Do you want to be more influential in your meetings and presentations? Consider doing these behaviors so that you are on top of the content as well as your presenting style.
- Get approval of the content: Talk to people who know the audience, and find out the interests of the audience. Talk to at least two people just to be sure you are getting accurate advice.
- Organize data in a systematic flow: Make your messages and story easy to follow by putting the information in a logical sequence. Be sure to logically organize your thoughts when speaking in a meeting—do not ramble.
- Cut out unnecessary slide details: Be ruthless and cut out the details this particular audience does not need to know, or have heard so many times that they will be bored to hear about them one more time. Speak 5 minutes less than the time allotted. If you are only asked to speak for 5 minutes, then make it 4.
- Use an executive summary: Use a slide at your opening that summarizes the major points of the presentation. You can also give an executive summary in a meeting, without a slide, that summarizes the key aspects of a project.
- Show a summary slide after questions & answers: Use a summary wrap up slide or speak without a slide after answering all questions. Do not answer the last question and then sit down. You want to summarize your presentation’s key message and present a vision going forward.
- Do a real rehearsal: Rehearse the talk out loud and time it. If possible, rehearse in the room or some room similar to the one you will be presenting in. Rehearse the opening and closing. You may also want to rehearse your short overview you are giving in a meeting. You will sound more in charge when you rehearse even if it is an informal meeting.
- Use a remote: Do not stand next to the computer and keep looking down to press the key that advances the slides. When you use a remote, you are more professional.
- Plan your clothes: First, dress for the role. It’s still true, dress for the role you want. Wear the clothes at least once already so you know they stay buttoned, zipped, etc.
- Practice all the time certain presentation behaviors: Have someone critique several of your talks and specify the types of behaviors you need to enhance. These could include standing still, talking directly to each listener for at least for the count of three, pausing instead of saying “um,” talking not too loud or too soft.
- Manage your attitude: Get enough sleep and exercise the day before the speaking. Be sure you rehearse so you can feel confident and give yourself positive feedback before, during and after the presentation.
Do visit Claudyne’s site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.