As I am writing this, I am listening to a completely boring and humorless presentation. The speaker has very good intentions. She has great knowledge about her topic. She knows many facts by hard and you have the feeling that she is actually good prepared for the presentation.
The bad thing: Her presentation sucks. The reason is not the topic, neither her skills and knowledge. It is the style and the way of the presentation which sucks. Here are a few points and I bet you can refer to atlas a dozen presentations you’ve seen yourself:
- The slides include more facts than Wikipedia
- She is looking her notes every few seconds
- Her body language is showing disinterest instead of openness
- She is standing at one single point all the time
I don’t want to criticize with this writing but I want to show you a few ways to rock every presentation you will hold.
10 Action Steps for a Great Presentation
- Record your presentation on video: By recording your presentation, you will be able to analyze your body language and especially your way of presenting. If you hold a presentation in the near future, make sure to have a charged camera with you. You can use your laptop, smartphone or a cheap camera you own. The important thing is to record it. You will detect flaws, annoying speech patterns, negative body language. The good thing: as soon as you are aware of the negative issues, you will automatically improve it the next time.
- Don’t use Fonts smaller than 40: This is a universal and great trick. Setting the minimum font size to 40 has several positive effects. First, it limits the amount of text you can put on your slides. Secondly, it makes sure that everyone can read what is written on the slides. Thirdly, as it makes sure that not too much text is on the slides, it will focus your audiences’ attention to you and not your slides.
- Don’t use big numbers: If your presentation is data intensive, try to cut out all unnecessary numbers. People cannot and will never remember the numbers you are putting on your slides. Try to make rememberable comparisons: Instead of saying this phone has 16 GB of RAM, say something like: “Our phone is one of the fastest and the best suited for multitasking.”
- Use a dark background: Nobody likes looking at a bright white slide for more than a minute. Using a dark background is more convenient for the eyes, and it will ensure your audience’s full attention over the course of your presentation.
- Get 3 Yes Before Starting: Getting three yes from your audience before you are kicking off with your presentation will ensure your audience’s full attention. It is a psychological trick and with three yes, you already have the audience on your side. How to get three yes? Ask something like: Can everyone hear me?
- Don’t use notes: If you use notes, it means you are not 100% competent about your topic. Go through your presentation as long until you don’t need notes anymore.
- Go through your whole presentation at least once: This is important to check whether you can hold your presentation in the given time-frame. If you don’t manage to hold your presentation within the time frame, cut out some slides!
- Don’t look onto your slides: You should know what is written on your slides and as you use fonts larger than 40 it is nearly impossible to read from your slides.
- Dress like your audience: If you are dressed superior to your audience, you will be seen as arrogant. If you are dressed more casual than your audience, there is the danger that your audience will not take you seriously. Example: You are wearing a shirt while your audience is bankers in suit and ties.
- Finish your presentation on time: If you overrun the time limit of your presentation, you are basically stealing your audience valuable time. This will put you in a pretty bad light. Finish on time, always!
The most important point is to record your presentation and analyze the way you are presenting. This will make you aware of all bad points of your presentation. By recording your presentation you also have the possibility to make your presentation available to everyone worldwide. How? Upload your presentation to YouTube. Last week I held a presentation in front of 25 people. I uploaded it to YouTube and just after 7 days already 100 people watched it. This is 4 times the reach I had last week. Presentations are a great way to improve your public speaking skills and to build a personal brand. I hope my tips and tricks will help you with your next presentation!