Recently, I was part of a panel giving some EMBA students feedback on their presentations and I realized that they put so much into preparing the substance of their cases that they didn’t give enough attention to how they presented it. Just to be clear, I’m not positioning myself to be an expert here because I saw a lot of me in the students’ performance.
Here are some things we can do better as presenters: (the students have an excuse; I actually attended training on this in Canada when I worked for KFC)
- We turn our backs to the audience (clients) and read the slides. Instead, become so comfortable with the material that you can talk by heart and with heart. (you can use index cards to keep you on track with quick referrals to key words/facts)
- Always speak to one person at a time. The roving eyes that lands nowhere make for empty words. Choose one person, speak to them and then move to another. Have a conversation with the whole group, talking to one person at a time. (And you don’t have to divide the room into the number of persons and divvy up your time on each of them. It’s not a math class and that will make you and your audience giddy.)
- Maintain an open stance. Hands in front of you, not in your pocket or behind you. (what are you hiding) And please don’t hide behind the podium.
- Don’t pace and jump all over the place. It distracts from what you are saying. You should more or less, stand still and when you do move, stand still again.
And one more thing. Make sure you work in sync with your multi-media. One way to kill a presentation is to reference something that takes 2 days to arrive.
Stop reading your presentation. Start presenting it.