Presentation Skills – 5 Must Read Tips For New Presenters!

Ok, you have done the preparation, planning and practice so your presentation (or training session) should be fantastic, fun and fulfilling right? Maybe, but chances are you have not thought long and hard enough about managing the audience for results. Here are five tips you should read before presenting for the first time.

1. Focus on the audience

‘All about me’ is not going to invigorate your audience. Spend time understanding each of the audience members, asking them questions and getting to know their needs and motivations. Do not underestimate this step. This can make all the difference to how you present your information and how the audience responds.

2. Avoid speaking to fast

A common mistake when presenting is speaking to fast. This is often a result of presenters worrying that they will bore the audience. The problem is that the audience take time to digest new information. It might be easy to you; after all it is your area of specialty right? You have been doing it for years. Do yourself and the audience a favour and slow down, pause and allow them time to take on the new information. You will be surprised at the results.

3. Engage the audience

Get them involved. The techniques for this are endless. The basics include, asking them questions, doing activities, group work, using visuals, stories, quotes and humour to help keep their interest. Their understanding will greatly increase using this method so get creative!

4. Show enthusiasm

Is the audience bored, sending text messages or checking their watch? Perhaps you are not showing enthusiasm for a subject. If you are passionate about a subject (even if it is the hundredth time you have delivered the presentation, your voice tone will vary as you speak. This will make a world of difference. If you do not do it now, get practicing. Fake it if you have to! Your audience will be forever grateful.

5. Know the material

The best way to increase your confidence and ability to focus on the audience throughout a presentation is to know your material and your presentation inside out. Once you do this, the focus is back on the audience. See step 1.

Follow these tips and you will be five steps closer to a good presentation. It should be noted that these tips work very well for group training sessions as well. Good luck!

Failure to Fully Explain Exercises Before Presenting Them

One common error when people write is to simply present an exercise and a title (and sometimes without). The author who does this makes two mistakes: First, in overestimating how easy it will be to entice readers into doing the exercise. Second, in assuming the reader will deduce what the exercise is for. Readers are notoriously reluctant to try exercises.

They lack confidence in their own abilities, are certain that even if they do try an exercise, they will find it difficult and taxing. They are also reluctant to invest their time in any activity unless they know beforehand that there is something in it for them. In order to motivate readers to try the exercises you offer, you need to preface all exercises with a paragraph or several that put the carrot on the stick and make clear what is in it for them. Always address these four key issues before you present any exercise:

1. The problem or lack of ability it remedies.
2. The promise. How it will benefit the reader: How it solves the problem or what new skill it teaches.
3. How and why the exercise works. The premise or idea behind it. What makes it effective.
4. That it is easy to learn.

In a book on marketing, for example, you might have an exercise called: Coining “Sell Phrases” that would be introduced something like this: “Most people think they can not coin the same kind of dynamic, sizzling ‘sell phrases’ that advertising and marketing geniuses do. But they are wrong.

You can learn to produce the exact same kind of ‘sell phrases’ on demand, every time you need them. You already have the ability. If you are able to talk to other people so that they understand you, all you need to learn is a simple, six-step process for coining ‘sell phrases’ that draws on your own ability to use words.”

Making Lemon-Aid Out of a Lemon PowerPoint Presentation

What do you do if your boss gives you a thoroughly lousy PowerPoint presentation to deliver and it has 50 bullet points on each slide, complicated graphs, and long sentences everywhere?

Don’t panic! In this case, your PowerPoint slides are not going to help your presentation. But they don’t have to hurt you or destroy the presentation either. Here is what I recommend you do in this tough situation:

1. Ask your boss what the desired result is from the speech.

2. Ask your boss what the 5 most important message points he/she wants the audience to remember.

3. Incorporating the info from your boss from the above two questions, go through the long, detail-intensive slides you have been given and select the one (and only one) most important idea from each slide.

4. Prepare to give examples, facts, details and preferably stories that flesh out the one key idea from each story.

5. Resolve that you are not going to read or even cover all of the other points or concepts covered on each slide.

6. Be familiar enough with the facts of the slides to answer questions that relate to them, but double your resolve not to cover every fact of number on the slides.

7. When you flash a slide up, close your mouth and give people a chance to read or absorb what is on it, even if it takes a minute.

8. Have a great opening for a minute or two that gives the audience an interesting and useful piece of information and a reason to listen to you before you show the first slide in your PowerPoint.

9. When you are finishing your presentation, remove your final slide and give a strong and powerful conclusion that is in no way dependent on your slide.

10. Remember, you aren’t really giving a PowerPoint presentation. You are giving a presentation where people are judging your skills, intelligence and long-term potential. So don’t let someone else’s bad PowerPoint handcuff you into giving a bad speech.

You can give a great speech regardless of the slides.