Even if you’re a comfortable, confident presenter, poorly designed slides can ruin your presentation. Remember that you should be the center of attention; the slides are there to support you, not replace you. Complex, overly wordy slides will draw the attention away from you. The audience will look at the slides and not hear what you’re saying. The general rule is to simplify your slides until it hurts … and then simplify some more. As William James said, “The essence of wisdom is knowing what to leave out.” Learn how to prepare good, supportive slides in the video.
When you’re speaking in public, your primary physical objective is to appear comfortable and confident on stage. Many coaches specializing in presentation training will give you very specific tips on how to use body language to your advantage, but the primary tip is to do whatever makes you feel Continue reading
I’m a pretty good public speaker. But I’ve noticed that the mistakes I make tend to come in predictable locations: near the beginning or near the end. At the beginning of a speech, I’m often keyed up and I sometimes forget things or simply start too fast. Near the end of the speech, I want to go for the big, dramatic finish. Sometimes it works; other times, it doesn’t. Between the beginning and the end, I tend to calm down, settle into a rhythm and do reasonably well. So I’ve improved my presentation skills by learning to take special precautions near the beginning and the end. Learn how in the video.
It seems that we’re addicted to PowerPoint. Every time we have an opportunity to present, we prepare by firing up PowerPoint, reviewing old slide sets, and creating new slides. Can we break the habit? I’ve been trying to live without PowerPoint for about a year now. When I start a speaking presentation I ask, “Would it be OK if I don’t use PowerPoint today?” The audience reaction is uniformly positive and I can feel their defense mechanisms start to soften. It also makes for a more engaging, more interactive presentation. Watch the video for tips on how to do it.
Speakers often begin their presentations with a joke. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s none of the above. Can humor help persuade an audience? Well, yes and no. Self-deprecating humor can help you build credibility with an audience and that can help you be persuasive.
But the main reason to use humor is to hold the audience’s attention. People like to laugh. So if you make them laugh early in a presentation, they’ll look for additional laugh cues later in the presentation. They’ll pay more attention because they don’t want to miss your next joke.
On the other hand, humor will never move an audience to action. People who are laughing just want to keep on laughing. If you want an audience to actually do something, the most potent emotion is anger. Humor helps people absorb information. Anger moves people to action. It’s why our political ads are so angry. Learn more in the video.