We’ve all had to do it. Well maybe not all of us but it helps to think we all had to do it while we are doing it. What is it? Giving presentations. Maybe you have been blessed with giving presentations to an audience whom may not be very forgiving to your message. It’s important to know who your talking to. I’ve written about this before. What happens when the subject matter is fairly technical and the audience is not? Too dry and you’ll hear them snoring and drooling. Too vague and you probably wasted their time and yours.
Now there are lots of different styles to approaching this some may make light of the situation and some may be all business. While I like both styles, again I think it’s important to know who you are speaking to. I enjoy some presentations that are very technical, but I know they work because I like the technical subject matter.
I personally enjoy a nice mix with breaks of light heartedness. We are not always talking about straight up jokes but some humor may reach people better to make your point. That might be a humorous image or saying. This also seems to help because it usually will bridge a gap between you and your audience especially if they view your skill set to be much higher than theirs which leaves them feeling slightly intimidated.
One other thing that I like to use is visuals. This can be charts, graphs or anything else for that matter. I usually put together a slide show that I use to complement my talk. The nice thing is that the slides can be available for the audience to view online at a later date. There are many free and paid tools to use for this. I’ve been using Prezi lately and it’s been fun and easy to use.
One other thing that I feel is important is to make time for questions and answers. Usually I try to save them for the end of the presentation but not always. If the audience is small I might take a question during the presentation and some times I solicit those questions by asking something like “Does that make sense?” or “Do we agree?” All that is a verbal cue to let them know they can get clarification. This way you don’t leave them in the dust if they are confused about something early on. If they get clarification, they can then build on that and get more out of the whole experience.
One other thing I like to do before starting presentations is ask a few questions. It may be something like “How many people have used Product A/Service B or so on”. This can help set the pace on where we are starting from an understanding point of view.
Overall, I try to be relaxed so my audience can feel relaxed. Try to have fun if it’s appropriate. It makes the whole experience much better for everyone involved.
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