Practice is necessary if you want to define yourself as a great speaker. With these ten tips you can make a lasting impression on a seasoned presenter with PowerPoint or other presentation software.
- know your stuff
- Make it clear you’re there to share with them
- The picture tells a story
- You can’t have too many rehearsals
- Practice in the room
- Podiums are not for professionals
- Talk to the audience
- Presentation tempo
- Learn to navigate
- Always have a plan B
know your stuff
Your level of comfort with a presentation will be high if you know everything about your subject. After all, the public expects you to be the expert. However, don’t overwhelm your audience with your full knowledge of your subject. Three key points are just right to engage your audience so they can ask questions if they want more.
Make it clear you’re there to share with them
Use the proven method experienced speakers have used for centuries
Tell them what you’re going to tell them by summarizing the key points you’ll be talking about.
tell them; deal with the subject in detail.
Tell them what you said to them by summarizing your presentation in a few short sentences.
The picture tells a story
Grab your audience’s attention with photos, not endless bulleted slides. Often one spectacular photo speaks for itself. This old cliché has a reason: “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
You can’t have too many rehearsals
If you were an actor, you wouldn’t perform without practicing for your part. Your presentation should be no different. It’s also a show, so take the time to rehearse (preferably in front of people) so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
The added bonus of rehearsing is that you feel more comfortable with your material and the live show doesn’t sound like a story.
Practice in the room
What works when you rehearse at home or in the office may not be the same in the space where you are present. If possible, arrive early enough so that you can familiarize yourself with the room setup. Sit in your chairs as if you were a member of the audience.
This will help you assess where to walk and stand during your time in the spotlight. And don’t forget to check your equipment in this venue well before show time. The outlet may be limited, so you may need to bring extra extension cords.
Did you bring an extra light bulb for the projector? And an extra adapter to connect your computer to the projector, right?
Podiums are not for professionals
Podiums are “crutches” for novice speakers. To engage your audience, be free to move between them if you can, or at least change your position on stage so that you are available to everyone in the room.
Use an external device so you can easily switch slides on the screen without being tethered to your computer.
Talk to the audience
How many presentations have you seen where the speaker either read from his notes, or worse, read the slides to you? The audience doesn’t need you to read. They have come to see and hear you speak.
Your slideshow is just a visual aid.
A good presenter knows how to organize the presentation well so that it runs smoothly and at the same time is ready for questions and of course knows all the answers. Don’t forget to allow audience participation at the end.
If no one asks a question, prepare a few short questions yourself. This is another great way to engage your audience.
Learn to navigate
If you’re using PowerPoint as a visual aid for your presentation, check out keyboard shortcuts that let you quickly jump to different slides in your presentation when your audience asks for clarity.
For example, you might want to go back to slide 6, which has a great image to illustrate your point.
Always have a plan B
Unexpected things happen. Be prepared for any disaster.
What if your projector burned out with a light bulb (and you forgot to bring a spare bulb) or your briefcase got lost at the airport?
Your plan B should be to keep the show going anyway. Again, you need to know your subject well enough that you can create a no-do presentation if necessary and make the audience feel like they got what they came for.