8 Presentation Tips to speak like Coleridge wrote!
January 11, 2013 1 Comment
If you got my newsletter earlier this week, you know I promised today to give you some presentation tips and techniques to help you speak the way Coleridge wrote. You have so many opportunities to get it right, that with some concentration you can make every presentation compelling and helpful, and enhance your reputation in your company and your field.
How many times have you heard, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” This is pretty much true, but the devil is in the details, so here are eight tips to make you a star.
1) You know that almost all plane crashes happen at takeoff and landing and it’s the same with making a presentation. Don’t tap the mike, ask “is this thing on?” or “can everyone hear me back there?” Make the assumption that whoever set up the sound has taken care of all this for you. Walk up to the mike and begin speaking. If it’s not working you’ll know it immediately and you can pause while the sound guy turns on the volume.
2) If you’re wearing a lavalier or lapel mike, then agree with the sound guy what your cue will be. Usually there is a brief pause just before you speak. Look at him and nod. He will know to light up your mike.)
3) If you’re sick that day, had a horrible trip in from the airport, or are otherwise distracted, don’t say anything about it. Your audience doesn’t care and it’s a silly diversion. How many times have you heard a speaker begin with, “If my voice sounds a bit scratchy it’s because I’m just getting over a cold.” Who cares?
4) If you’re using Power Point, do NOT read any slide to the audience. Your slides should have quick, short phrases or concepts that complement your presentation. The audience is there to hear you speak. When you put up a lot of text, they’ll read it, and won’t listen to you. So keep your slides snappy and short.
5) Never tell an audience member who asks a question that you’ll get to it later. Be thrilled you got a question. Answer it right away and show you want to engage your audience. You were given a gift with a question, so thank the donor! And while I’m on that, always repeat the question for the rest of the audience, before you answer it. It’s a courtesy and promotes understanding for all.
6) If you are ever asked to kick off a training program, perhaps as the executive in charge of those being trained, your presentation should always contain these two elements, and nothing more:
A How the content of the training ties to the strategy of the company or the group.
B What you expect the group to do differently as a result of the training.
All too often I’ve been the victim of poor training kickoff speeches, in which the exec uses the time to talk about how the training will be fun, asks the group to pay attention, and other housekeeping issues that do not befit the role.
7) Never begin by telling your audience you are going to be brief. It’s irrelevant, and it suggests you won’t be brief at all. Most people take twice as long as they think they are going to need. Why set yourself up to disappoint if your promised ten minutes turns into twenty?
8) Use notes. Professionals speak from notes, so why shouldn’t you? When you speak from prepared notes, your audience believes you have planned seriously for this talk, which is desirable. There are few extemporaneous speakers who present in an orderly manner. I’m not one; I use notes.
Remember that in a way your audience are like customers as you are trying to sell them on your ideas, so
Think Like Your Customer