More Presentation Tips

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Based on his experience with TED talks – 18 minute presentations that focus on ideas – Chris Anderson wrote How to Give a Killer Presentation for Harvard Business Review. His main points apply not just to educational presentations designed to inspire and inform, but also the business presentations. His key points are:
• Frame Your Story: Presentations rise and fall on the quality of the idea. It’s the substance, not the pyrotechnics that make the real difference. That’s why you need to decide up-front: what’s the goal of the presentation and facilitate the audience’s decision-making process so they can take the actions you desire. Framing is about the idea behind the nuggets – the narrative, statistics, charts, diagrams, photos, etc. Go beyond the features and the material the audience already knows by gaining perspective on what the implications are and then educating and inspiring the audience to act.
• Plan Your Delivery: The best way to influence the audience is to let your passion for the idea become infectious. As Brian Tracy one said “selling is the transfer of enthusiasm”. That means you must master your material, so you are confident that you know it and the questions that are like to rise. Well planned presentations actually seed the questions you want the audience to ask – so you can demonstrate your mastery when answering them.
• Deliver to Connect: Great presentations are conversations – the kind you’re used to making naturally at Thanksgiving get-together, holiday dinners, etc. You are focused on the how well the listener is getting each part of the message, so you can vary the tone, timing, pace and other aspects of delivery to keep it always interesting. Don’t memorize – because then you’re concentrating on your ability to recall. Instead, know your material well, so you can focus getting and keeping the audience’s attention (using eye contact, humor, inspiration, etc.) so they can be infected by your authentic passion. Your stage presence increases the more you are perceived as being involved with the audience, as opposed to being self-absorbed.
• Plan the Media. Not all presentations need or should have slides! And those that use them should use them effectively. Increasingly, we find presenters understanding that the focus is on the message being delivered and that the slides, multi-media/video, simply need to complement the key ideas to drive home the points. Any other use of the media risks distracting the audience from paying attention to your message and passion. You usually can spot the difference by watching who/what is in charge. in a great presentation, the conversation between you and the audience is continuous with visuals complementing key points; in a poor one, you’ll find the person has to wait for the images to appear before being able to discuss the point.

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