During 2018 you will most likely give presentations with PowerPoint or another graphics program. This is a good time to consider some principles that smart presenters use.
- PowerPoint is about the Message and not the Slides. Tell the story. Focus on the content and make it engaging. If the graphics have a WOW factor that is a plus.
- Flow the Key Message through the Whole Presentation. If you are using a good narrative format in your verbal remarks you will use segues between key points, summarize and interject examples or anecdotes that are interesting, provocative or humorous. You will repeat the key message in a number of ways and support it with other data points.
- Presentations are not Readings they are Performances. If you are “reading” the information on slide after slide – you are boring and you will lose your audience in the first three minutes. You are on a platform and you should consider yourself a performer. Your body language, expression, voice quality and enthusiasm will bring your narrative to life and the audience will be intrigued. You do not have to present all of the points on the slide. You can summarize and talk through the main message.
- Practice – “OUT LOUD” is Required to be an Excellent Presenter. Practice washes away the filled pauses and lays down a memory of the framework and segues and key points.
- You are the Message. Before you work on your graphics and verbal remarks work on how you present yourself. Look sharp, have good posture and some sparkle in your eyes. The audience first looks at you the person and then listens to the message.
- The Opening and Close are Really Important. Spend some of your prep time analyzing your audience and determining what would grab their attention in your opening. Do not thank in your opening – you will waste those precious few seconds to engage our audience. Thank at the end. Your close should have a call to action. You must make that part memorable as well.
- Be Succinct. Leave them wanting more. It is a whole lot harder to present a powerful message in a short period of time. However, your audience will retain more if you are succinct and if your presentation executes the other six principles we have discussed here.