Monday, February 2, 2009

Powerful Presentation Tips

I have sat through numerous meetings, conferences and seminars. Some just seem to drag on and on, while others are truly fantastic. So, what makes that difference? How do you make your presentation powerful?

Be yourself and show some personality. A monotonous tone droning on and on will not do. People want you to do well and they want to connect with you. Let them see the real you and allow your natural vocal inflections to flow into your speaking pattern.

Speak up and project your voice. Many people suffer from nerves in front of large groups and their voice level tends to drop. Unfortunately, nothing is more irritating to an audience than having to strain to hear. If you're in a hall or large room, be sure to test the sound system before the presentation begins. Avoid unnecessary words such as “um” and “like” which can also become grating when used too often in a presentation.

Make eye contact. Interact with your audience to keep them engaged. Ask them topic-related questions and keep the floor open for discussions. Don’t be selective. Use the whole room. Create conversations.

Move about the room so you don't become stiff. Keep your audience attentive and awake. If you're stuck at a podium, remember to make some simple hand gestures to keep eyes on you.

Add humor. Nothing breaks the ice like a good joke or funny story during an event. Just make sure that it’s appropriate and directed properly to your audience.

Use visual aids sparingly, but creatively. Slides need not be wordy or elaborate. Stand out from the norm and infuse energy into your presentation. The best ones pop with color and imagery to accentuate your main points.

Think about the last conference you enjoyed. How can you incorporate ideas from that event into your next presentation?

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office

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