Yesterday I had to sit through a horrible presentation. I mean 2 hours of a straight disaster! Rather than allow those two hours of my life to be wasted, I decided to write a post both for myself and for my dear readers. If you have the pleasure of being a speaker or presenter, please keep these tips in mind:
1. Do not read to the audience from a PowerPoint. If you are going to read the PowerPoint word for word, then why do you need to be in front of the crowd? You can simply create a handout or a memo with the information and save some time. PowerPoint is meant to be an accessory to your presentation. The audience should be focused on you and your words, not the screen…
2. Know your audience. While some things are out of your control, if you can figure out the age and the overall vibe of your audience you can craft your presentation to their needs. Understand what offends them! If you’re doing a presentation for an animal rights group, you probably don’t want to wear that leather skirt with your new fur and those python pumps. You will immediately lose their trust and they won’t take what you’re saying seriously.
3. Be careful with your emotions. In most cases strangers don’t care about how many kids you have or how hard you work as a parent. We all have challenges and in a professional setting (depending on the topic) it may not be appropriate to go all Desperate Housewife.
4. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. Nothing says you don’t care about your audience like careless typos. This is ESPECIALLY true if you are giving a talk about evaluations, professionalism or image. Oh, the irony!
5. Give them new information or new insight. If you’re going over an instruction manual, don’t read the manual!!! Talk about hypothetical scenarios or use the opportunity to problem solve and troubleshoot as a group.
Google “Life After Death By Powerpoint Video” for some more interesting tips. Presenting and pubic speaking are skills that have to be taught and developed but I’d rather you learn the important lessons BEFORE you’re in front of a crowd!