1. Use visual aids
Using pictures in your presentations instead of words can double the chances of meeting your objectives.
2. Keep it short and sweet
There is an old adage that said – “No one ever complained of a presentation being too short.” Nothing kills a presentation more than going on too long.
There are some college professors who will penalise a short presentation (most lecturers see no problem in droning on) , but for most people a shorter presentation is better. Keep your presentation to under 22 minutes if you can.
3. Use the rule of three
A simple technique is that people tend to only remember three things. Work out what the three messages that you want your audience to take away and structure your presentation around them. Use a maximum of three points on a slide.
Practice makes for perfect performance. Many experts say that rehearsal is the biggest single thing that you can do to improve your performance. Perform your presentation out loud at least four times. One of these should be in front of a real scary audience. Family, friends or colleagues. Even the dog is better than nothing.
5. Tell stories
All presentations are a type of theatre. Tell stories and anecdotes to help illustrate points. It all helps to make your presentation more effective and memorable.
6. Lose the bullet points – don’t put your speaker notes up on the screen
Bullet points are the kiss of death for most presentations. Most people use bullet points as a form of speaker notes. To make your presentation more effective put your speaker notes in your notes and not up on the screen.
7. Video yourself
Set up a video camera and video yourself presenting. You will see all sorts of mistakes that you are making, from how you are standing, if you are jangling keys, to how well your presentation is structured.
8. Know what slide is coming next
You should always know when presenting which slide is coming up next. It sounds very powerful when you say “On the next slide [Click] you will see…”, rather than than a period of confusion when the next slide appears.
9. Have a back-up plan
Murphy’s law normally applies during a presentation. Technology not working, power cuts, projector blowing a bulb, spilling coffee on your front, not enough power leads, no loudspeakers, presentation displays strangely on the laptop – all of these are things that have happened in presentations that I have given.
Have a back-up plan. Take with you the following items – a printed out set of slides – (you can hold these up to the audience if you need to), a CD or data stick of your presentation, a laptop with your slides on it. Just in case it goes wrong.
Guess what? When you have back-ups – you seldom need to use them.
10. Check out the presentation room
Arrive early and check out the presentation room. If you can make sure that you see your slides loaded onto the PC and working on the screen. Work out where you will need to stand.