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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Don’t Like Making Presentations? Every Conversation Can Be a Presentation!

I have heard on several occasions from people who ought to know better that they “don’t need to have Presentation training as they never give presentations

Let’s get it straight.  In almost every conversation in business there will be some form of presentation and possibly from each participant.

There is a noticeable reluctance on the part of many people to stand up in front of an audience and give forth of their wit and wisdom.

Indeed research has shown that if asked what a person fears most it is standing up in from of people they don’t know and giving a presentation.  As a matter of interest death usually comes fourth in the list.

One of the most valuable speakers that we can and indeed have had to my Vistage CEO Peer Group was a session on presentation techniques by award winning speaker Arti Halai (take a look at her at Powerful Presentations video with Arti Halai Fleet Street Training on You Tube)

Arti makes the point that a presentation can be speaking to an audience, obviously, but also times like being interviewed for a job, making a sales pitch or influencing potential investors never mind talking to your team in a meeting.

The fact is that we all need to master the fundamentals of making presentations so that whatever we need to communicate and to whomsoever will be clear, cogent and understandable.

For example, using the ubiquitous PowerPoint can be useful and it can be dreadful.

It can be useful provided that the slides are short, bullet pointed and expressed simply together with uncomplicated designs that emphasise the message.

On the other hand slides with large quantities of text, small typefaces and complicated or over-fussy designs can be a great turn off.

Even if the slide presentation is well put together there can be a tendency for the presenter to face the screen, back to the audience, and read out the text.  That can be irritating and patronising – can’t the audience read for themselves?

George Bernard Shaw said that a presenter should tell them what he/she is going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what has been said.

In other words, there should be a good introduction with a summary of the session, then the session then a recap of what has gone before.

Another useful tip for presenters is to ask the audience (preferably a small one) for their expectations and write them down on the flip chart.

At the end of the session go through the expectations list to see if they had been fulfilled (or not as the case may be!)

It is a good idea to take a look at TED which you can do by installing the app on your smart phone or tablet.

There is a vast number of great short presentations by speakers from all over the world to watch, enjoy and learn, not only what they are lecturing about but also the presentation techniques that they use.

Beware however; most of them are professional speakers and have given the session many times so it has been polished and corrected over a period of time .

Great presentations at whatever level need to be polished in the same way so pr3paration is all important.  Don’t imagine that you can just step forward and give a world class presentation without preparation.

Notes are essential in the early stages and make sure that they are all there, in the correct order and giving you the broad outline of each section.

They should be used a prompts not as a script.  There is nothing so boring as someone reading the notes with apparently no interest in the audience; just an obvious desire to get the thing over with as quickly as possible.

Run through it in front of the bedroom mirror.  If the mirror doesn’t crack and the reflection seems to be enjoying the experience, then you are well on the way to being a great presenter.

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