At Mindful Presenter we hold the belief that life is a 24 hour 365 day a year conversation.
We are always communicating with someone in some way whether it’s at home, at work, at the bus stop, airport or the gym there’s always a conversation taking place somewhere. If it’s not us talking out loud to someone else there is still a conversation going on in our heads that only we can hear.
That conversation continues long after our heads hit the pillow, it’s just a different kind of conversation, and it’s called dreaming.
With that in mind we owe it to ourselves to get good at it.
Every day in just about every work place in the world someone is being asked to present for the first time.
That moment stays with you forever, it’s like your first kiss you, never forget it.
If you were like me, you were as anxious as hell then too and managed to make a mess of it.
It doesn’t have to be that way though and with all of those ‘newbie’ presenters in mind here are a few tips to help them prepare mindfully and enjoy their ‘first kisses’.
Start with PowerPoint and do what most people do; fire it up and dump everything they know onto slides.
Prepare mindfully using large post it notes. Write down your objective and key message and then surround it with all of the key points which will create your story and support your objective. Why are you presenting anyway, what’s your purpose and what’s in it for your audience.
Assume you know your audience and know exactly who they are, how they think and what they need.
Your research and find out.
Creating your presentation in complete isolation; get some help.
Sharing your ideas and work in progress with trusted friends and colleagues, not too many though! Ask them for open, honest feedback.
Prepare or deliver your presentation based on your needs, it’s not about you.
Prepare everything with your audience’s needs at the forefront of your mind
Start with the obvious, boring or expected.
‘Good morning, my name is….’
‘I’m delighted to be here…’
‘I know you’d all rather be sunning yourselves on a beach somewhere…’
Dare to be different. Tell them a true, relevant and interesting story which they will remember and make them curious.
Tie it in to:
Why you’re in front of them in the first place
A learning point, experience or epiphany
Your key message
Showing them slides of your vision, mission, values, office or anything boring or meaningless
They probably don’t care, it won’t mean anything to most of them and it’s more than likely that it’s ‘wordy’ and they’ve heard it all before
To get to the point and if you need to talk about your vision or mission find another way to bring it to life with impact, don’t make them read it.
Make it clear at the very start why they are there, how you can help them and what you want from them. Give them a good reason to want to keep listening.
No one likes a ‘know it all’ or ‘show off’
Arrogance makes audience’s cringe with discomfort and take an instant dislike to you and your message.
Be confident but humble.
Put yourself in their ‘shoes’.
Think about how everything you say and do will make them feel. To do that you need to consciously decide in advance how you want them to feel and keep that in mind throughout.
Fill your slides with too much text. If they have to read them send them an email instead. If you are using your slides as your script you will bore them to tears and lose credibility.
Use key words that will help them follow your path and also what you want them to remember. Many people are visual so try to use imagery that will connect your message and make it more memorable. Create a story not a presentation.
Make sure that you know your topic inside out and that you have rehearsed.
Fancy fonts or font sizes which are too small for your audience to easily read.
To keep it clear, simple and readable.
Use long bullet point lists that your audience has to read.
Keep your slides simple and impactful. Consider the power of Bill Board advertising. That’s what your slides should be like.
Create and show a slide that has no real meaning or value.
Imagine your audience asking the question ‘so what?’ If the slide doesn’t support the point don’t use it.
Making your slides dance and sing; in other words take it easy with the animations and sound effects
Keeping them simple.
Don’t use animations unless they will add considerable value to the way your content will be received and if you do keep it minimal and mindful.
Pack graphs or charts with too much information. They usually can’t read it and don’t have time to anyway which means it just leaves them confused and frustrated.
Think about the objective of the graph and its key message then find another way to draw it out; simplify and highlight it.
Have a closing slide at the end that says ‘THANK YOU’
Thank them, but do it personally and sincerely. Just say it like you mean it
Closing without showing your audience your best fireworks; that’s what they came for.
Have you ever noticed that the very best firework displays anywhere in the world save their best fireworks to the end? Many presenters finish with the sparklers instead of the big bang.
To leave them with something they will always remember. Show them your best fireworks.
What do you want them to remember?
Don’t try to be anyone else.
Be yourself, but be your best self.
Be real and enjoy your ‘first kiss’
Image: Courtesy of flickr.com