Tips to Make your Next Presentation a Winner

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

SCT: Build a Social team

Social Collaboration Tip: Build a Social team

Don’t try to build a community all by your self.  Find champions from different departments and get them on board.   You need to find people that want to use social tools and get them to help champion your cause.  Once you teach them the goals and mission that your company envisions, they can help you with:

  1. Training & on-boarding
  2. Moderation of the ESN
  3. Follow-up training & support

One person can not truly handle all of this, you need a team.  Build a Social team.

SCT: Social Collaboration Tips

Some of my most recent posts have centered around effectively using Social Media tools to collaborate and get work done.  I’m a big believer that Collaboration is the key to success. I don’t necessarily think that means sitting around a big table talking out ideas for hours (but more on that in a future article).  What I’m referring to is Social Collaboration.  Finding a platform that allows you to share and collaborate anytime, from anyplace, from anywhere you may be.

If used correctly, it is a powerful tool that no business should be without.  One reason that I think Social Collaboration fails is lack of social etiquette (or knowledge or proper procedures). It’s not typically the fault of the participant, they probably weren’t trained.  With that said, I’ve decided to start a series of tips that will hopefully help alleviate some of this.

I have no schedule for how often I post these.  As they come to me, I’ll post them up. A recent tip came out of pure frustration when I was working with a vendor.  I’m sure you are all frustrated at times with the people you collaborate with, so let’s have them.  I’d like to crowdsource this topic and build it up. Send me your topics, or articles or simply write you own and tag it SCT.

So how do you participate?

  1. Comment here
  2. Send me an email
  3. Connect with me on LinkedIN and send me a message
  4. Tweet me a topic
  5. Schedule a meeting in a conference room and we can discuss it
  6. Skype me
  7. Call me
  8. Send me a letter in the mail
  9. IM
  10. Other communication ideas you have (please see #1-9 for ways to let me know)

SCT: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Any Social Collaboration software worth it’s weight will have some type of ‘Task’ or ‘To-do’ functionality.  Basecamp has ‘To-Dos’. IBM Connections has ‘Activities’.  All too often I see people have a conversation in a forum or discussion thread and ask others to complete a task.  The problem with this is several things:

  1. It may not be fully defined task
  2. The person you are asking to complete it may miss it in the rest of the conversation
  3. Changes or additions to it can get lost in the conversation

Instead, you should take advantage of the system they provide. The ‘To Do’ function should allow you to assign it to a person, assign a due date and define/discuss the task at hand.  This provides you with a clear communication method to get the task at hand done.

SCT: Don’t hijack another post

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t hijack another post

While it may seem like a silly statement to say, I see it all the time.  Just because it’s easier to ask another question or you think it relates to the topic at hand, don’t start another conversation in an existing entry. It makes it confusing to follow along with the original topic and causes people to abandon the question.  When you have several subtopics going on, the original idea gets taken over and is never fully discussed.

Instead, start a new topic for you idea, question or thought.  If relevant to the other topic, simply place a link to your new topic in the original discussion. This way, all ideas will get the full attention they deserve.