On balance we probably attend more poor presentations than we do good ones. It is a missed opportunity because, with a little practice and preparation, most of us can deliver something that is highly competent and therefore significantly better than what most of us have or will experience.
When presenters aren’t clear why they are presenting rather than using another form of communication it shows: too long, too much detail, too many PowerPoint, too short, no little detail, nothing to catch the imagination. There are many pitfalls in presenting to others. The major one is ‘What are people expected to do as a result of your presentation?’ Along with ‘How are you going to get them to do that?’
The two critical elements of any effective presentation are structure and behaviours.
Presentation structure is very dependent upon the outcome required from the event. There are a range of skills and options here, used as and where needed to achieve the outcome required. Storytelling will often add real power and influence on the presentation as it allows the presenter to bring something usually inanimate to life and give people an emotional reason to go and do whatever needs doing. Having a through-line will help pull the presentation together, giving is meaning and allowing people to process the content more effectively as well as making it more memorable.
There are no silver bullets when it comes to presenting, but there are some truths. People who have a clear intent will always give a better presentation than someone who is merely going through the motions. Practice does make well nearly perfect and also allows the individual to hone their intent for the presentation they are delivering. Understanding that the most important thing is what you want people to as a result of what you are telling them not that you looked good while you were doing it (although if you get the former right, the latter will follow).
Presenting can be a rapid win for anyone building confidence and credibility if done professionally and with clear intent.
Experienced presenters know that the only way to ‘nail’ a presentation is to practice and refine the presentation until it is where you want it to be and then ensure that your delivery is precise and timed to within an inch of its life.
The obvious things to avoid are:
The slides of death
The deflating tyre
The hard sell
It’s all about me show
Don’t shoot the messenger
Hide behind the tech show
Talk to us if you know you want to try something different.
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