Over and over, I see people make PowerPoint or Keynote presentations that are lifeless, boring, and dull. They don’t have to be. Visuals should help you make an impact, and if you want to really connect with your audience, here’s a few suggestions from my experience:
— Text bad. Pictures good. If you have more than 10-15 words on a slide, then re-think the slide. YOU’RE ALREADY SPEAKING. Why put the text of your talk on the screen? It’s boring and will instantly put people to sleep. Use pictures and illustrations to make your point with IMPACT.
— If you can’t deliver an interesting talk WITHOUT slides, then you won’t be interesting WITH slides. Slides illustrate and enhance. They won’t make you interesting. Make sure you know how to speak well or don’t get up.
— Think bullet points. “The 5 Keys to Business Success.” “The 10 Principles of Crisis Leadership.” “The 7 Biggest Mistakes in the Media.” It’s easier for the audience to take notes, keeps the talk moving, and they remember more.
— Don’t read a script or notes. If you’re going to read your talk, then print it and hand it out. Don’t waste everyone’s time. Learn to speak without being tied to your notes.
— Think 20-30 minutes MAX for your presentation. Film director Alfred Hitchcock was asked how long a movie should be. His reply? “…as long as your butt can hold out.” Same is true of presentations.
— Learn the technical side of presentation software, your computer, and video gear. More often than not, the tech guy at your meeting will be an idiot. If something goes wrong, he won’t be able to help – and often will screw things up more. So know how to set the screen resolution, adjust the preview screen, mirror or un-mirror displays, and set your connections. Most important – have all the connectors with you for all kinds of equipment. (And back up batteries for your remote.)
— Arrive early to get comfortable with the room, and allow time to overcome any technical difficulties.
— Request the type of microphone you’re most comfortable with ahead of time. I use my hands a lot and hate hand mikes. I prefer a lav or headset. If you don’t ask ahead of time, they don’t have what you need.
— Buy this book now: “Give Your Speech, Change the World.” Tim Sanders (“Love is the Killer App” and “Today We Are Rich”) recommended it to me, and it’s one of the most important books in my library. Brilliant book on how to speak effectively.