Fresh out of TechEd, a couple of thoughts came to mind this week about how I could be more effective in the way I deliver a presentation. One of my big goals this year has been to throw myself in the fire and present as many times as possible. This recently included a small classroom based training session with 12 participants, where I was critiqued and then forced to watch myself on video again. To me, it was more uncomfortable then speaking in front of ~100 people at PEX!
This probably stuck out more then anything after being fresh out of the aforementioned presentation training. Let the audience have time to absorb your thoughts, you don’t have to fill the whole time with your thoughts, and…..
You Don’t Need to Know Everything
People don’t expect you to know anything, and if they do they are unrealistic. If it is a topic you know well then you are going to know more then mostly everyone in the room. And what if you are presenting in front of some guy who wrote a book on the topic or some blogger? You may even know more than them, I mean they even let me write a book! If you get a question you don’t know,leverage the crowd to add to to the discussion.
Don’t be Ben Stein
Lots of boring and monotone voices in our field, which mine tops the list. If possible I think its most effective to alternate speakers. Also try and cut loose a little bit and don’t be afraid to…..
I think the best people I’ve seen present are quite honestly comfortable with who they are, their message, etc. It doesn’t mean they aren’t nervous necessarily either. And please, don’t rehearse jokes. It is usually obvious, in my opinion, and you are best served going with the flow of the presentation and getting your one-liners in as you can if you are a wannabe comedian like me. In addition to this be truthful and honest about your message and answering questions you receive. This is especially important when it comes to ……
Along the same lines it is very important to respect the competition. If anything this is most important for you and your credibility. They most effective competitive messages I’ve seen typically don’t mention the competition or at least very little. They simply show the audience your organizations/products strengths, and…….
Don’t Tell the Audience What They Should Think
While I think your message should be clear about what you want the audience to gain out of something, statements that tell the audience they should do x/y/z or a/b/c will happen to them are not only wrong, but I think they are often ineffective and counteractive to the message that is being delivered.
If aren’t already familiar with the FeedForward program I recommend you check it out and the following links relevant to the topic below. In short it is a community driven program with the goal to increase participation in VMUG events. If you are attending a VMUG then you definitely have something that could be shared that would benefit others in the group.