You may think that presentation is just one of those skills that you either have or you haven’t got…..but everyone has it in them to be a good presenter. Remember that you wouldn’t be giving the presentation in the first place if you didn’t know your stuff and let this give you a confidence boost from the start. But there are a range of practical steps you can also take to make your presentations more effective:
1. Decide your seating. Decide what seating you prefer – theatre style, board-room, U-shaped, and then ask for it. If you don’t ask, you almost certainly won’t get it.
2. Arrive early and check everything. That way, you can focus on what matters i.e. delivering your message and interesting your audience. Bring an extension cable and a remote control for advancing your slides. All too often your laptop will not be in the best location that will suit you as a presenter.
3. Never tell an audience you are nervous. All presenters are nervous to some degree, but the good ones prepare so well that the audience never knows and even the presenter soon forgets.
4. Avoid putting whole paragraphs or even full sentences, on your slides. You’ll be tempted to turn to the screen and read. Instead, use phrases that prompt you on what to say about each point.
5. Use the 6×6 rule for visuals. For visuals that use words – no more than six words per line and no more than six lines per slide. Keep it simple, the best slides are those that have no text at all. The audience comes to hear you speak, rather than read your slides.
6. Use some spot colour. This will emphasise points and add interest to your slides. Don’t put red and green together though, as 15% of the male population is colour-blind in the red/green combination.
7. Repeat questions that are asked. In a large room, always repeat questions from the audience before you answer them. Even the clearest answer makes little sense to those who didn’t hear the question.