Presentation skills are more important than ever. You give a presentation because the computer just won’t cut it. The customer needs a human resource in the room.
If you’ve ever sat through a bad presentation, you know how frustrating it is. The presenter is losing respect and credibility, minute after excruciating minute. The sale will never be made, as the attendees cannot wait for an opportunity to escape. What’s a bad presentation? One that breaks one or more of the following rules:
Know and Respect Your Audience: Audiences are not all the same. Know the individual needs and strengths of your audience in advance, and tailor your presentation to them, specifically.
Present in Terms of Your Audience: Talk about them. If they’re in your audience, they accept that you have something useful to offer. There is
no need to toot your own horn. Instead, demonstrate how the material helps them achieve their goals. Address how successful implementation will benefit them. Ask them to explain how the concepts will benefit them.
Present Information In Multiple Formats: Give handouts. Have slides. Use photos and pictures. Have activities planned for every 15-30 minutes. Every person ever tested learns best when information is presented to them in a variety of ways, followed by practice utilizing the concept. Use all of these formats whenever possible. They’ll remember more of what you
Have At Least 1 Slide Or Visual For Every Minute of Lecture Time: People read and absorb the information on a presentation slide in an average of 15 seconds. 5 to 7 information points per slide is all that people can work with in their short term memory at a time. When it’s time for a new group of concepts, it’s time for a new slide or visual. Your audience will remain attentive and engaged.
Never Read Your Slides To Your Audience: They can read them, and probably have. Reading to them feels insulting. Use the animations in your presentation program to have text join the slide as you make points. Movement increases the intensity of audience focus.
Speak in Coherent Sentences: Nothing will make your audience’s mind wander like throwing in a few, “Um, you know, so, uh, well” space fillers. The only way to avoid this is to rehearse your presentation. It shows respect for your audience’s time if you’ve taken the time to properly prepare. No one notices when space filling words are missing, but everyone notices when they’re used.
Ask Questions Throughout, and Listen to The Answers: Being
asked a question makes most people almost reflexively answer it, at least in their head. This keeps your audience engaged. If you ask a question and your audience answers, address the answer fully.
Keep It Short: Present for slightly less time than you were given. People will ask questions and otherwise interrupt you, and you need to build in plenty of time for that. Deliver your message. Your audience has a schedule to keep.
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