5 Things to Help Your Presentations
I’ve been spending a lot of time doing presentations recently. Prep for legal, for prospects, strategy projections, school projects. On top of that, my wife just presented at a national conference in vegas. I really enjoy the chance to speak, because it helps me get better at presenting. However, I recognize that many people tend to think of public speaking as something they want to do less than getting a root canal. Whichever way you look at it, here are a few things which help me with my presentations, which I thought I would share:
1 Preparation – Don’t just slip your deck together 3 minutes before you are presenting. Build it a few days in advance, and run through it in your head. If you’re presenting for more than 25-30 minutes, you should probably practice with a spouse or friend who can give you feedback. It’s very easy to slip into monotony with lengthier presentations, so try and spice it up with obvious breaks (images, Q&A, activities, etc).
2 Visual Aids – Please, stop building powerpoint slides with paragraphs. For every slide, start with a picture in mind of what you are trying to convey. If you can, try and find a picture which does it with no bullet points. I know this is hard for those who have been in environment where you just share a powerpoint deck, but a good presentation is mainly the speech which accompanies the image. Look at experts like Steve Jobs who have slides with a single word, or a price, or an image. It’s all about the speech, the slides are just meant to reinforce what you are saying.
3 Tone – This is actually so important I am thinking of moving it up. The difference between a presentation which I hope ends quickly and a presentation which I am interested in is usually about the speaker’s tone. Don’t let people write your notes for you, unless you make them your own. You need to speak in your own words, and flow well with the right points. If you become monotone, people tune you out quickly. Try to avoid a “Bueller, bueller” moment if you can.
4 Design – This one hurts a bit. I am thinking back to some vivid purple and fuscia color schemes. Grey, Pink, and a Light Pink. Please, if you are not a color-savvy person, use one of the templates which is out there. Or go to one of the color matching websites which exist – I like Kuler from Adobe, because it has lots of premade color palettes available for you. While you’re at it, keep your audience in mind. Probably not a good idea to use giant comedic fonts for your professional presentation – unless you feel like that really conveys the style you want it to. Make it fun – the more the presentation feels like you, the more you will be comfortable presenting it.
5 Tools – This is something I see people get caught up on all the time. Your version of powerpoint is older than the file you prepared at home. Your laptop doesn’t have a cord to connect to the presentation materials. You didnt realize you were speaking to a room of 50 people without a mic. Do yourself a favor and make sure all the tech is available in case you need it. Keep a copy of your presentation online somewhere to access it. And go buy one of those wireless presenters. I use the Logitech R400 and it works great – simple buttons, reasonable range, and a powerful enough laser. I know I love that as much because it gives me something to do with my hands as because it helps me look professional. If only it worked on bluetooth so I could use it with my iPad.
Those things help me when I am presenting. What are the 5 things you would suggest to people to help death by presentation?