Here you can find links to really valuable resources related to presentation design, delivery and to development of own presentation skills.
Prepare the structure of your presentation, but keep it flexible. Prepare visuals (and reminders) and most important transitions between different parts. If you can, leave some space for spontaneity and creativity on the spot. True, for this you will need some confidence…but it will also give you many advantages, biggest of which is the opportunity to adapt to the audience and their reactions.
Try out a couple of different tools, and find out which one works best for you. Some ideas:
Practice, practice, practice! Mirror? Fake audience? Real audience? Camera? Toastmasters? It is all about practice!! The more you do it, the better you will get. Especially if you get some valuable feedback and ideas for improvement from your audience.
What keeps the presentation interesting and memorable
Find stories, analogies, quotes… Use your imagination. You have a vast amount of resources and ideas available on the internet and in the books. Perhaps it might be useful to check out the list of resources here: Great resources
Presentation is only as important as the impact it creates!
Impact on both the presenter and the audience. Therefore, don’t forget…
One of the most valuable things that the presenter can receive from his/her presentation is evaluation and feedback from people whom you trust, his/her own evaluation (it can be useful to use a camera for this purpose) or direct feedback from members of the audience.
To create real impact and change in your audience lives, follow up on your presentation – check what action did they do. Follow up by email or in person. Strategically schedule follow-ups.
//STATISTICS – how long do we retain some info?
Your audience must feel that you are credible and honest with them.
To build that relationship, the most important element is eye contact.
Also, confident posture and body language is crucial, especially the way you move and the way you use the space around yourself, being able to approach closer towards the audience, yet not to be perceived as aggressive or pushy.
Be honest and be spontaneous!
It is less important to deliver the perfect presentation and it is much more important to appear human! That way audience can identify with you. Empathize. Feel close and connected. By being more ready to step into your shoes, they will be more open to listen to what you have to say.
Do not hesitate to put in some humour, but keep it on the level that will not be offensive for anyone and that will be tied into your presentation, instead of being distractive.
Most important: Keep it interactive! Keep people involved. Ask them questions. Give them time to think. Allow them to ask you questions. Look for their feedback and be aware of their reactions. Don’t forget – they are just people, just like you, and that human effect is the strongest link that you have towards your audience.
Beautiful example of connecting with audience can be seen in Benjamin Zander’s TED talk – he is using passion, humor, surprise, and more than anything, radiates honesty and warmth:
Majority of the people take in a lot of information through the visual channel.
It is very important to offer something visual in your presentation, to make it clearer for your audience, but even more, to make it more memorable (check the post on Memory hooks).
Don’t let the visuals distract the attention of your audience. You must still be in the centre of their attention, not your visuals!
For an example of effective usage of visuals, check out some of RSA Animate videos.
Powerpoint is an amazingly powerful tool, which can significantly improve your presentation. Yet did you ever hear of the term “death by powerpoint”? Be careful not to exhaust your audience with too many slides, and not to offer more information than one can process. Keep it simple, innovative, inspiring, memorable, and always be sure that your powerpoint supports your message, and you as a speaker, in the best possible way.
Here you can find some advices on how to use powerpoint efficiently: http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/
If you would like to see how to use slides to hook your audience in a fascinating way, check Hans Rosling in his TED talks:
Flipcharts are great for presentations in which you would like to keep the audience more involved, and things more flexible.
Amazing book on how to create some wonderful flipcharts is called “The Big Book of Flip Charts” by Robert W. Lucas.
Some inspiring and practical advices can be found in this great blog:
You can use picture in the presentation to create Memory hooks for the ideas that you are conveying, and you can use them to inspire, create atmosphere, evoke the emotion, to make people smile, or to touch their hearts. Pictures are one of the most powerful tools, and it is definitely worth putting some effort into finding the right pictures for your presentation.
You are your own visual
Your own appearance is visual of its own. No matter how unfair it sounds, it is a fact that some people appear more credible, more expert, or more lost then others. Luckily, big part of the impression that you might leave is in your own power. Use your posture, clothes and accessories in a way that you leave a good impression, but also to support your presentation in a way that you grab the attention of your audience instead of potentially distracting them.
Good video about visual thinking (with some original slides as well) can be found here:
TEDx Talk from Sunni Brown about Creating the doodle revolution.
There are five key tools that you can use in order to transfer your message with power, impact and in an effective way:
1. Display belief and confidence in what you are saying
To put in simple words – convey your message with a conviction: a self-confident voice, confident and balanced posture and direct eye contact! Nothing is as convincing as person that believes in what (s)he is saying, especially if that person radiates confidence.
Good way of conveying you message is in a Question – Answer format: set up a problem first (raise the question in your audience minds, open a gap, awake the need), and then offer a solution for that problem (offer the answer, close the gap, satisfy the need).
Avoid saying anything like “what if i tell you….”, “or maybe you will not…”, “i believe…”, “in my opinion,…”, because it sends a message of insecurity, and might raise resistance if you set yourself as the authority.
A good way to go around resistance (if your audience is wondering “who are you to say that this is so?”) is to use someone else as a reference – “People say…”, or perhaps “My mother used to say…” or “Barack Obama always says…” – preferably someone with significant authority and credibility.
2. Statement – Action – Benefits
State your claim. Suggest the actions that might solve this stated problem, or achieve this stated goal. Provide the benefits that this would bring. Simple and straightforward – always keep these parts included in your presentation and bind them together (although order doesn’t really matter): “statement – actions – benefits”.
3. WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?”
WIIFM is what every member of the audience wonders! Why should I be sitting there and listening? Why should I care? How will this solve my needs or my worries? What are the benefits for me? So be sure to provide each member of your audience with the answer to this question! And make so early in the presentation – otherwise you might lose their interest!
4. Use the tools
Don’t forget to use voice, body language, movement and visuals to underline the most important points!
Good example of delivering the message with conviction can be seen by Tom Hanks:
Also, Reagan in his speech “Tear down this wall!” (4 minutes) transferred the message very clearly, and with conviction:
But also be careful not to overuse those tools, and make them distractive. Use them as you would use any tool – when needed, practical and applicable to the context!
5. Prove it!
Give proof of what you are saying – example, statistics, story, your personal experience. Ask audience to test for themselves! Don’t let it just hang in the air, but offer some background for the statement in which you are trying to convince them.
What The Perfect Presentation blog is all about
This is a blog for everyone interested in developing their presentation skills. Or just getting some inspiration, ideas and tips for good presentations.