and are willing to work to make it real. 

Marketing is not a one-time event, but a continuous effort. A common mistake is to make short marketing efforts, rather than sustainable marketing. Marketing for the long-term and consistently engaging people with the project means that the project is always seeking ways to connect with its stakeholders all the time and not only at the start of the project. Repeated and effective marketing ensures that the project remains in the minds of its intended beneficiaries. This is the long run that would help in establishing trust. Trust is created over a long period of time, and marketing is an effective way of establishing it. As a final step, monitor the effectiveness of the marketing plan, make appropriate changes, and adjust as necessary to improve the impact of the message.


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