Presentation Skills

I think this is a skill that we can develop and benefit from.   The training I have taken has really helped me be more comfortable and effective in making presentations.  However my experience and training does not mean that I am not nervous before a presentation.  I think that comes with the territory  I expect it also gives me more energy.

Tony Robbins talks about making every presentation a ten.  Before he goes on, he talks to himself about what would be required to make it a ten.  He then takes himself to that place.  I think it is marvelous technique.  Although his off-the-wall style is a little off-putting, I have found his material really good and helpful.

I remember at one presentation skills program I learned how to get rid of the non-words, for example ahhs, umms, or some filler phrase we use repeatedly.  The first presentation I made they identified my non-words.  Then challenged me in the next one not to use them.  They also asked the group to snap their fingers anytime I used one of my words.  I used one of them once, "snap".  Do you know I never used another non-word in the rest of the presentation.   Great lesson.

The reason I worked on my presentation skills was that we identified the skill as really important as consultants.  Very frequently we are called upon to present our findings.  If we lack confidence, we will sound like we are not confident about our findings. 

I really like having close contact with my audience and have tried to develop techniques to do that.  By focusing for about five seconds on individuals in various parts of the room, gives everybody the impression you are talking to them. 

I also like questions and dialog with the audience but I need techniques to maintain control of the situation.  You will lose control if you get into a debate with one person or they ask many questions.  The way to avoid that happening is to repeat the question, get confirmation that you have it right, then turn to everybody and answer the question.  The likelihood that that person will ask another question right away is low.

Another thing I learned is not to read a talk, but speak from notes.  If you are reading something, underline the key words.  People do not hear all the words and you want them to hear the key words.  I learned that from seeing President Eisenhower’s inaugural Address at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Anybody else have tips and techniques.

  1. Jim Reply

    I wonder if some sort of inclusion exercise would work at the beginning. Maybe you could begin with a couple of questions that reqiure a show of hands. Maybe a quick survey of opinions on the subject. Something like that would give you a feel for the audience and make them feel included.

  2. Graham Boundy Reply

    I like to start every presentation 10 minutes in. The reason being, once I’m rolling the presentation goes well, its the first 3-5 slides that are the hardest.
    I also have challenges with realizing where my audience is at and whether I’m talking at their level, below them or right over their heads.

Leave a Reply

captcha *