It’s not about PowerPoint … so give them a Show

A quick guide to effective Business Presentations. 

(2 minute reading time)

I thought I would follow up my ‘9 Mantras for Presenting’ blog with a short list of things we can STOP/START doing,things I’ve seen people do (or not do) when presenting, especially concerning visual aids and technology.

STOP/START:

STOP Relegating yourself to the position of “Clicker”, someone who is simply there to click the controller to move the slides on.  I’ve said it before, “It’s not about PowerPoint” and there is a reason people have asked you to present to them.  START to present to the audience instead of the screen.  Be the “Presenter” not the “Clicker”.

STOP Filling up your slides with bullets.  We’ve been talking about “Death by PowerPoint” for years now but I still see it.  START using slides as a visual catalyst to the themes you are addressing.  Find interesting graphics or images, quotes, BIG stats or small chunks of info that your audience can enjoy.

STOP Reading out the slides.  It’s pointless as your business audience in all likelihood can read.  START demonstrating your knowledge by elaborating, summarising and linking ideas you are showing.

STOP saying things like “you probably can’t see that”.   If the audience can’t see it, take it out.  There’s no point in putting up a table of data that people will struggle to read, so if it’s important, consider giving them a printout instead.  START rehearsing your slides from the back of the room and ask yourself “Can I read this?” and “Does it add value?”.

STOP  apologising and drawing attention to yourself.  Saying “I’m a little bit nervous” or “I’m not used to doing this” does little to inspire confidence.  I call them “discounts” as you discount your credibility right at the start.  It implies, “don’t expect too much from this, it’s probably not going to be that good” and when I’ve heard this it generally hasn’t been good.  START to develop a healthy mindset to Presenting (see previous blog).

Other suggestions:

Begin your presentation with the very best image/graphic/stat that will pull your audience in.  I once saw some fantastic 3D renderings of huge buildings someone designed demonstrating how good they were at what they did.  I will give you 3 guesses as to where those slides were in a slide deck of 30 slides before I made some suggestions?

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  It feels daft rehearsing on your own but believe me it’s worth every minute.  When stakes have been high I have rehearsed and rehearsed to the point I needed no notes. The beauty of this is you can focus on the audience and not on what’s happening on the screen.

Make sure you are in early enough to get set up and run through the slides, whenever you can.  My heart is in my mouth when I see a presenter on a stage with a laptop in one hand and an RGB cable in the other.  Get in early, get it all working, get in the zone.

Invite Questions from the audience. Sounds obvious but very few people do it like they mean it, I’ve even heard things like, “no-one got any questions then, no?”.  Do it with confidence and authority and really mean it.  This is your chance to check they have understood and overcome any objections, so use it.

 

There’s probably so much more I could say on this but for now I would be interested to hear your views and experiences, what makes or breaks our presentations?

Questions:

  • What things have you seen that didn’t work?
  • What suggestions do you have for using visuals and other aids?
  • How might we engage with audiences better do you think?

 

Contact letstalk@noguru.net  or call 0844 873 1226 if you want to find out more about what we do in this field.

 

Posted by John Drysdale
15th April 2016
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