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10 Simple Ways to Better Presentations

Yep it's true … often people are answering calls, answering emails and even shopping online during presentations. Don’t’ let this be you; make your audience sit up and take notice.


Here are some simple ideas on how to become more engaging ahead of your next big presentation…

1. Skip the preamble and apologies Opening statements like these are

counterproductive; I'm nervous, please forgive me; I'm not very good in front of crowds; I hate microphones … All your doing is alerting both your audience and yourself that you intend to fail, or at the best, you plan to be boring.

2. Share your passion--in the first seconds Show your audience within the first 30 seconds that you have something of interest to say – don’t’ start with “Hi My name is Bob and today I’m talking to you about ….” THEY KNOW this already and even if they don’t – not here, it’s too boring.

3. Show, don't tell Make sure your visuals are interesting and link to your message – but don’t have all your words on screen, again too boring. Lately I’ve been to too many presentations where there are complete sentences rather than a few words or an image.

4. Incorporate a whiteboard Visuals are recalled six times better than words alone. And when it comes to certain metrics--engagement, credibility, quality, recall and persuasive impact--a whiteboard in which graphics appear to be hand-drawn enhances a presentation's credibility.

5. Employ clear, simple visuals Infographics, charts, photos and other visuals should reinforce and complement your message – some that are interesting or fun works if appropriate too.

6. Check your timer Presentations that run 16 to 30 minutes are the ideal length – but it really depends on what you need to cover and what’s appropriate. If you need a longer time make sure you have a conversation with your audience – maybe even go off “spontaneously”

7. Avoid these words Um and uh, too much slang and certain buzzwords will make you seem like an immature speaker. Image is everything and you could blow a good impression, if not careful.

8. Don't fake eye contact, but make eye contact Look directly at the audience. Don't stare at the wall while presenting your PowerPoint, or worse look back and literally read the presentation – AND yes I see this regularly.

9. Practice... Know what's on the screen--without reading verbatim. Rehearse your timing as well as your presentation. Remember we are always more articulate in our minds than in reality. Practice makes permanent. If you haven’t worked with a microphone before and you need to, ask if you can spend 10mins practicing at some stage (maybe at the beginning of the day?)

10. ...but leave room for spontaneity Your job is to connect with the audience so they benefit from the information you present. The key is to be able to keep your presentation fresh and interesting; your job is to entertain.

Yep there are a heap of other things too; however work on these basics and you’re mostly there.

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