Presenting Is Like Kissing With Confidence: there are some do’s and don’ts

Presenting our ideas at work is something more and more of us are called on to do every day and some of us find it more challenging than others; especially if you are presenting for the first time.

That moment stays with you forever, it’s like your first kiss you, never forget it.

If you were like me, you were as anxious as hell then too and managed to make a mess of it.

At Mindful Presenter we hold the belief that life is a 24 hour 365 day a year conversation.

We are always communicating with someone in some way whether it’s at home, at work, at the bus stop, airport or the gym there’s always a conversation taking place somewhere. If it’s not us talking out loud to someone else there is still a conversation going on in our heads that only we can hear.

That conversation continues long after our heads hit the pillow, it’s just a different kind of conversation; its called dreaming.

With that in mind we owe it to ourselves to get good at communicating especially when presenting our ideas to colleagues or clients.

Here are a few tips to help you to prepare mindfully and enjoy your ‘first kiss’.

1. NEVER

Start with PowerPoint and do what most people do; fire it up and dump everything they know onto the slides.

ALWAYS

Prepare mindfully using large post it notes. Write down your objective and key message and then surround it with all of the key points which will create your story and support your objective. Why are you presenting anyway, what’s your purpose and what’s in it for your audience.

2. DON’T

Assume you know your audience and know exactly who they are, how they think and what they need.

DO

Your research and find out.

3. AVOID

Creating your presentation in complete isolation.

TRY

Sharing your ideas and work in progress with trusted friends and colleagues, not too many though! Ask them for open, honest feedback.

4. NEVER

Prepare or deliver your presentation based on your needs, it’s not about you.

ALWAYS

Prepare everything with your audience’s needs at the forefront of your mind

5. DON’T

Start with the obvious, boring or expected.

‘Good morning, my name is….’

‘I’m delighted to be here…’

‘I know you’d all rather be sunning yourselves on a beach somewhere…’

DO

Dare to be different. Tell them a true, relevant and interesting story which they will remember and make them curious.

Tie it in to:

Why you’re in front of them in the first place

A learning point, experience or epiphany

Your key message

6. AVOID

Showing them slides of your vision, mission, values, office or anything else that doesn’t help them.

They probably don’t care, it won’t mean anything to most of them and it’s more than likely that it’s ‘wordy’ and they’ve heard it all before

TRY

To get to the point and if you need to talk about your vision or mission find another way to bring it to life with impact; don’t make them read it.

Make it clear at the very start why they are there, how you can help them and what you want from them. Give them a good reason to want to keep listening.

7. NEVER

Be arrogant.

No one likes a ‘know it all’ or ‘show off’

Arrogance makes audience’s cringe with discomfort and take an instant dislike to you and your message.

ALWAYS

Be confident but humble.

Put yourself in their ‘shoes’.

Think about how everything you say and do will make them feel. To do that you need to consciously decide in advance how you want them to feel and keep that in mind throughout.

8. DON’T

Fill your slides with too much text. If they have to read them send them an email instead. If you are using your slides as your script you will bore them to tears and lose credibility.

DO

Use key words that will help them follow your path and also what you want them to remember. Many people are visual so try to use imagery that will connect your message and make it more memorable. Create a story not a presentation.

Make sure that you know your topic inside out and that you have rehearsed.

9. AVOID

Using fancy fonts or font sizes which are too small for your audience to read easily.

TRY

To keep it clear, simple and readable.

10. NEVER

Use long bullet point lists that your audience has to read.

ALWAYS

Keep your slides simple and impactful. Consider the power of Bill Board advertising. That’s what your slides should be like.

11. DON’T

Create and show a slide that has no real meaning or value.

DO

Imagine your audience asking the question ‘so what?’ If the slide doesn’t support the point don’t use it.

12. AVOID

Making your slides dance and sing; in other words take it easy with the animations and sound effects

TRY

To keep them simple.

Don’t use animations unless they will add considerable value to the way your content will be received and if you do keep it minimal and mindful.

13. NEVER

Pack graphs or charts with too much information. They usually can’t read it and don’t have time to anyway which means it just leaves them confused and frustrated.

ALWAYS

Think about the objective of the graph and its key message then find another way to draw it out; simplify and highlight it.

14. DON’T

Have a closing slide at the end that says ‘THANK YOU’

DO

Thank them, but do it personally and sincerely. Just say it like you mean it

15. AVOID

Closing without showing them your best fireworks. Have you ever noticed that the very best firework displays anywhere in the world save their best fireworks to the end? Many presenters finish with the sparklers instead of the big bang.

16. TRY

To leave them with something they will always remember. Show them your best fireworks.

What do you want them to remember?

And finally

PLEASE

Don’t try to be anyone else. Be yourself, but be your best self.

Be honest

Be sincere

Be enthusiastic

Be real and enjoy your ‘first kiss’

If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.

Image: Courtesy of flickr.com

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Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.

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Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.