Don’t want to fall in the trap of presenting boring presentations

Posted on Sat April 20, 2013 in Conferencing & Team Building .

Vaalnest Boutique Hotel at Vaal Marina, Vaal dam is a popular conference venue. The hotel is only an hour’s drive and companies enjoy our luxury accommodation and the professional environment and equipment in our conference venues.

I recently read an article about conference tips and realized there are a few strong points presenters have to consider if they don’t want to fall in the trap of presenting boring presentations:

1.  Work to time

In the worst presentation of the year, the speaker got up in front of 500 people and said “I have too much material, so I’m going to go through this quite fast”. Immediate FAIL

2. Leave time for questions

A common behaviour for bad presenters is to run right up to, or over, time, then ask ‘any questions’ (in a rushed voice too of course). No-one asks questions, and the speaker thinks they’ve done a great job.

3. Know what your point is

I attended many presentations that were well-spoken and well timed but never actually made a point.

4. Rehearse

The first time you give a talk, especially if you are using slides someone else has prepared, rehearse it.

5. Avoid self talk

Self-talking is all the little things speakers say when they are simultaneously trying to deliver a talk and thinking about themselves doing it. Comments about technology, ‘oops, there’s a spelling mistake’, ‘oh, there’s an extra slide’, ‘what does that point mean’. They can subtly undermine your credibility and make you look inexperienced.

6. Understand your audience

The two worst speakers of the year made the mistake of not understanding the audience. But the reason they were the worst went further – they also assumed that the audience didn’t know anything and needed educating. Guess what – audiences can actually pick up on it when you think of them like this.

7. Talk about what you know

Another difference between great presentations and mediocre is the presenter’s knowledge of their material. A great presenter not only knows what points they are making, but knows why those things are important and what they mean. They can answer a question on the fly, or elaborate on a point as needed.

8. Tell stories

Humans don’t learn by listening to strings of facts. We learn from stories and examples.

9. Talk in inverted pyramid

Get your point across, and then build up on it

10. Balance imagery and text

If you’ve been attending presentations for a few years like I have, you’ll have noticed that bullet points have almost dissappeared. The current style, at least amongst the user experience and web folks, is gorgeous imagery and a small amount of text.

Conclusion

So, if you don’t want me sitting in the third row twittering about how terrible you are:

  1. Work to time
  2. Leave time for questions
  3. Know what your point is
  4. Avoid self-talk
  5. Rehearse
  6. Understand the audience
  7. Talk about what you know
  8. Tell stories
  9. Talk in inverted pyramid
  10. Balance imagery and text