Have you ever sat through death by PowerPoint? I sympathise, we’ve all been there…
- 500 slides, with 8-point font text, all presented in half an hour
- A monotone speaker
- No thought given to allowing time for your questions
And that’s if you haven’t dropped off halfway through!
You may even have been that speaker… Hands up if you know your delivery hasn’t been inspiring your delegates the way it could. If that’s the case then read on because with over twenty-five years in training and delivery I’m going to give you some tips and tools to ignite enthusiasm.
I was inspired to write this particular post following a recent conference where I was a guest speaker. A fellow presenter on that day was a government speaker; he had a huge research background, knew his policies inside and out and on the face of it had a very interesting topic to share. But he blew it. He did all the things technical professionals are prone to…
I believe there are three common mistakes that technical professionals make when they speak at conferences:
- They don’t know or get to know their audience
- They overuse PowerPoint
- They don’t allow enough time for questions
At the conference I refer to above, the technical government speaker had far too much content for his allocated time slot, all presented in a wordy PowerPoint presentation, which he read from until he ran out of time before any of the delegates had a chance to ask any questions.
Whilst most technical professionals come with valuable content, knowledge and experiences that should ignite enthusiasm in the room, it’s also true that most of them have never been taught the art of presenting to a group of adults.
Thankfully, there is a really simple way to address this, ask yourself…
- Who are my audience?
- What do they want to know?
- How can I arrange my content around their needs, not mine?
Knowing your audience – Research is key here. Prior to your speaking engagement find out who they are, what they already know about your topic, and any key issues or questions they are likely to have about your area of expertise so that you can integrate this content into your presentation
Use PowerPoint as a tool, not as a crutch! – Never, ever read from your PowerPoint, and never use it to provide your presentation in written format. That’s a sure-fire way to ensure your audience concentrates on the screen not you, and then you have lost their interest! Instead use it as a tool to make a visual point. use images that express the underlying emotion of the point you are making, or get someone to use one of the new jazzy presentation apps to make a visually appealing. If you would like your audience to receive your written notes provide handouts, at the end of your presentation. Tell them at the beginning that you will be doing this, so they don’t have to make notes and can concentrate on your storytelling.
The perfect arrangement – Having done your research as the first step, start your presentation with; I surveyed (rang or asked) a group of you what the top three things you wanted to know about my topic was. Here’s what you said and I will cover these three things first. Always pause between topics you’re covering or points you are making, to ascertain that you have met your audience’s requirements and filled their knowledge gap. Give them a moment to think of their questions relating to individual topics while fresh in their mind. Build this time in to your allocated slot, so you don’t overrun!
These three simple tips turn a boring technical professional into a presenter who understands his or her audience and delivers relevant content in the allocated time.
With many years’ experience presenting niche information in a very technical field, I can help inspire your organisation’s technical experts to improve their delivery utilising my Trainer’s Toolbox; or I can present your company’s or organisation’s specialist information in a training environment. I will bring fresh energy, inspiration, and motivation to your event, and guarantee that your staff or delegates will leave feeling that they have attended the best event ever. Contact me HERE.