After attending a few of my usual monthly educational events, I noticed that the presenters missed some opportunities when it came to their presentation and presentation style.
Whether you are a keynote speaker at an annual conference or a speaker at a casual roundtable lunch, there are several important aspects to consider to ensure an effective presentation. Some examples include:
- Speak directly into the microphone at all times. If you are sitting too far back in your chair, there is a good chance that the audience can’t hear what you are saying. Especially when you are speaking to a large audience, those seated in the back of the room may not be able to hear you clearly. Microphones vary in sensitivity, so if you get a chance, give the equipment a test run before your talk begins so you can maintain a proper distance from the microphone during your presentation. And if the equipment is functioning well, keep in mind that when you whisper something to the person sitting next to you, there’s a good chance that what you say will be broadcast to the entire room.
- Avoid too much text on your PowerPoint. It’s hard for anyone to give their full attention to two tasks at once. Would you rather see your audience straining to read through slides that are packed with dense text or paying attention to you and listening for the information that you are there to share with them? For a PowerPoint presentation that will create a good impression and make you and your message the focal point, limit each of your slides to a few bullet points that highlight your main takeaways. Additionally, be sure to use a font size that is big enough to be comfortable for the audience to read, and include plenty of white space.
- Eliminate confusing charts and graphs. Charts and graphs can be helpful, but if they are cluttered, they will only hurt your presentation. To make sure that your visuals achieve your goal, avoid bells and whistles that don’t serve a clear purpose, such as using too many colors, opting for 3-D bars on a chart that needs to show only relative bar heights or packing too much information into a single table. Label different categories on your charts and graphs clearly so the audience doesn’t have to work to figure out the purpose of the visual. Finally, step back and ask yourself if the features on your charts and graphs enhance or impede understanding.
- Be a courteous panel member. When you are part of a panel, be considerate and pay attention while the other panelists are speaking. If you are texting or engaging in other distracting activities, it takes the audience’s attention away from the person speaking. In addition, it reflects poorly on you, suggesting that you are uninterested in the topic or speaker. Think of yourself as being “on” for the duration of the panel presentation, particularly in the eyes of the audience.
If you have other tips to share or have noticed other mistakes that speakers make, leave a comment of drop me a line at Erica@Berbay.com.
-By Berbay Account Manager Erica Hess