After a recent presentation on Social Business, I was given a compliment telling me ‘I should teach people how to give a good presentation’. That note got me thinking about what are the keys to a good presentation. I guess my teaching background provided the base for a lot of what I do today.
Every presenter/teacher has their own style and you should never try to be someone else on stage. You have to figure out your audience and know how they will react to the content you deliver. The same examples used in an internal company training may in no way relate to an external audience. If presenting in person, things will be different from presenting a webinar that has no face to face interaction (which are by far the hardest to do in my opinion). Prepping for your presentation is a must. If you don’t spend the time before hand, it will show. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. That is your time to work out the kinks and nail your presentation down.
- Engage the audience – Talk with the audience. Have a conversation. Ask questions to get them thinking about the topic at hand. Try to get them in a frame of mind to think their way through the answer based on concepts you’ve already presented or alluded to.
- Tell a story – Build a story around your presentation and tie it all together throughout the time on stage. Give personal stories or real world examples that they can relate to and help them understand the topic at hand.
- Don’t read the slide – I know that seems obvious, but nothing kills me more than watching someone read slides word for word. I can do that myself. Those are just a guideline for the audience. Know your presentation and be able to talk about more than just the bullets on the wall. Give details (see #2).
- Graphs & pictures for the win – The next worst thing after reading your bullets? Having nothing on the slides but text. Show examples. Have images that help tie the story together. Present your bullets one at a time or in groups. You don’t want the audience reading all the text and ignoring you while you’re talking.
- Show live demos – When you can, show live examples. It breaks up the ‘talking points’ and helps them see what you are showing them. If demoing the solution live is not an option, have clear screen captures that you can walk them through what they would see.
- Big finish – Wrap it up with a good example of the point you were trying to get across. Your last slide before asking for questions should tie everything together and leave them wanting to go back and try it.
As you prepare for your next presentation, think about these items so you can make it a success.