We all know that writing a great presentation (and delivering it!) can be a very daunting prospect for even the professional presenter. Worrying about whether your audience will get the jist of what you are saying, that you won’t be too boring, speak too slowly or too fast and that everyone will be engaged with you.
Is it all sounding familiar?
The crux of the matter is writing a good presentation WILL take time, you WILL need to practice how you deliver it, but by following some of our top presentation technique tips you will DO it!
- Present what you know – Sounds simple, but knowing your subject matter will ensure that your passion and enthusiasm shines through. Even if you stumble over words or whatever, your audience won’t care because it will be clear to them that you are an expert in your subject.
- 10-20-30 Rule – Guy Kawasaki wrote that a presentation “should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points”. Although he was talking about pitching to investors but it is good for any presentation. Especially when most people will need a break after 20 minutes of learning. This rule ensures that there is no death by PowerPoint scenarios!
- Summarise – By summarising your presentation at the beginning, your audience will understand what they’re going to learn. Think ‘elevator pitch’, can you sum up your presentation in less than 15 words, this will make it succinct.
- Avoid too much text – This is one of the biggest and most common errors people make. Do not feel the need to include everything in your slides, avoid the over-use of bullet point lists, paragraphs of text and tiny font sizes. You want your audience to be looking at you and not the screen. So make notes have cue cards and use a couple of sentences per slide to prompt you of the content, after all the audience came to hear you speak not read.
- Don’t repeat what is written on your slides – This is one of the most painful things to watch when a speaker reads verbatim what is written on each slide. Give context and elaborate in more detail to what is on the slide.
- Practice – Yes, practice really does make perfect. Do it in front of the mirror, record yourself and play it back or get a small group of people together that will give you helpful feedback. Then do it again and again and again until you know every detail of your presentation, all the slides and the order in which they appear.
On the day
- Dry run – It is so important to test out the facilities that you will be presenting in. You will have spent hours or even days into getting your presentation content right so don’t miss out this simple tip. Test out the equipment you are using, this will flag up any local technical issues (e.g. lack of Internet connection, poor slide projection, lack of sound).
- Make eye contact – This may sound like a no brainer but it will make it more engaging for your audience, so many speakers spend their time looking at their feet, at their slides, at their notes – anywhere but the audience.
- Know your audience – Now, I am not saying become an Internet stalker. Or anything like that, but it will be advantageous to understand what makes your audience tick. You can then adjust any anecdotes to suit what is important to them and will help you build rapport.
If if you follow these tips then you will deliver some exceptional presentations. Remember do not get complacent and stop following the rules, just because one presentation went well. By always following these tips you will be on the road to success.