I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it takes to make a great presentation. Over the past month I have been doing almost one presentation a week. Yesterday, I traveled to Abbotsford, a small community outside of Vancouver, to speak to the local bar association. On the way there I complied a short list of my favorite presention tips:
- Check your ego at the door. The focus for your presentation is your audience and how you can best use your designated time to help. What have you got to say that will most benefit the attendees?
- Get to know your audience before the event. Find out as much as possible about their needs and concerns and learn what they would like to get out of your presentation. If you can’t contact some of the audience members beforehand, introduce yourself to people as they arrive and ask them. Or as a last resort, open your talk with the question – although you will get more information if people can speak to you in private rather than in front of the whole group.
- Settle on the top 3 points you wish to emphasize in your presentation and build your speech around them. Which of the three ideas is the central focus?
- Embrace imperfection. Many great speakers touch us because they are so down to earth. Put your emphasis on being genuine and up front rather than perfect and polished.
Surfing the web this morning I found Garr Reynolds web site. Reynolds is a former Apple executive who now teaches at a University in Japan. His site has lots of great presentation tips and his blog post this morning has an illustrative comparison of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs presentation styles. It’s worth reading if you want to re-think how you handle your PowerPoint slides.