Effective presentation skills can be learned and three things to keep in mind for a most successful outcome are PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION!
Naturally there are several other aspects to take under consideration but preparation is key – as is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Did that give it away? What I am referring to is THE RULE OF THREE, that people tend to remember three things, so keep that in mind when you are deciding what the message is that you want your audience to walk away with.
To assist you in preparing for your next presentation, here below are some thoughts and recommendations that I have gathered over the years that I am confident will make you feel more at ease come presentation day!
Please feel free to provide comments and add other suggestions that you consider helpful.
Prepare and ensure you Know the Audience
> who are they, what do they want, what is the common interest that brings everyone together?
Engage the Audience
> use “story telling” to connect the audience with each topic and get participants to “brain storm” by providing “food for thought”
> use visuals that support and clarify the point that you are making
> speak in a conversational tone and avoid lecturing
Interact with the Audience
> be in the moment
> encourage participants to contribute to the dialogue by asking questions and providing their point-of-view based on experiences they have, related to topic being discussed
> do a “pulse check” – “How are we doing?”
> Help steer dialogue back to topic at hand if necessary and have someone capture and write down any items that are brought up during presentation that are not directly tied to the topic but are of interest to the audience, so that proper follow-up can be arranged
> test consensus, check if audience is in agreement
> use an Audience Response system which allows you to get immediate feedback
Challenge the Audience
> to actively participate in discussion and polls
> provide some thought-provoking information and ask audience to provide different perspectives
> by providing tool where the audience anonymously can post questions (i.e. mobile technology with SMS/Text) you encourage more people to participate, even those that might be a bit shy in front of a large group
Respect the Audience
> start and end on time
> make sure you provide something of value, whether it is new information, an insight or motivation
Less is more – stay to the point
More images – a picture tells more than a thousand words, just make sure that it somehow relates to the topic at hand
Less bullet points – too many bullet points and words on a screen distracts the audience from WHAT you are saying and can also take away from HOW you are presenting it