Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective, Part 8
Welcome to the penultimate part of this “42 things” series entitled ‘Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective’ – you can catch up from previous posts, starting at the first part Giving Presentations, From An Audience Perspective, Part 1.
Ok, so you have finished your slide deck, checked your venue (and yourself), and have started the presentation. Time to really focus on the message you are ready to convey.
If using slides try and use meaningful imagery instead of masses of words and keep bullet points short and punchy. If what you say can be said in less words then use less words – this also helps add more punch to your presentation and helps prevent you being tempted to read from the slides. When talking, try and stick to the main points – if you just noticed you have wandered off track remember the audience noticed a few moments before you did.
Questions During The Presentation
Keep audience questions short, focused and on-track. Always clarify the question and repeat it so everyone can hear what was asked (some people like to sit at the back). Sometimes people have a tendency to use a seminar as their own personal question and answer session so offer an offline discussion or close the question politely. Answer the question if it can be answered briefly but do not get sidetracked from your message – people will start looking at their watches – take it offline.
Find Your Voice
I often see the same presenters and the best ones are the ones who have found their voice. Get into the flow of what you are saying, feel what you are saying and express your excitement about things you are really passionate about. It is often easy to tell if you are simply reading someone a presentation created by someone else so during those times really try and find a way to connect with the audience. Finding your voice can take time, and lots of practice, but when you have found your voice you will find presentations much easier to do.
For some inspiration watch The Last Lecture given by the late Randy Pausch.
Handouts And Web References
Not everyone can remember everything you said or did so leave some reference material for people to take away. Remember the important rule – try and avoid handing this stuff out at the beginning. It is way too tempting to read ahead and tick off slides whilst you are talking. Before you even realise it we are not listening any more – we are reading your hand outs.
The Last Slide Is As Important As The First
Your message must be on the last slide of your presentation and be used to restate and reinforce your message. It also helps tie things together and acts as a useful milestone to indicate the journey is complete.
I remember one particular seminar, given by a popular graphics software developer, when the very last slide – the slide that was in big letters in front of the audience (this seminar was held in a cinema so imagine the size of the screen) did not show the key message. Instead, this last slide listed a number of negative aspects of the very software application the company was trying to promote.
What do I remember from that presentation? You guessed it … the list of negative things.
This article was brought to you by Jason Slater Technology Blog
Catch Up Posts…
- Giving Presentations, From An Audience Perspective
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective #2
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective #3
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective, Part 4
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective, Part 5
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective, Part 6
- Giving Presentations From An Audience Perspective, Part 7
Previous 42 things…