Presentation Tips for 2011

Getting up in front of a crowd is a daunting task for many.  I love it though – maybe because I thrive on that type of crazy. Or maybe because I talk to myself and if I sat next to a potted plant I could talk to that too.  If I had to pinpoint where the foundation of my skills began it would have to be teaching, that is what really honed my speaking skills. Kids aren’t intentionally mean in Kindergarten or 3rd grade however if my lessons weren’t interesting I definitely knew it, this is what led me to place my lessons on PowerPoint so that I could integrate visual and auditory learning styles.  The tactile came through loading those lessons onto their iBooks and letting them move at their pace.

I’ve spoken at many types of events: webinars, lunch/learns, panels and huge conferences.  Through the years tools have changed however one thing has not – telling your story.  And if you can tell your story well others will remember it.  Here are my tips for presenting in 2011.

  • Decks: let’s face it, most conferences or panels will ask for a PPT.  It doesn’t have to be boring or cluttered beyond belief.  My tip is to have as plain of a background as you can and use imagery to help support your points.  When you’re speaking you don’t need to have all of your talking points on one slide – choose the most important statement and highlight that.  I like to create a deck that has 5-10 slides that support my speech unless I’m doing a roadshow.  Roadshows are usually presented to an internal audience so that requires additional layers.
  • Imagery: No one nailed this better than my hero Steve Jobs.  He dressed the part, selected a background that complimented an aura of mystique and kept it simple.  When I’m preparing a deck I put together a simple storyboard and then I think of a story to tell with each slide.  I then pick an image that will resonate with that story.
  • Most sessions now have a hashtag associated with it.  Find out beforehand what it is and auto-schedule 5-10 of your main points via your Twitter management system.  I use CoTweet Standard but many others use HootSuite or Tweetdeck.  Make sure to include the hashtag in your tweet so that attendees can easily find it and RT.
  • Be sure to thank those who take the time to tweet or post about your presentation.  A simple thanks goes a long way.
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