3 Steps to Better Presentations (plus 3 BONUS TIPS)

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Stop feeling like this cat and dominate your next presentation!

It’s time to go #back2school and there are a few things that we need to realize:
1. Summer is over and that’s sad
2. Summer is over and that’s ok, cause we get back to our rules and away from our parents’
3. It’s time to get back to work!!!

Another thing typical of the #back2school rush is presentations. We have to make them in new student orientation, organization fairs, and in the first few meetings of the year. Presentations are an easy way to convey your message to group. However, on a college campus where your message is competing to be heard amongst dozens, if not hundreds, of other messages its critical that you do your best. Even though some of us are comfortable giving presentations, others absolutely dread it! Either way these three tips will help you give better presentations.

1. Practice – Freestyling is for rappers and skateboarders! I don’t care how many times you have done the presentation or how well you know the info – prepare for each presentation like its your first time delivering it. The more familiar you are with the information the more confident you will feel. And confidence is one of the keys to an effective delivery. People want to know you believe what you are saying and presenting with confidence is a great way to make that happen. BONUS: how many times have you seen someone stumble in a presentation only for it to derail the entire thing?! DON’T DO IT! Keep going, being confident and having a strong finish can make up for a stumble here or there.

2. Be Prepared – Technology is cool until you don’t have the right adaptor to connect your laptop to the monitor! YOU should have the most basic adaptors to connect your laptop to a projector. If there is an IT dept. on hand to help be sure to be sure to communicate what type of laptop you have and the connections you need. It’s also a good idea to have an extra battery or at the very least be operating with a full battery. And when possible, you should have everything you need for your presentation on your computer, instead of if being in a cloud or internet based. You never know when you will be subject to to a spotty connection. You should also be prepared for your tech to completely fail you when you need it most! So be ready to give your presentation without it by having a printout of the key points you want to hit. BONUS: PowerPoint is cool but there are so many different options for making presentations. Check out prezi and slide rocket for starters.

3. Know your audience – Don’t be the guy on the southwest airlines commercial yelling out the wrong city or group! That’s a moment too tough to overcome. But seriously, it’s important to know how you are talking to and why. Having a solid understanding of your audience and why they are there will give you direction on how to best reach them. When you have a frame of reference of your audiences perspective, you can tailor your message to both meet their needs and their expectations. BONUS: knowing your audience is great but don’t over generalize, always remember you are speaking to a group but they are not all homogenous. So when prepping for a group keep the tailored part of your message general enough to hit home with with the average person in your audience. I.e. most freshmen are a little nervous about coming to campus and most seniors are nervous about finding a job after graduation. Knowing this allows you to tailor your examples, humor, and benefits of your message.

Good luck and keep it moving!!

All this week I will be posting tips on how to make the first few weeks #back2school a success. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook with the #back2school hash tag.

Always remember, your performance is a product of your process

Chris Collins
Chris C Speaks

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Even the pros get nervous, take a deep breath and go for it!!!!

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One response to “3 Steps to Better Presentations (plus 3 BONUS TIPS)

  1. Chris, great blog entry.

    In my experience teaching public speaking at the http://www.PublicSpeakingSkillsUniversity.com the reason most speakers/presenters don’t do the items you’ve listed above is they do not have a repeatable process that they can rely upon to develop their presentation effectively. As a result they miss out on the key items, such as knowing exactly who they will be presenting to are neglected, and their presentation suffers as a result.

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