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Advice for presenters

Advice for presenters

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As part of TrainingZone's April focus on presentation techniques, I'm compiling an article of tips and suggestions and am looking for useful contributions.

I've already picked up some useful morsels from our PowerPoint zone, (a little dusty, but still useful) and from contributors such as Simon Hurst and Abi Manifold.

I've got most of the basics covered - but what do you think really grabs and holds people's attention?

Feel free to share your most innovative or outlandish ideas - the more collective knowledge we can draw together, the more the whole community benefits.

I look forward to hearing from you!

TrainingZone
John Stokdyk

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By heapr
15th Apr 2009 11:20

In my experience, there are few generic fixes for delivering engaging presentations. This is because it very much depends on the nature of the subject matter, the make up of the participants and the purpose of the presentation.

Certainly, there are more 'don'ts' than 'dos'. for example:
- don't be a slave to the technology;
- don't blame the technology if it fails (it's your job to make sure it doesn't);
- don't rely on technology to deliver your content - it's you who was engaged to deliver, not Microsoft (or Apple);
- don't make assumptions about the make up of your participants (offending one person can cost you your reputation);

If I was to pick two 'dos' they would be:
- do remember that you do know what you are talking about (if you don't you shouldn't be there) and
- do feel free to be confortable in your environment (if you like moving around, do it; if you like using hand-outs given out after your presentation rather than slides, use them;

A presentation is, when all is said and done, a performance - your performance; give it the best you can and be prepared to take feedback; things can only get better!

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By admin
11th Apr 2009 09:29

Presentation skills is an skill that covers many areas, from designing your content, slides or speech, to delivery and performance in front of an audience which can be small, large or even remote.

As a result it is a topic that you can write many books on and still there is more to talk about. The rise of functionality in modern presentation tools has meant that more and more people tend to hack up a number of slides quickly, usually consisting of a number of bullet points and then go on to deliver their presentation. This makes their life easier as they can just look at the screen, see what they need to talk about and then move on to explain it to their audience. Unfortunately, the audience, usually bored to death, can’t wait until the next speaker comes along. The problem is not really the presenters, as they usually have a lot to do and very little time to spend on their presentation, it is more as a result of the software tools that encourage them to use this approach.

Hence, to get better, you need to follow a number of principles and guidelines when preparing your content. For example, you have a huge number of options at your disposal when designing your presentation such as colours, fonts, placements, images, size, animations, photos, videos and so on. However, many of these features may be inappropriate or work against your message.

The question is what should you do?

The answer is, use a simple consistent design. You don’t have to use all the features available. Presentations are valued based on what people take with them when they leave, so it is all about leaving an impact. This means,


Delivering a compelling story

Giving a presentation with a visual impact

Presenting a memorable performance, getting the audience fully engaged, making eye contact, using deep strong voice and so on

Extending presentations using experiments, props or live demos

World-class videos designed to extend the presentation beyond its current level, but without the risk of live demos (they have a tendency to fail in technical fields)

Designing viral messages, so the audience becomes your marketing arm

Using interaction, accelerated learning principles and exploiting brain’s huge visual capacity to increase retention of ideas

Overall, presentation is a skill that everyone must possess, since if you want to help the society you need to be able to ‘present’ and ‘sell’ your ideas, and the more efficient and skilled you are at it the better.

We cover this topic in presentation skills training materials, for those who are interested to learn more, please follow the link

Hope this helps


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By schma_m
09th Apr 2009 08:06

Plenty has been written about the PowerPoint (or Keynote, for you fellow Apple nerds!) being a great tool for generating presentation nightmares for all involved...

Well, you maight want to get yourself a copy of Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte.

It's not about PowerPoint per se, but it is about presentation slides, and how to create high impact, high interest, presentations with such slides.

It covers colour, layout, graphics - how to select the correct charts to present your message for example.

It has as its philosophy (IMHO) the notion that the colour scheme, selection of images & charts, font, placement, transitions etc all operate together, often at the sub-conscious level, to transmit and reinforce your message.

Duarte has some 20 yrs of experience in graphic design & communications, with some notable 'celeb' clients.

She has an interesting & useful blog at http://blog.duarte.com/

Buy/borrow a copy, read it, use it - even just bits of it. You'll be gald you did. I was. (Find it on Amazon)

Cheers

Martin

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By nicolawarham
02nd Apr 2009 12:53

Try this exercise, it takes 2 minutes max., is energising, and very effective.

Take things right back to the very beginning, before the presentation has even begun. Picture a group of say 100 people walking into the room, where is their focus at that moment? Probably they are busy thinking, thinking about the journey they've just had, where they're going next, when is lunch, in otherwords they are focused internally.

Before the audience can focus on the presentation fully and totally, each individual needs to go through a process from being inside to outside, they must be engaged with
- themselves (mind to body)
- the group
- then the presenter

This order is important, we want to gently draw peoples focus at each level and this way you have a better chance of maintaining the focus for longer. How?

FROM MIND TO BODY: Ask your audience to stand and gently pat down each of their arms, across their shoulders, and over their head. Do it 3 times. Why? This draws awareness away from mind as well improving blood circulation.

ENGAGE WITH PEERS. Still standing, ask each participant to turn to face the left, then gently but quickly with finger tips, brush from top to bottom the back of the person in front of you, do it 3 times. Now, turn to the right and repeat. By engaging with our peers we are forming a cohesive, supporting environment, and the back-brush is a great way to establish a connection quickly.

