Friday, December 02, 2005

 

Three Tips for More Dynamic Presentations

This week I had the pleasure of attending a Kelsey Group conference focusing on Local Search. It was one of those conferences with many speakers and many panels, and I found it interesting to watch the differences between how various executives handled their speaking opportunities.

As with many conferences like this, multiple executives from different companies offering essentially the same services appear on a panel, yet some executives comes across far better than others.

The difference isn't always in their products, or in their presentation content, but largely in their delivery.

I could go on and on about public speaking best practices, but just based on the past couple days at this conference there are three things I believe can help any speaker stand out from the crowd:

1) Don't read your slides: If you are using Power Point slides as part of your presentation, cut the words on the slides down to a minimum, and make sure your taking points compliment and augment those slides. When speakers read, or even paraphrase in linear order, audiences get bored quickly.

2) Know your content: This may seem obvious, but it's clear when speakers don't know what slide or point is coming next, and rely too much on their Power Point deck to remind them. If you know your content well, you likely aren't even looking at your slides. You're looking at your audience, directly connecting with them, which will make you far more engaging and interesting.
3) Show passion: This one is harder, as some speakers are more inclined to be passionate than others. Passion can be communicated in many ways - use of hands, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. Regardless of what you're comfortable with, or pre-disposed to, use this to your advantage.

The common theme in all three of these tips is to get your audience engaged. Make them want to listen to you. No matter the subject or content, better audience engagement will signficantly increase how well your audience hears your message, and whether they want to learn more.

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