Top 10 Presentation Tips

I recently did some in-house training on presentation skills thought you might enjoy reading the Top 10 presentation tips that came out of our discussion:

  1. Know your content – This is the #1 differentiator between a great presentation and a lousy one.
  2. Eye Contact – Make eye contact with your audience.
  3. Paint a picture with your words – Explain your points through short stories. Great speakers use stories to create an emotional connection between ideas and their audience.
  4. Stick to your topic – Remember what type of presentation you are giving and be certain you are focused on achieving the desired result.
    1. Informative Tell others about something they should know about
    2. Instructional – Teach others something they don’t know
    3. Arousing – Make them think, change their thought process (a great example would be the Monica Lewinsky TED talk)
    4. Persuasive – Talk them in to taking an action. Tell the audience what to do, how to do it, what happens if they don’t take the action.
  5. Slow Down – Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way to fast, slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
  6. Don’t Read –If you don’t know your speech without cues it shows you don’t really understand your message.
  7. Good Questions – Use statements like, “that’s a really good question,” to encourage more questions.
  8. Show up Early – Show up early, check out the room, and run through your slideshow if at all possible.
  9. Practice – The secret to becoming a great speaker is to practice, speak, then speak some more.  The more you speak the better you will become.
  10. Have Fun – Enthusiasm is contagious, so is a complete lack of passion for your topic.

Space Mountain

This past week I had the privilege of taking my oldest son Evan on his first roller coaster: Space Mountain at Disney World. It was one of those great moments in life when you get to re-live and pass along the feeling and experiences of growing up. I loved watching my boy in line as the mixture of excitement and nerves left his heart racing and hands shaking. Personally, I’m grateful that Space Mountain wasn’t my first roller coaster; I still remember my first ride on Space Mountain with my dad as we fell, spiraled, and turned in the dark never knowing what was going to happen next. I wondered what was in store for Evan after the ride: would this be his last roller coaster for several years or was he going to get “hooked?” As we started the climb listening to the clack, clack, clack of the ascent I reached forward and put my hand on his shoulder.

I think that we have all been there, waiting in hopeful anticipation of the first exhilarating moment after having made a decision to strap ourselves into something new. It is a feeling that I can only refer to as being truly alive. I used to believe that those moments came to us with less and less frequency the older we became, yet this past week I realized that we can gain even more satisfaction when we help others to reach the places that we have already been. It isn’t a replacement for that moment in our lives, instead it is a natural progression that again leaves you with the feeling of being truly alive.

As we got off the ride Evan was undoubtedly feeling the exhilaration of life, but I was enjoying the fulfillment and contentment of helping him experience something new. Walking away Evan grabbed my hand and thanked me for keeping my hand on his shoulder, then he quickly changed the topic in true boy fashion by half yelling “Dad that was AWESOME!”

When was the last time you truly felt alive?