Today afternoon, I along with a 100 other people sat through a 2 hour long business update presentation. The presentation commenced at 2:30 p.m. and it was intended for all the employees. I got very fidgety after 15 minutes. Contrary to my expectations, the lead presenter, someone with very commendable credentials wasn’t a great speaker. I had cultivated this wrong notion that people up the ladder are great speakers! They might be great strategists, great visonaries, great businessmen but not necessarily great speakers.
Here are some do’s and dont’s of obvious flaws that I observed and compiled during the 2 hour presentation of about 6 speakers:
It is not mandatory for every presentation to use PowerPoint. Content of any presentation goes beyond PP. The amount of preparation and the research one does eventually shows in the confidence of the speaker. Content is the king.
- Golden Rule: One point per slide. Do not clutter your slides with text. This distracts the audience to read all that’s up there.
- Put only the gist in the slide. The rest is for the speakers to talk about.
- Font size: Make it a 28-32 pt. Neither too small nor too big enough to read. This afternoon’s presentation required magnifying lenses.
- When there are too many related facts to compare, make a graphical representation.
- Display the entire slide at once. Do NOT use any fancy fly-in fly-out text. It is exciting at first but distracts the audience and gets too annoying.
- Organize your content in a logical flow. If you have too much of information to share and too little time, then focus only on the salient points.
- Do some ground work and get the facts right. You don’t want to get on the wrong foot by delivering incorrect information.
- Delivery :
Even if the presentation is rich in content, if not delivered right, all the hard work goes down the drain. by delivery I mean the demeanour of the person speaking.
- Golden rule: Do NOT read the slides. MSPP is just a tool to guide you. The presentation is in your head.
- Talk slowly. Indians have a very habit of talking fast. Blah blah blah no periods at all. One has to be very attentive so as to not lose track.
- Having said that, it does not mean you can be very slow. Space your words right and get the pace. Pause briefly between sentences and make it consistent.
- Variations in pitch is very important. Talking in the same tone throughout makes it drab.
- Humour is a key component. You instantly win the attention of the audience if you start your speech on a funny note.
- No “umm’s mmmmm’s aaaaa’s”.
- Enthusiasm is contagious. If you can show the energy and enthusiasm radiating in your face, great!
- Posture :
Most people don’t pay attention to it, but positioning yourself physically right is a vital factor too!
- Stand erect. Move your hands. Pace up and down if you feel uncomfortable. Don’t overdo it.
- Glance across the hall at everyone. Just don’t look at only one side of the room.
- A very trivial one but positioning your microphone correct is important too. Else you would be fiddling with it throughout.
- Arriving a little early at the venue to hook your laptop and be prepared is always desirable.