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Monday, July 16, 2012

10 Keys To Brilliant Presentations


Let's face it – many business presentations are as stimulating as a freshman accounting class lecture without the incentive of seeing the material on a test. Or it sounds like a late-night infomercial.

I've spent lots of time in the audience, in front of the room, and behind the scenes prepping presenters for events; I find these 10 key elements are common to outstanding bright-star presentations. They are:

  1. 4Ps – Plan what you want to accomplish; Prep based on that goal; Practice content, flow, and timing; Present Brilliantly – be there and fully engaged
  2. Integrity – Descriptions and teasers about the program and what you present must match; promoting one thing and presenting something different lacks integrity
  3. Me – Your bio, profile, Google+ Page, and the MC's introduction tells all about you – only talk about you IF the point makes you more memorable
  4. Visuals – If you have to say “you probably can't read this...” you are in the weeds! Less is better; cartoons & caricatures create more impact than facts – numbers – charts. Anything complex or useful as a resource is best given as a reference or URL in an handout – with only a concise abstract of pertinent items shown on the screen
  5. Talk – Presenting is a form of conversation – talk with the audience; try not to read to them or from the screen; after all, if you read them your book from the stage, they won't buy it
  6. Interactive – If possible, make the session interactive to get thoughts and experiences from the audience – have them be an active part of the program instead of just observers
  7. Lily Pads – Robin Williams used an analogy about frogs jumping between lily pads to describe comic delivery – same applies presentations: don't spoon feed the audience; give the audience the concepts that require a mental leap to follow, but don't have the gap so wide they miss the next lily pad
  8. Stories – Reference your experts sparingly – people came to hear your thoughts; share them through your stories of experiences and results
  9. End Promptly - End on time – not when your material runs out – an hour session is about 40 minutes of presenter time; the balance is for questions and the unexpected
  10. Continue the Conversation – Give your audience a place to offer comments about the presentation - “the best thing they learned.” Sharing extends the reach of the program and your visibility (also adds to legend of the event – Meet-up, an event managing social media tool, uses a comment board system to let attendees rate the event and give highlights & comments – which helps validate the better programs).

A live event is always unique and often a bit unpredictable. These elements help manage the unexpected and are a key to giving a shining-star, memorable performance.

Any others you want to add?
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