How To Deliver An Unforgettable Presentation; What School Doesn't Teach You
There are quite a few things some professors just don’t get about presenting. Cutting straight to the chase, I strongly believe that you need to carry yourself like a self made product or brand when it comes time to present. That includes creating an identity for yourself and your presentations including your attire, the multimedia you use, visuals, and other creative elements.
Brand Your Presentation
Throughout your years of maturity you are exposed to presentations that are practically the same- they contain no personality- boring snoring. Through the initiative of branding your presentation comes the challenge of keeping it clean and unique. All of my presentations are built off the same background slide that looks like the one below. Each presentation follows a strict setup involving font styles, sizes, colors and positioning. This never, ever changes for me.
The title page is to be simple but at the same time you always want to have your name, company and position so people know who you are and what your areas of expertise are in. If you have a creative eye you will know a great design when you see one. On the other slides, my company app icon is located at bottom right- this gives it that branding feel. Again, have a branding state of mind when crafting your title slide.
On a further note- if you want to go a step further and really challenge yourself, I suggest you checkout this presentation tool called Prezi. It truly puts PowerPoint to shame. Your audience will get up to leave and feel like they just saw Avatar in iMax 3D.
Less is More
Having a few phrases on each slide is the most effective. You don’t want your audience falling asleep because they have to read everything. This is called ‘death by PowerPoint’. Truly great presenters can talk around 3-5 minutes per slide with barely any information on there- just key points. This is what separates great presentations from mediocre ones. The more knowledgeable you are the more personality your keynote will have so do your research.
Move With A Purpose… Not With Nervousness
Lots of people think you’re a nervous wreck if you move around on stage. I tend to disagree- as long as you’re not frantically pacing or swaying. My theory is to go for a tiny walk on the podium, but do it with subtleness and smoothness. Just like when you go for a walk outside sometimes your mind tends to clear up and thoughts come a lot easier. I like to take a few steps across stage, stop and reinforce something important while looking at the crowd… then I’ll move back towards the other side eventually. I feel this can help establish more attention to yourself. The audience starts to hear your voice being projected at different distances and angles which will cause them to look up, listen and become engaged.
Us Current Events As Reference
I present on a lot of digital and technological trends that are changing and shaping the worldwide web, which is a hot topic no matter where you are. I always make it a priority to squeeze in 3 current events that relate to a certain topic. When you do this, scale your voice a little louder and be sure everyone knows your venturing away from your presentation content. This is how it works “… so the other day I was surfing the web and came across a story that insisted, by 2015, we will use our cell phones more than our computers to search. Currently desktop search accounts for 65% of searching…”
Tell A Story or Two
Telling a personal story is also a great way to gain the trust of the audience. Let them know your experiences regarding a certain topic, or perhaps an experience regarding a client. Don’t always go for success stories though. Stories in which you learned through failure throughout your career go a long way for listeners because deep in the back of people’s minds is sometimes a feeling of fear of failure concerning a job or project. It serves as a reinforcement, especially to the younger crowds, that you got to where you are because failing taught you more than actual success.
Sport a Trademark Outfit
This is my favorite part of presenting- a trademark outfit that goes along with your branding. Nowadays people make presentations in whatever the hell they please and I can’t agree more with that philosophy. Steve Jobs rocked sneakers, light jeans and a black turtleneck during all of his keynotes. Mark Zuckerberg dawns a zip-up hoody. Suits and ties are overrated and force people to be and act how they really aren’t- its all about being and feeling comfortable up there. As for me- my company rocks all Under Armour gear in public settings. It’s rather classy I must say and quite different. During my presentations I’ll always sport either a teal blue or black Under Armour pullover or polo with black Ralph Lauren pants.
Below are two presentations I gave in one day at Bloomsburg University’s Corporate Advisory Council Meetings before 180 people. I’m no seasoned veteran but based on the feedback and compliments I received days after, I know it was a job well done that was enjoyed by everyone in attendance.