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Today's post comes courtesy of Joannie Stangeland, curator of the Word blog.
When I'm in the audience watching someone give a presentation, here are 5 things that I want, things that will leave a favorable impression on me, things that won't annoy me. It crossed my mind that they might not be so subjective after all, so I thought I'd share them with you.
Start on time, end on time
Nothing makes me antsier than waiting. If I've taken the time to come hear you, I want you to respect that by starting on time. If you run into technical difficulties that preclude a punctual beginning, take the time to let me know, so I don't feel like my day is being squandered.
Show your best slides
Don't be tempted to put everything on one slide -- even if someone double-dog dares you to. If you must, show it for a second and then put up a series of slides that your audience can read, or put up slides with images and a keywords and put all the rest of that valuable information in the Notes section. We won't be able to read it on the slide, and we won't be able to hear what you're saying while we're squinting at it. If someone asks you to provide just one slide, you can ask them for a time limit and promise that you'll fit all of your high-impact slides into that limit. Office.com has several resources to help you create top-notch presentations.
Explain terms and acronyms
If you throw that acronym on your slide, provide a brief explanation -- or at least refer to it by the full name the first time. Don't assume your audience has heard it before. This is especially true in a conference, where maybe some people attended the previous session and other people missed it.
Repeat the question
When someone asks you a question, repeat that question before you answer it. Chances are good that the rest of the room can't hear the question, which makes the answer much less useful.
Avoid rat-holing like the plague
At least one audience question will be specific to one listener or one team, and maybe it's even a fascinating question. You're a nice person, and you want to help them out by answering their question, solving their problem. They respond with another question, and suddenly your presentation has become a conversation between two people and the rest of your audience is wondering what this has to do with us.
Instead, you can invite the person to speak to you after your presentation. Or you can step back and immediately (right after you repeat the question) frame your answer in a general way that the rest of the room can relate to. If you get a follow-up question, it's still a good idea to finish the conversation after the presentation. You want to stay on track, and most of your audience wants to hear what you've planned to say.
-- Joannie Stangeland
Great tips on presentations