So much has been written about how to present effectively in hundreds of books and articles that it becomes difficult sometime to put together a personal toolkit on how to deliver a presentation. How does one distill the vast body of knowledge about presentation skills into a set of simple rules that can help with every presentation you deliver in the future?
One way is to remember the 3 key things about an effective presentation. Yes, it is true – you only need to remember these 3 things:
1- Don’t start with a boring introduction about the agenda
Most presentations are routine, boring affairs and nothing is as wearisome as a long introduction about what the presentation will include. Providing a sense of what the presentation is going to be about is good but instead of droning on about the fifteen things you plan to cover, you need to start with an interesting story or a really interesting idea. This is the part where the audience thinks “this might actually be interesting!”
2- Forget the solo effort
An effective presentation assumes there is an audience and it wants to interact. Don’t do the presentation alone. Get the audience involved from the very beginning by asking questions and by involving them in the overall interaction.
3- Spend more time thinking about what to exclude
It would be a true statistic that 80% of presentations continue well after the audience has completely lost interest in the content. Public speaking is more about what not to say. Just because you are enthusiastic about a subject does not mean you have a license to go on endlessly. It is absolutely not necessary to tell the audience ALL the wonderful things you know.
What you need instead is ONE strong, governing idea that comes through clearly in your presentation. This is vital if you want your audience to actually remember and value what you said.