Killing Your Next Presentation

  • Arrive early and engage those attending your presentation.  In other words, put them at ease one on one and they will pull for you while you speak.
  • Start promptly, don’t wait for your audience to quiet down.  End promptly, never go longer and avoid overstaying your welcome.
  • Seriously reconsider the use of PowerPoint slides and limit them to topics that must be graphically explained.   Audiences hate slides.
  • Encourage or at least be open to two-way input.
  • Don’t get hung up because audiences are on their phones texting and answering email.  Your job is to startle them, awaken them, and make them listen.  In a recent presentation when I was losing my audience to their smartphones I said to myself “say something that makes them want to put their phones down”.  One thing is, “I’m going to go around the room and ask for your thoughts on …”.  They’ll wake up.
  • State what the goal of your presentation is and end by summarizing how you accomplished your goal.
  • Avoid humor unless you are really funny.  Aim for being authentic.  Have the courage to be yourself because that always works best.
  • Before beginning remember that you have earned the right to present on this topic so command the room.
  • Engage the audience after your presentation and listen to them one-by-one.  This is where they get to ask questions or comment.  You listen.
  • Always give yourself an “A” for completing a presentation in this way.  Never think of ways you could have been better until you take a night to give yourself credit for all you did that was right.

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