Effective Presentation Techniques

Making a presentation or public speaking of any kind can be made a bit easier if you follow the following simple tips as outlined by Marjorie Brody, CSP, CMC. They may not immediately eliminate the knots you may feel in your stomach but once practiced will ensure a smooth and professional presentation every time.

1. Know your P-A-L. Your Purpose, Audience and Logistics. Purpose: Whether you are talking to your boss about getting a raise or updating an entire department on a project, know what your purpose is in giving your presentation. Is it to inform, persuade and/or entertain? Tailor your presentation to your purpose.

Audience: Who is your audience? What age group are they in, where do they live, what attitude do they have?

Logistics: These are the things that have to be organized. You should know how much time you have to speak, what time of day it will be and how the room will be set up.

2. Pay Attention to Timing Plan, prepare and practice for 75 percent of the allotted time you are given to speak. If you end early, no one complains, but ending late is poor planning. If you expect audience involvement, plan on speaking for 50 percent of the time and using 25 percent for the audience participation.

3. All Presentation Material is Not Created Equal When preparing your speech, consider the must know, should know and could know. Limit material based on time or audience interest.

4. Hit Emotional Buttons. Include stories, analogies and metaphors to reinforce the key points of your presentation. That creates more impact and action than pure data.

5. Create User Friendly Notes. Use bulleted points instead of sentences. Make the type easy to read (use a felt tip pen or at least 18 point type, bold face, if printed), only use the top 2/3 of the page to avoid looking down, and use highlight pens to indicate the must, should and could know information.

6. Practice Out Loud and Say it Differently Each Time. "Spontaneity is an infinite number of rehearsed possibilities". Doesn't Tiger Woods still practice?

7. Channel Your Adrenaline into Enthusiasm Stage fright is a negative term for excitement. No coach tells the team to be calm. Instead, control the physical symptoms of stage fright by breathing from your diaphragm and using positive visualization. Being prepared will also boost our confidence.

8. Deliver with Passion It is amazing how catchy enthusiasm is. If your voice is expressive and your gestures animated, you will appear to be confident and passionate.

9. Think ahead to all Possible Questions That May be Asked The question and answer part of the presentation may be more important than the actual presentation - particularly the questions that might throw you. Remember to paraphrase the questions before answering them and take into account the motivation of the questioner. When answering the questions, look at all audience members - they may have had the same questions. Treat all questions and questioners with respect.

10. Remember that Speaking Is an Audience Centered Sport Avoid speaking out of ego, appearing too cocky or unprepared. As long as you stay focused on the audience, in preparation and delivery and during the A& A, you should be successful as a presenter.