Classic business philosopher and personal development Jim Rohn used to tell us that little things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. This week, I witnessed this first hand during the annual meeting of one of our local organizations when two different speakers were hampered by technology problems that killed otherwise solid presentations.
Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure you do the following five little things to keep your presentation on point and memorable.
1. Prepare A Proper Introduction
Too many speakers waste time at the beginning of their presentations trying to establish their credibility when if they prepared properly, their introduction would have done this for them.
A proper introduction tells the audience who you are, what you do, and why you are speaking. It gives a small amount of detail about your background and sets the stage for you to begin like a professional. Type it ahead of time. Double spaced in at least size 16 font. With the right introduction, you can walk on stage with credibility.
2. Arrive On Site An Hour Early
There are very few unpardonable sins as a speaker, but showing up late is one of them. I use an hour ahead of time as good rule of thumb because it gives plenty of time to get the feel of the room, the technology and the seating area while allowing time to meet and greet early arrivals. There’s also a calming effect after seeing the room that will help you relax when it’s your turn to speak. Make use of extra practice time by arriving early.
3.Practice Your Technology
This weeks disaster came from embedded videos that didn’t play properly. Both speakers were able to eventually get their videos to play but only after they spent considerable amounts if time with their back turned to the audience, hunched over the laptop.
During the time you’re there early, play every portion of your presentation. Make sure the video plays, that the sound works and the device you’re using to advance the slides is working. It’s the mark of a professional to be able to seamlessly move from one part of your presentation the next, but that only comes with plenty of advance preparation.
4. Have A Backup Plan
Batteries die, bulbs burnout and microphones stop working. These situations aren’t optimal, but they will happen. Sometimes the video that played perfectly during the dry run doesn’t play at all when its show time. These are the reasons to have a back up plan.
My feelings about Power Point aside, a speaker needs to know their material well enough that if disaster strikes, they can continue without their slides. You must have a plan for when, not if this happens to you.
5. Know Your Close
There is a time and place for questions and answers. The close of your presentation isn’t it. By all means, take questions! This is how we can further establish ourselves as experts. In fact, I like to plant questions just in case I don’t get any, but when you’ve answered your last question, or used as much time as you have available, close on your terms. This means using your closing statement as your last opportunity to drive your message home. Boil down what you want your audience to remember and memorize your final remarks. This is how you leave the stage with your message embedded in the minds of your audience, don’t miss it.
Everything on my list is little things that are easy to do. Unfortunately, they’re also easy not to do, but these are the details that will set you apart from the crowd of presenters boring good audiences around the world. Hit these five little things, and you’ll look like a pro, every time.