Perfect your presentation

This book is very useful as a summary of how your presentation would have to take place. If making a presentation looks to you something as “tell them what you’ll say to them, tell them and tell them what you told them” (the old catch phrase) then you will learn from this book. I read it especially for power point presentation tips but I learnt some new things and refreshen my memory with some old ones.

This book has five parts: the preparation, the content, the presenter, the props, and the crowd.

1. It is very important to begin with a bang. Not only the introduction is necessary but also the way you finish and close your presentation as something you capture your audience’s attention. Focus on why you do a presentation and evaluate what are the benefits for your self (converts, kudos, etc) and other parties involved. Make very clear specific goals for your presentation and be aware of who do you want to impress. If you know who will be your public in advance, ask yourself why will you be there. Adapt to the audience. Do not plan to talk about more than three or four key points in one presentation. And do not forget to inform the listeners what are the benefits to them, what advantages will they have after you speak.

2. Keep the content short, well organized and direct. Avoid elaborated phrases and technical language. Instead of making abuse of sophisticated speech, use simple language for a great effect. The structure of he presentation should look like this: the bang – introduction – main points – summary – closing in high style. Make a sketch of your presentation and use color-codes for highlights, so you can be a guide for the public through your presentation. Use as may as possible examples, illustrations and brief real-life examples. When you finish do not forget to make a short summary, to add an idea or a quote, to give thanks and make a final punch line. Always conclude with a call to action.

3. The presenter should use a lot of body language, but not to much. He should smile. Dress properly and do not forget to rehearse.

4. The props. I was surprised by the first category: people. The power point presentations: they are useful because they offer an overview of your whole presentations and can let you know where you have to add or to take out information. Break the presentation: five slides with only one idea are better then one slide with five ideas. Insert chapter headings, use bullet for key points and make a single line of text for one idea. The text from the slide should:

– summarize or recap
– be an aid for the memory
– present a key fact or a figure
– have a quote or an image (with proper copyright condition)
– use strong graphics and cliparts
– faded backgrounds
– use images and videos the you took
– use friendly fonts
– make it clear that this presentation was put up esspecialy for them
– for hidden slides hit “h” and for black screen “b”

5. Address the public a simple question: why are they here. This will make them more concentrated on the meeting and even if they do not want to be there they will not have anger on you. Make some appeal to an authoritative figure from your corporation and don forget about passion when addressing to them. If you give handouts, print only half of page so they could take notes. Don’t distribute them at the beginning they will only read forward. Do not take questions from anonymous.

Photo by via flickr