Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Present as the best presenters do!

At long last! Finally! I have I have just returned from two incredible conferences in the USA and have seen some amazing presentations. What made them so good?
1. Body language was just excellent! They stood properly and moved around with confidence - no-one was stooped over with crossed legs and pens clicking in hands. Their chins were level; their sternums were up; their weight was well distributed on their feet and their eyes were actively engaging with the group.
2. They had done their research and it showed! They knew what was critical information and this was presented in a logical flow. The 'nice to know' material was added in at certain points in the presentation and then energy picked up again so that the audience remained on their toes.
3. They told fabulous stories! You were just spellbound listening to their personal stories or to stories about organisations. The story-telling reinforced the key messages and was never there just for a laugh or a joke. The story had a clear link to the message and gave the practical side of what did or could happen. I commit to never doing a presentation again without a really good story included.
4. The slides were excellent! There were lots of them, but they were not covered in print and you could read them from the back of the room. They had a few definite bullet points and added to what was being said through great choices in images. After all, don't we want our presentations to be memorable and for people to act on what we shared with them??
5. The presenters were not faultless - they stumbled every now and then. A slide came up too quickly or they lost their train of thought for a few moments. But they did it with good humour and self deprecating laughter and no one in the audience minded at all.
6. Their diction was clear! No long pauses and certainly no umm's and ahhs to detract from what was being said. They built credibility as we were able to follow their thought patterns and buy in to their concepts.
7. Some presenters introduced excellent, very short videos in to their presentations and wow, what a difference that made: just livened things up and helped to reinforce a key point. You never forget it. As an example, search for the Panda adverts on Youtube....
8. They had rehearsed and had built their confidence by receiving feedback from colleagues or other audience members or even through self-assessment. This helped push them to the next level and build in further improvements.
So: a big reminder to me to lift my game!!

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