We've all been on the receiving end of a bad presentation: while the speaker drones on, you doodle idly on your notepad, daydreaming about your plans for the weekend and wishing you were doing something more productive. Spare others the same fate when your turn comes at the podium by following these tips.
- Give the PowerPoint a Rest: Sure, it's a helpful presentation tool, but PowerPoint can also be a snooze-inducer if you lean on it too heavily. Try to incorporate a variety of media (white boards, handouts, demonstrations, etc.) into your presentation - it'll keep your audience engaged and keep you from going into autopilot mode.
- Consider Your Audience: Are you speaking in front of peers? Trainees? Your boss? The same jokes that get your co-workers laughing might seem inappropriate to your superiors. As you plan your presentation, keep in mind who you'll be talking to, and adjust your tone, content, and examples accordingly.
- Keep It Interactive: Having one person do all the talking is boring for everyone - your audience will start to drift, and you may even tire of hearing your own voice. Keep things more interesting by getting your listeners involved - ask questions, solicit examples, or break your audience up into groups for a demonstration.
- Get a Move On:Standing motionless behind a podium or sitting at the head of a conference table while you present is a surefire way to put your audience to sleep. While you want to avoid pacing nervously while you're speaking, moving comfortably around the room and using your hands to illustrate your point will make for a more dynamic presentation.
- Be a Good Host: If you've ever been stranded in a hot, stuffy conference room without a drop of water in sight, you'll know why this one is crucial. Sometimes the conditions of the room might be out of your control during a presentation, but when you can, make sure the room is a comfortable temperature and that your audience has access to some type of refreshments
- Roll With the Punches: Pay attention to the reactions of your listeners during your presentation, and adjust accordingly. If you notice glassy eyes or dozing, speak more energetically and start asking for participation. If your audience seems confused or overwhelmed, take a break and open the floor for questions or discussion.
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