Presentation Tips

A JOB AID FOR PLANNING DELIVERY OF A PRESENTATION... that is being given (1) for the first time to a new type of audience (schoolteachers, say, instead of engineers) and (2) In a facility that cannot be checked out beforehand.

CAUTION:  Skipping these steps guarantees that your time at the mike will not live up to your expectations.

1. NAIL:  Keep your New Audience In the Limelight.

If you haven’t previously made this presentation to this type of audience, make sure that you know what they are interested in and they know what to expect.

  • Tailor your topic specifically to this audience.
  • Start with a clear and unambiguous description of your presentation in any promotional materials. If, for good and valid reasons, you’re talking about engineering design to schoolteachers, make sure they don’t expect to hear advice about developing lesson plans.
  • Let them know at the outset exactly how they will benefit from what you have to say. Make it clear to the schoolteachers how the principles of engineering design apply to their classrooms and make them better teachers.

2. PROP:  PRovide your Own Props.

While you can usually rely on the presence of a projector (if it has been promised),  everything else you may need is up for grabs.

  • Bring your own pointer/clicker. If it uses batteries, bring a spare.
  • Bring your own flip chart. (You can buy table-top portable easels for less than $25 from Amazon.)
  • Bring your own markers (at least two of each color you want to use).
  • Have at least 20% more handouts than you expect to use. And place them on the table or in the seats  before you begin.

3. PUTT:  Practice Using The Technology.

If you depend on any unfamiliar technology or techniques, (new computer, new operating system, borrowed clicker/pointer, sound system, etc.), check it out ahead of time.

  • Run all equipment through a practice run.
  • Have a backup plan ready to roll out if the new or borrowed stuff bombs.
  • Better still, minimize the use of untried technology in the first place. Go with the tried and true until you’ve tested the new stuff and found it satisfactory.

If the worst happens, and something doesn’t work, always retain PREP: Poise REgardless of Problems. Don’t get rattled and end the presentation prematurely; this cheats the audience. You have good content? Check. You have an engaging delivery? Check. So..regroup, execute your backup plan, and serve your audience a full helping of solid, useful information.