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                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott


 

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NEWSLETTERS


"Top Ten Presentation Tips"
By Roberta Prescott

“Whenever I see a young person make a great presentation, I never forget. Unfortunately the opposite is also true.” Jack Welch

When your career is on the line, your presentation skills must be at the same high level as your business skills. Following are some tips that will help you be perceived as a confident and effective presenter when it matters:

1. Relate to your AUDIENCE, not to your handouts or visuals.

  • Maintain steady eye contact. It connects you to your audience and personalizes your presentation. Think of S-T-O-P or Single – Thought – One – Person (3-6 seconds per look)
  • Don’t turn your back and talk to the screen.

2. Control your BODY LANGUAGE. Use gestures that are:

  • Seen (above your waist)
  • Sustained (for longer than you would in one-on-one conversation)
  • Specific to the message
  • Stand centered with your weight evenly distributed on both feet.
  • Don’t fiddle with pen, change in your pocket, laser pointer or glasses.

3. Be CONVERSATIONAL

  • Slow down. No machine gun delivery.
  • In conversation we talk in word bursts and sentence fragments and then PAUSE to think of what to say next.  It helps your audience, as well.
  • Keep your eyes out of your notes or you will sound stilted.

4. Be vocally CRISP. This will help you sound dynamic, and will eliminate a droning monotone.

  • Shorten your sentence lengths to average 14-17 words.
  • Intersperse short punchy sentences among your longer ones.
  • Purge the connectors “and” and “so”, which cause your sentences to go on and on.

5. Use POSITIVE LANGUAGE. 

  • Take a stand.
    • “Here’s what I think, and here’s why.”
    • “I’ve looked at this, and it makes sense to ...”
    • “My analysis shows … “
  • Avoid:
    • Tentative language
      • “I think this might work.”
      • “We kind of have to get things moving.”
      • “I just want to say…”
    • Apologies
      • “Correct me if I’m wrong.”
      • “You’ve probably already thought about this but…”
      • “This might not be helpful, but…”
    • Repeated fillers
      • “basically”, “um”, “you know”, “okay?”

6. Organize a FOCUSED MESSAGE.

  • Think strategically about the big picture and the business impact of your presentation.
  • Get to the point quickly.
  • Focus on the relevance or benefit of a product or service, not on how it works.
  • Don’t talk too long or say too much.

7. Have a STRONG ENDING. 

  • Don’t overrun the meter.
  • Ask for action instead of the most common and least effective “well, that’s it, I guess”, close.

8. REHEARSE. 

Like golf, improving your skills takes real work, not repetition.

  • Memorize your opening and your close .
  • Transitions are the key to a smooth and polished presentation. Use one rehearsal to practice only your transitions from one point to the next.

9. LIGHTEN UP.

  • Take your job seriously, but not yourself.
  • A light touch does not mean telling jokes. It means having a sense of humor.

10. Anticipate challenging QUESTIONS and practice your answers. (See our next newsletter for strategies to master this subject).

Perception often IS reality. These tips will ensure that when you give a presentation, the perception of you is positive and matches your ability.

 

© The Prescott Group

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© The Prescott Group
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www.theprescottgroup.com