Now, your delegates are ready to engage with you.

Oddball Training
www.oddball.co.uk

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By alunbarrett
02nd Apr 2009 12:13

When you consider that 37% of the UK working population has a preference for kinaesthetic learning props can be exceptionally poweful. I once gave a 10 minute presentation having carried a post office sack of footballs on to the stage. I had everyones attention and it was incredibly effective. At the end I carried the bag off. Though I never refered to the bag or the contents in the presentation everyone in the room hung on every word I said because they all wanted to know what was in the bag.

Have a look at the outline of a "Presenting Yourself" day I delivered last week

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By lauragaillard
02nd Apr 2009 12:12

Hi John

We have trained over 140,000 people in presentation skills, from top organisations to politicians, to deliver more entertaining and engaging presentations. See below our top ten tips for effective presentations.

1. KNOW YOUR SUBJECT/MATERIAL
- RESEARCH THE MATERIAL
- USE ANICDOTES/WAR STORIES

2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
- TRY EARLY INTRODUCTIONS AS THEY ENTER
- IMAGINE THEM AS FRIENDS NOT AN ‘AUDIENCE’

3. PRACTICE - THEN PRACTICE - THEN PRACTICE AGAIN
- REHEARSE OUT LOUD - AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL YOU ARE WORD PERFECT
- UNDERSTAND THE EQUIPEMENT/SOFTWARE/HARDWARE YOU ARE USING

4.IMAGINE YOURSELF GIVING THE SPEECH
- VISUALISE HOW IT WILL GO ON THE DAY
- IMAGINE THE AUDIENCE APPLAUDING AND SMILING

5. KNOW THE ROOM/LAYOUT/FORUM
- ARRIVE EARLY
- MAP OUT THE AUDIENCE LAYOUT
- CHECK YOUR EQUIPEMENT

6. RELAX (BREATH)
- DEEP BREATHING - 4 IN, 6 OUT BREATHS
- CHECK BODY POSTURE

7. DON’T FORGET THAT THE AUDIENCE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED
- THEY WANT TO BE STIMULATED
- THEY WANT TO BE INTERESTED
- THAY DO NOT WANT YOU TO FAIL

8. DO NOT APOLOGISE FOR ANY (IMAGINED) PERSONAL SHORTCOMINGS
- YOU ARE CONFIDENT
- THE AUDIENCE WOULD NOT NOTICE IT ANYWAY

9. CONCENTRATE ON THE MESSAGE NOT THE MEDIUM
- THE MESSAGE IS THE IMPORTANT THING
- DO NOT FACE THE SCREEN – CONCENTRATE ON THEM

10. GET AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS POSSIBLE
- THE MORE YOU DO THE BETTER YOU GET
- VOLUNTEER FOR MORE PRESENTATIONS

For more information don't hesitate to contact me at www.ontrackinternational.com

Thanks

Laura

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By springy
01st Apr 2009 20:16

Hi John

In my presentation skills training and coaching events I like to work on building personal confidence. I believe that getting into the best possible emotional state is absolutely essential to delivering a really great presentation. The audience take away more from a presenter with passion and personal power than they do from the topic itself and I think this aspect is vital. I work on thoughts, feelings and beliefs and getting would be presenters to visualise, prepare mentally and emotionally and get into a great satte through anchoring. I also think daily affirmations and positive thinking go a long way to helping presenters prepare themselves and feel really strong and confident.

Hope this helps - please contact me direct of you want to discuss further.

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By Lynnette Moran
06th Jul 2009 11:46

John,

as well as agreeing with much of what has already been mentioned, there is a guy called Alan Bonner - search on YouTube, he has a few really short but insightful clips re public speaking that I have used to really get the message across (recently with new graduates who were literally terrified of presenting!!) and got great feedback from.

best wishes, Lynnette

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By jhoward
06th Jul 2009 19:29

My focus when presenting as well as when training people in presentation, is to concentrate primarily about what people in the audience are going to learn or go away with, rather than what you're going to say.

I've seen that transform a person's style in a day.

It's useful, building on this, to think:
"If people in the audience only took away one idea from my presentation, what would I want that to be?" and then give yourself "only two" and "only three."

But of course it depends on the purpose of the presentation - if it's really just to entertain people and make the presenter look good, then it doesn't matter if people can't remember what the point was. How often have we heard "It was certainly very interesting although I can't really remember what his/her main point was. But what a great presenter! such presence!"

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Dr Valeria Lo Iacono - business trainer
By Symonds Training
31st Oct 2019 10:29

I did a talk about this recently and there are many ways to improve one's presentation skills and the key ones that I always tell people are:

i) Keep training simple - by this, I mean that we can easily start using a discourse (way of speaking and terminology) that is too complex for the audience. So keeping it simple is the first thing.

ii) Understanding and learning how to use silence and pauses can also greatly help you as a presenter. As a rookie, a pause or silence can feel very awkward but moments of silence such as for a moment of reflection or to give people time to think of answers to questions can be a useful tool for a good presentation.

iii) Practice and work out the timings - it continues to astound me how many presenters fail to practice their presentations. How many times have I seen a 10-minute presentation last 20 and so on. Practice really does make it more perfect as a presenter.

iv) Learning objectives - making the learning objectives clear from the start is always a great idea. The audience will buy into what you are teaching and how you present it if they can understand why you are teaching specific points (i.e. how they fit into the training).

I have listed some other key tips (15 in all ) in a piece on classroom trainer tips.

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