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Tips on giving a successful presentation!

KISS - Keep It Super Simple.

There are numerous ways to apply this adage. The bottom line is that the more complicated you let things get, the more trouble you can expect:

•  Preperation. New technology is wonderful, but don't break in new equipment 15 minutes before the presentation starts. Whatever you do, don't have rented equipment scheduled to arrive 10 minutes before you speak. Check out everything in advance. Then check it again.

•  Practice. Keep your presentation focused on the message, don't get carried away with special effects and razzle-dazzle. Practice in front of a live audience. Work out the bugs away fron your target audience.

•  Never assume. Even intelligent people want you to give them details. Never assume that “everyone already knows” some piece of common knowledge, knowledge is almost never common.

• Less is more. Keep it short. Cover your points thoroughly and as succinctly as possible. Limit your main points to 5 items of less. Research shows that when it comes to remembering 5 is the magic number; more items and your audience may retain less.

Rehearsing The Presentation.

There's something to be said for winging it: “Forget It!" To present the most professional image, you need to know your presentation. It's OK to occasionally leave the main "script" but, wandering presentations that lack focus, or those too dependent on working from notes, or long pauses to compose your thoughts are never acceptable. Rehearsing the presentation includes more than just going over what you will be saying. Rehearsing includes the entire presentation. Use the same tools too. If you are using slides, or a projector, and have access to the room you will be presenting in, rehearse there. Using a remote mouse and laser pointer for the presentation, a microphone? When possible, rehearse the presentation with these devices. Rehearsing your presentation in front of a live audience (your family and or friends) is a great way to test the acceptability of your presentation.

Don't Memorize.

Rehearsing is one thing, committing the presentation to memory and performing it by heart, is not the way to go. You need to present, not to recite. But use your notes sparingly. Too much time spent reading notes may suggest that you are unprepared.

Dress For Success.

Some say you can never over dress for a presentation. Others will disagree. Our own belief is that other factors come in to play, particularly how you handle yourself in the situation. Humor and how formal your presentation is will impact whether you are "over" presented. But everyone agrees you should never under dress. How to determine what is appropriate? Worst case: Ask people. It's all part of doing it right.

Presentation Tools Familiarization.

Slides, LCD and DLP Projectors, Laptops, LCD panels, Video, Multimedia, Sound. Laser Pointers, Lapel Microphones, Overheads, Photo-quality printers, poster . There are many presentation tools available to you as a presenter. Each of the above mentioned tools deals with very specific groups , large or small. Determine your communication needs, the presentation environment, and select the right group of tools to get your message across. No matter which device you choose to use above all make sure that you are familiar with the operation of this specific device. Fumbling with equipment is not the time to lear how to use a device.

Pace Yourself, Don't Go Too Fast, Or Too Slow.

A general slide presentation rule, every "slide" deserves at least 10 seconds, and none rate more than 100. If you find yourself spending several minutes on one slide, consider breaking it up! (We're not suggesting this as a firm rule, but a good guideline. Obviously, some charts or graphics may take several minutes to properly present.) Then again, perhaps they could be better as multiple "slides." If you are done with a "slide" - lose it. Don't leave an image up for your audience once you move on to other points.

Face Your Audience And Observe Them.

Make eye contact - don't wander around the room, don't look down. Wandering can be a sign of nervousness, while looking down, may be taken as "trying to figure out what's next". Remember; you're the speaker, you're supposed to know.

Do Not Hide Behind a Computer.

Using a wireless mouse allows you to get in front of the group, where you belong, as presenter, leader, moderator, and communicator.

Deferring Questions; Following Up.

Depending on the nature of the meeting you are presenting to, it may be appropriate to field questions during the presentation. In some cases it will be proper to answer the question on the spot, in other cases, you may be addressing that point later, or want to cover it later on or after the meeting. You are the best judge of how to handle it. Retain control of the flow of the presentation. Where appropriate defer questions to later in the presentation or afterwards. It is perfectly acceptable to reply with: "I would like to address your question later on when I will cover that." or "You and I can discuss that after the conclusion of the presentation." or "Regretfully, I do not have that information readily available. Please meet me after the meeting, I will get your name. and get back to you next week."

If You Do Defer Any Questions.

Follow through as promised. Nothing will damage your credibility in the long run, more than not keeping your word.

Measuring Your Audience.

Hint: Snoring is a really bad sign! We have suggested you focus on only a few people in your audience. Are they attentive? What about body language, are they fidgeting or checking their watches? Taking notes? Taking naps? Improve your presentation by takeing notes about which parts of your presentation have an impact and which do not.

Technology Soothes The Beast.

Important, we are in the 21st century, do you have a laptop and a video projector? In the last couple of years presentation products have made tremendous strides. For example, today's projectors have evolved at least as much in the past few years, as computers have done in the last five. With the big improvements in capabilities, everyone expects more of you and your presentation. Consider the audience how many will you have? Will you be able to controll how light or dark the room will be, is a consideration for how bright your projector should be. Consider sound. In a big room with poor accoustice you may need wireless microphones, speaker systems which allow your entire audence to share in your presentation. Having an assistant directing a wireless microphone. This amount of preperation seems exausting but is neccessary for an effective presentation.

Enthusiasm!

Absolutely nothing will help your presentation more than communicating your passion and confidence. It doesn't have to be an evangelical, the audience will recognize your belief, your confidence, and that will add impact to your message.

The Power Of Words.

The words you select will dramatically impact your audience reaction; to both your ideas and your effectiveness as a presenter. Your word processor has a thesaurus, learn to use it effectively and often. Use "power" and "command" words to get your audiences attentionalso having an added advantage of improving audience percep[tion of your confidence and competence. A few examples oof power and command words: Instead of "I think you will agree" try "I am certain you will agree" I hope you will consider vs. I recommend you to consider. Address your audience in the second person. "You" is a very powerful word, generally audiences react much better to being addressed directly as you rather than in the third person as they. (i.e.) "As a participant, you will benefit" vs. Participants will benefit. Not only should you put a thesaurus to work to find better words with more impact; but also to prevent excessive use of the same words over and over again.

Humor.

The right amount of humor, used carefully, can go a long way to build rapport with your audience, and keep your audience interested and attentive. As a rule, don't tell jokes for their own sake, drop in your humor where it fits, relating to a point, or a break between sections. Small amounts of humor or an irreverent comment from time to time can go a long way to liven a presentation. Remember, a sleeping audience remembers little. Don't push your luck! As discussed above rehearsing your presentation in front of a live audience (your family and or friends) is a great way to test the acceptability of your humor.

Quotations.

Appropriate quotations can make a noticeable impact on your audience. It's not always possible to find quotes that are directly relevant to your presentation, but it is often easy to find a series of quotes that complement or promote concepts that are part of your presentation. Bottom line: Make your Quotations relevant and interesting!

When You Are Finished, Thank Them!

Make yourself & follow-up materials available. Provide them with a method of reaching you. Get feedback, and find out what they thought of your presentation, what they learned, what they were hoping to learn but didn't, how you can improve your presentation, how to improve your communication skills.

Finally; won't you consider allowing Imagery to assist you in your presentation project?

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