Whether we are nervous public speakers or not, far too much attention usually goes on the content of the presentation and any technology associated with it (like PowerPoint) rather than knowing the steps you have to go through - from start to finish - that makes a presentation more effective.

Here are five steps that take you from the start to the questions at the end - and if you can prepare for all steps, then you're much more likely to have a positive presentation outcome.

One - don't forget the introduction

This is a typical fault of people who are very nervous. They launch into the content of the presentation, eager to get it over and done with. Wait, stop! Every presentation needs an introduction, in fact some of them rely a lot on introductions if you're presenting to people who may not know you.

The presentation is all about the audience, so have the courtesy to introduce yourself, your role, and what you're going to be telling them. How much detail you go into will depend on where you are and who you're presenting to, but everyone deserves a relaxed entry into what you're about to present. It also helps manage expectations and get the audience primed for your information.

Two - Capture their attention

Let's face it, a lot of presentations are boring - we've all sat through those. Even if it's something that you know people won't be interested in - let's say, for example - that you are trying to reduce paper waste in the office. Instead of starting with "Here are some new rules in the office"... which is negative and will most likely be met with groans, how about saying "Did you know we throw away enough paper in this office to fill three football fields?" This approach is more interesting, and gets the audience engaged in the problem in a positive way.

Three - Stay organised for the body of the presentation

If you have time, practise runs will show where your presentation "sags" or lacks interest for the audience. What can you do to correct this? Rather than show a chart, why not get people up and presenting different, conflicting numbers so that they are better compared? Why not use video rather than a flipchart to make your point? Try not to veer off subject - this often happens if you take questions during, rather than after - and stay focused and concise.

Four - Don't jump around topics

If you have a lot to present, break it down into relevant topics, instead of feeding your audience all the information at once. Use the refreshment breaks as good stop points, if they are scheduled. Otherwise, allow your audience to digest what they just heard - have a transition into a new topic so that they can stay focused on the subject at hand.

Five - Don't forget to conclude

Once the main body of the presentation is over, we are usually itching to get the questions over with and then exit the room as quickly as possible. Don't forget to conclude (concisely! Don't repeat large chunks over again) and then invite questions. This is a must, as you have to give your audience a chance to clarify things. It also counts as feedback - if you're always getting the same questions about the same part of the presentation, you can do better on that next time.

Conclusively, the better prepared you are for a presentation, the more your audience will get out of it - and so will you.