Manager's Quick Hit List: Presenting Skills
Now we are moving back in the room, how to deliver a presentation worth listening to...
BE CLEAR, CONCISE & ON BRIEF. Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought, so think what you want to say, check that it is on topic, answers the brief and is relevant to this audience. Be concise but suggest testing on a colleague to make sure in editing it down you haven’t lost the context.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Do your homework and find out a bit about who is attending and what their interest areas are and tailor your content accordingly. Avoid too much obvious and standard spiel or repeat what is already a given or known. No-one wants to suck eggs.
SHOW YOU ARE INTERESTED. You don't need to be an actor or a comedian to present but you need to ensure you are engaging with the audience. Get some eye contact going, make sure you are not delivering in a monotone voice (record a practise run on your phone), and show some interest in what you are saying – all of which will be evident in your delivery and make for better engagement.
THROW IN A JOKE. This comes down to knowing your audience but personally I would suggest a ‘story’ that resonates over a joke that could fall flat. This is your chance to find a connection with those you are presenting to. Find the common ground or something that interests them that you can open with - it'll make them sit up and listen.
DON’T BE CLEVER DICK. Never suggest you are uber clever by pointing out that you correctly predicted something, or you have scoop. It’s more likely to irritate than impress.
DON'T BABBLE, DO BREATHE. Avoid being too chatty, it can come across as nervous or that you have lost focus. remember to check the volume that you are talking at, pause from time to time and breathe.
THEY CAN READ THE BULLETS TOO! You may be reading from bullets and reminders but make sure your language flows and add value to what is up on the screen or you audience will already be on to the next slide.
LANGUAGE MATTERS. Work on the construction of sentences and paragraphs. Use the language of your everyday speech, not that of a spokesperson, lawyer or bureaucrat. If you try to use any words that are outside your own comfort zone it will very quickly become apparent.
PPPPP: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Yep it still holds true - so don’t leave it to the last minute - rehearse, get feedback and refine.
DON’T FORGET THE GRAPHICS & TECH. We have all learnt something from watching the Downing Street briefings… Next Slide Please!
BE YOURSELF. Everyone will get nervous, we all do. Use your strengths and stay true to what you have to say. Believe in yourself and make the presentation your own and that passion will come across and get your audience sitting up and listening.