Sep 15, 2012

12 tips to help you deliver a better presentation

In my last post I reviewed the book 'Confessions of a Public Speaker'. In this book, the author Scott Berkun has talked mostly about how to deliver a presentation well. In this post I share 12 lessons from his book which will help you deliver a presentation or speech better than what you do right now.

1. Do not try to be perfect on stage. You will make mistakes. Accept them, learn from them and move on.

2. No one cares about your mistakes. Audience will not even notice many of your mistakes. So you should stop worrying about your mistakes while presenting.

3. If you are giving a 10 minute talk, prepare for 8 to 9 minutes. You will take more time when you are on stage.

4. Stage fright (fear of public speaking) is natural and every speaker faces it everyday. Use this fear to do well. When you leave a job and start a business, you are scared. You can fail. This fear propels you to do well in your business. Fear is necessary for success.

5. Practice your talk several times before the final speech. Stand up and practice like it is the real thing. Once you become thorough with your content, your stage fright will come down. You will not forget your content on stage.

6. Calm yourself before a presentation. Reach early and make yourself comfortable in the room. Meet the audience members and get to know them. Check your equipments and run through your slides on the projectors. Ensure no technical glitches are there. Reaching a venue late can cause you a lot of tension and stress.

7. Don't go with an assumption that you will get a tough audience. Everyone cannot like you. Some people will always hate you and ask you uncomfortable questions. That's okay. Realise that you also don't like everyone in the world.

8. Everyone pays attention at the start. Use this opportunity. Start well. Share the agenda with the audience and be very enthusiastic. People will decide to listen further only if they like you in the initial moments.

9. Engage the audience. Ask questions, give away prizes. Throw a question/puzzle at the audience. Do not make it a one way traffic where you speak and people listen. Learning happens better by doing, not just by listening.

10. End early. Audience will love you for that. Don't you love when the train/flight reaches early? Don't you love when a meeting ends early and you can reach home early?

11. Be an audience before being a presenter. How it feels to be in an audience? What challenges a speaker faces? Example: Before giving a presentation on video conference attend a similar presentation as an audience.

12. Have a laptop or screen in front of you so you need not look back. Your back should not be facing the audience. The screen can be in the middle of stage (at the ground) facing you.