Author Topic: How to Give Great Presentations  (Read 129 times)

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How to Give Great Presentations
« on: October 28, 2008, 08:56:34 AM »
How to Give Great Presentations
By Jon Greer

I’ve heard a ton of people give advice about presentations, and most of it, in my
humble opinion, is bad advice.

Tips such as “gesture with your hands” are not bad tips, per se, but they aren’t
geared to the needs of people who actually have to learn to give better
presentations. If you’re at the level of learning how to use your hands better,
you’re an advanced presenter. And most of the people I see are so far from
advanced it’s not funny. They need fundamental recommendations for giving
great presentations.

That’s why I developed my list of the Top 10 Tips for Giving Great
Presentations. These are designed to be fail-safe tips that, if followed, will
surely improve the quality of any presentation.

1. Familiarize yourself with the venue: Check out the room: the
configuration, speaker location, microphones, seating. This will increase
your comfort level and decrease uncertainty while speaking

2. Know your audience: Who’s in the audience? What is their knowledge
level of your subject? Will there be competitors in the room?

3. Know the context: When will you speak? How long? Who else is
speaking? How will Q&A be handled?

4. Establish rapport: You don’t have to start with a joke, but it’s helpful to
have a brief icebreaker at the beginning to show your humanity. Example:
“I’m really glad to be speaking to you today and I’m honored to be on the
same panel as the distinguished Dr. Smith.”

5. Look at individuals in the audience: Don’t stare into space, don’t watch
your own slides, or look down at your shoes. Look into the faces of the
people listening, one at a time. Speak to one, then casually turn your
attention to another.

6. Simplify your presentation: No matter how technical your audience is,
they aren’t as versed in your subject matter as you. Simplify difficult
concepts, explain jargon, give examples, use anecdotes.

7. Start by giving the audience a roadmap to follow: Different than
simply stating your “agenda” – the roadmap tells them the 3 or 4 key
concepts you want them to take away.

8. Flag the concepts you want to make sure they don’t miss: Flags direct
the audience’s attention to the most important material and bring wandering
minds back to your presentation. Examples of flags: “Here’s the most
important point…” “Here’s what I really want to get across…”

9. Repeat your points at the end: Don’t assume the audience was
following your presentation to the letter. Include a brief summary slide that
re-emphasizes your key points.

10. Relax: It’s not as stressful a situation as you think. The audience is
rooting for you to do a good job and will happily forgive small gaffes or
lapses. Give yourself permission to make small mistakes – everyone does.
Don’t panic if you make a more serious mistake – stay calm, take your time
and resolve the problem carefully.

And here’s the uber-message: it’s all about the content and the storytelling. If
your story makes sense because it has a beginning, middle and end, if you
organize your speech to take the audience from Point A to Point B in a
reasonable amount of time, then everything else will fall into place. If your
presentation is an organizational mess, no amount of coaching or tips will save


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How to Give Great Presentations
« on: October 28, 2008, 08:56:34 AM »

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