And don't be afraid to ask questions as you go. A true communication cycle is one that goes both ways where the presenter makes a point and ensures that it travels some distance to the audience. That audience gets the point, duplicates it and acknowledges that back to the presenter. In a large crowd that may be difficult to track unless you're really on fire that day. Usually it's best handled by asking members of your audience if they got it. You don't have to relinquish your microphone. Just make good eye contact and get a good nod. Another thing you can do to keep 'em from yawning off is ask for examples where your point or concept may apply. This gets the group out from simply being the effect of your presentation and more towards a state of application or "causation." Basic tech many presenters don't think with.
Involvement is vital. I was at a national sales meeting once where the director of marketing thought it'd be a real hoot if he woke his audience of sales tech support guys up by launching a cup of ice up in the air over their heads. The effect he got wasn't exactly what he had in mind. Let's just say he got the cold shoulder. When I asked him what he was thinking later on, he said he got the idea because it was out in Scottsdale, AZ and it was early in the morning. I told him never to do that ever again.
Thanks for the topic Tvotapka. The ultimate goal of a presenter is to make the audience to understand everything clearly and involve them in the discussion. When you are presenting something it is always better to use animations, plots, charts to give a thorough understanding to audience instead of putting all the text.
I'll tell you this; if you drill your presentation over enough, you'll have flattened out any speed bumps in your delivery so much that you'll hardly even need any PowerPoint visuals at all. The best presenters are simply good story tellers who know their material and make it easy to receive. Here's a good example of a train wreck I tried to prevent. A few years back I had a product marketing manager who was too head strong for her own good. She insisted on running not one, but two different PowerPoint presentations on two separate flat screens. She also insisted on loading her slides up with paragraphs of text. Care to guess how it went? It was painful to watch. She had trouble toggling from one file to the next. Nobody from the front row back could see a single scrap of data on her screens and her 20 minutes of time turned into 40.
Morale of the story - if you try to overproduce a presentation there's a good chance you're heading for a cliff. Keep it simple. Keep it within your personality. Try the fancier stuff on a gradient, but only after you've got it down 100%. As my father used to say whenever he'd catch us babbling..."do you even hear yourself?!"
If you know your tech, that's more than half the battle. Being at ease, well that can be a different hill altogether. My advice is to drill, drill, drill. Whenever my team went out for their regional or national meetings, we always did run-throughs a day or two in advance...and we made sure we used wireless mics whenever we could. We found that presenters tend to be more comfortable when they're not trying to be larger than life behind a podium. There's something about that hunk of furniture that creates a barrier between you and your audience and that will block the communication coming from you.
Work the room in your rehearsal. There's no reason the people in the back shouldn't get a close look at what you're presenting. Plus if you're working with a large screen, this will give you a chance to see the presentation from the viewpoint of your audience. This is particularly useful when you may have a slide or two with way too much text or copy. If you can't read it comfortably as you're presenting, how would you expect your audience to see it and remain engaged?
Still apprehensive? Here's one tip you've probably never heard from anywhere else. Go somewhere where you feel totally comfortable and present to the wall in front of you. No audience. No confidants. Just you and the wall. It will feel completely ridiculous at first, but then you'll gain confidence in your ability to hear yourself present and after a few tries, you'll be ready to try modulating your voice and tone to see how that feels. Believe me, it works.
Great idea. It's always good to get some tips when it comes to presenting. These situations you mentioned are always nerve-wrecking when you're not an experienced public speaker, especially in tech-oriented meetings.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.