Be Present in Your Presentation

November 11, 2011

You have been there – one of those mandatory presentations where someone stands in front of the group and quotes the numbers and key points of the presentation while they flick through the slides.  You find yourself dozing off while you’re trying to take notes, since you have no interest in what you are hearing, or (quite frankly) what you are seeing.

If you needed to see those numbers again, you could have gone to the report files and pulled them up.  And you certainly didn’t need someone to use a laser pointer to read them back to you yet again.

So next month is your turn to do a presentation.  How do avoid having your coworkers slam their heads on the desks when they fall asleep?  Create a knock-out, edge-of-your-seat presentation, that’s how.  Ok, so presentations cannot compare to a dramatic movie, but they can be made interesting and engaging.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

YOU are the presentation, not your slides.  If you are depending solely on your slides to make your presentation for you, then why are you even there?  (Ok, someone has to turn on the slide show, right?)

YOU present the facts, not the slides.  You should be the one presenting the facts that you need to share.  Instead of putting those on a slide, put a representative graphic instead.  If you are talking about percentages, make a pie graph that does not include the figures.  Those should come from you.

Engage your audience.  Ask different members of your audience how they feel about the facts you are presenting, or ask if they may have an idea on how to improve company performance, for example.

Add a bit of humor.  “Just the facts, ma’am” is not all that there should be in a presentation.  Show a bit of your personality and a bit of humor.  For example, when University of Alabama’s Big Al all of sudden shows up in the middle of your slideshow, you could not only get a laugh, but also make a point.  Business is not all about hitting the grindstone.  Everyone should take some pleasure and pride in what they do.  Just be sure you use appropriate images to make your point.

Every presentation that you do should be done by YOU and not a bunch of slides or recordings.  When your presentation is finished, your audience should walk away with your information ingrained in their minds due to your vivid and interesting way of sharing those important facts.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA.

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