5 Tips to Knock Your Next Presentation Out of the Park
Stand Out by Being You
I just came back from a five-day conference and attended over 25 sessions. All the presenters were smart people with lots of valuable information to share. But some people did a better job than others.
If you’re giving a presentation on a particular topic, I assume two things: you possess the knowledge required, and are genuinely interested in it.
With that in mind, here are five things to think about before you prepare for your next presentation.
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are
Most people share basic information about the organization, which is helpful to give context. But who are you?
I’m not talking about a detailed review of your resume. Share something personal.
Are you a dog owner? Have your cape and wand ready to wear every July 31 to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday? Do you love roller coasters?
Start by telling us a little bit about you. Share something that makes you uniquely you.
It’s also a great way in for those of us attending the conference to talk to you afterward. Maybe I love Harry Potter too or I traveled to Ohio to ride a roller coaster.
2. After you introduce yourself, share what you will be covering
Don’t give me a long and tedious agenda slide with tons of copy.
Instead, provide a brief introduction to get me excited about what I’m about to learn. What problem have you solved? I am in that room because I need to know how to do the same.
Providing structure can be helpful to let people know what is coming up, but it doesn’t need to be very detailed.
3. Use humor throughout your presentation. And, the inflection of your voice matters too.
You’re not up there to tell jokes, but a little humor goes a long way. It can break the tension in the room.
If you’re in a room with people who get you, then inside jokes or amusing nods can add a breath of fresh air.
Also, try to avoid being monotone if you can. Monotony might be your natural state, but it is essential to push yourself to add personality to your delivery.
Delivery is such a significant piece of any successful presentation.
It can be painful to listen to someone who has no inflection in their voice — even if they are super smart and knowledgeable.
4. Don’t read your slides
These days, 95% of the time, slides are provided either before or after the presentation. Use your slides as a guide and reference, but there is no need to recite every word on every slide.
Nobody wants that. Really.
The best presenters draw you in and keep your attention by telling a story. They share their struggles and ultimately, how they came to resolve them.
Use your slides to highlight salient information or better yet, give an example to illustrate your point.
5. End with a takeaways slide
Everyone will benefit from you taking a few minutes to re-cap your actionable information.
We all know the old saying: “Tell someone something, repeat it, and, then, tell them one more time.” Repetition is helpful when you’re processing new information.
By wrapping up with a takeaways slide, you give us the chance to see what we learned holistically and think about potential questions we may want to address later.
Take small steps to create a memorable presentation
With these straightforward steps, you can turn your next presentation into a home run that people will long remember and appreciate.
I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to learn from people who solved challenges and now generously share their knowledge with colleagues at other organizations.