So I have a big presentation coming up. It will be just me and a power point discussing the local food movement in Oregon. My topic is huge and there are so many different ways to tackle it that I have mostly been focusing on what my timeline will be and what aspects of the local food I want to discuss. Until I started thinking, what about when I am actually standing up in front of my audience? I’ve gotten over most of my stage fright and fear of presenting in high school, but by no means am I a presentation expert.
Lucky for me my instructor and writer of PR Landscape gave a great presentation on presenting and I found this useful article on PR Daily, 5 Ways to Avoid a Presentation Disaster which offered some great tips. From these two sources and what I have noticed through having to sit through many a bad presentation I have gone ahead and compiled my own list of do’s and don’ts that will hopefully help with my own presentation, and any presentations you might have as well.
1. Don’t linger too long on one slide. A presentation should always be supplemented with interesting visuals and if you leave your audience to stare at one slide for too long, you may notice your audience growing restless for something new.
2. Don’t make the presentation all about you. Yes, you have a captive audience, and no, they don’t want to hear all about you while getting nothing in return. Thank them for taking time out of their day to listen, and be open to questions, After all questions means that your audience actually cared enough to ask.
3. Don’t forget to make your presentation a story. We all love a good story. If your content is heavy on the facts and figures or seems dry, give it context and a storyline to drive your point home.
1. Do take the time to design. Even if you aren’t the most dynamic public speaker and you wouldn’t describe yourself as gregarious you can still offer your audience something beautiful to look at. Create clean colorful visuals that support your topic. Make an infographic if appropriate, and avoid having slides overloaded with text.
2. Do command your space and project your voice. Who cares what you are talking about if no one can hear you? Make an effort to speak to the back row of the audience and maybe even ask if everyone can hear you before you begin.
Along with that, how do you expect your audience to pay attention to your content if you’re constantly fidgeting and clearly not comfortable in the room? Command your space, stand still and stand tall. Personally this is my biggest problem. I am a squirmy person by nature and I have a bad habit of playing with my hair and jewelry while speaking, but I’m working on it.
3. Do practice! Even the best presentations can fall flat if unrehearsed. Practice to make sure you within your time limit, comfortable with your topic, and aware of how quickly and when to switch you slides. Also while you practice try and anticipate what questions your audience might have and think of answers that will tie into your key messages.
I know I will be using these tips for my upcoming presentation and I hope this helps you as well!