Volunteering

January 5, 2010

To become better at presenting, you need to do more of it.  Although I would like to think that reading this blog will help, there is no substitute for doing it.  As such, I would recommend that you volunteer to give presentations at every opportunity.  The more presentations you give the better you will become.  As some one who is recognised as an accomplished speaker, your status within your company and among your peers will be raised.  It will do your career progression no harm what so ever. 

In general, people are successful at 95% of the tasks the attempt.  The biggest cause of failure is not trying.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever

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Visual Aids

January 5, 2010

Visual aids should be exactly that; something to look at that helps to get your message across.  Something the audience can look at, something that engages an additional one of their senses.  They may be slides, computer generated graphics, they may be objects you can hold and touch.  Anything that adds more to your presentation and that helps to get your message across.

Visual aids should not be a constant stream of bullet points, which people can read instead of listening to what you are saying. It is doubtful that people can both listen to you and read your bullets at the same time. All a screen full of bullet points does is enable the audience to get ahead of you, they don’t add any value to your presentation.

If you are prone to creating presentations full of bullet points then after you have finished creating all this bullet point slides, go back through them one by one and ask yourself ‘How could I convey that information using pictures?’  Some people will find this much easier than others will.  Luckily, with the Internet you are now no longer constrained to using clip art.  Search the net for photographs and images, which can help you to convey your message.  You may end up with more slides but you will also have a more interesting presentation.

You need to be careful that you do not infringe any one’s copyright.  But there are thousands of copyright free images and libraries of images that you can purchase the rights to use.

Once you have replaced the bullet points with images, do not throw away the bullets put them on to your cue cards so they remind you what you are going to say while the image is being displayed.

There are people who dislike PowerPoint (or similar software) presentations. Personally I am not anti-PowerPoint, I think that showing a good visual aid while you are talking helps to convey your message and can make it more memorable. The key part of that last sentence was the “good visual aid”. Showing a set of bullet points while you talk is a very poor presentation style.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Variety

January 5, 2010

Variety is the spice of life and the key to a good presentation.

For anyone who has used the first section of the M1 as it heads out of London will know this long straight road is probably the most boring road in England.  When this first major motorway was created, the designers thought that, as there was no speed limit it would be safest if there were no bends.  So the motorway is dead straight and you can see for miles ahead.

On a busy Friday evening, coming out of London, all you can see is mile upon mile of brake lights in front of you.  There is little so dispiriting.

Over the years, motorway designers have learnt that sweeping curves make the road more interesting; drivers need to concentrate more and hence are far safer. Also you cannot see that the traffic jam you are in goes on and on for miles and there is always a little spark of optimism that round the next corner the road will free up. So bends are actually safer than straight roads and the journey seem to pass more quickly.

The same is true in a presentation.  Take people on a journey, have the odd diversion and bend, speed up and slow down, you can even stop for a picnic if you like.  All this adds interest to your presentation.

Don’t go in a straight line from A to B and let everyone know where you are going and how you are going to get there. They will all get ahead of you and stop listening while they wait for you to catch up.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever