Presentations and talks are bizarre aren’t they? They’re the unfamiliar for the majority and dreaded by most. What is natural about standing in front of a group of people and being the only one to talk? That’s right, nothing.
So when the opportunity arose to speak to arts and design students at Cardiff Metropolitan University in a Media Forum about my career I didn’t exactly jump at it, I hesitantly shuffled towards it whilst hugging myself.
I have always seen my role as supporting others to give presentations and talks. I’ve helped many others prepare PowerPoint by gathering content, giving feedback and an enthusiastic thumbs up at the start and finish.
It felt very odd to focus on myself, but I enjoyed my experience, it was rewarding and a great chance to reflect on my 10 + years in the PR and Communications industry. I got some laughs during my talk and some students came to talk to me and ask for advice, which is awesome.
I’d like to share my top presentation tips with you.
Who is my audience?
This should be the driver for your content and how you present, what do your audience want and need? Gauge how your audience respond and react to that.
Rule of slides
Stick to 10 slides maximum, the slides do not and should not contain everything you are going to say, use headers, bullet points, pictures/diagrams and at least 30 point font size.
We humans are more likely to engage with a story, it helps us empathise and remember what is being said to us. Try to weave your presentation together like a story.
Say it out loud
As you write your notes up, say what you’re going to say aloud and pretend you’re talking to your friend in the pub. I always think of it like getting your mouth used to the words, so they’re comfier to say.
If you have 10 minutes, stick to 10 minutes. Time your talk and make note of where you think you’re rambling or talking too briefly about something, then tweak it.
Microphone or no microphone, you want to be somewhere in-between Marilyn Monroe and Brian Blessed, by practising your talk you get a good idea of the pitch, speed and tones you need to be working to.
Dress like you mean it
What clothes, colours, accessories or even props make you feel confident? Anything that gives you good vibes, use it!
Make sure to look around the room as you talk, it’s all about engaging with the audience. If you notice a friendly or encouraging face, return there if you need a boost.
Stand tall, strong shoulders and with a bit of sass and a smile. Droopy shoulders, hunched back and eyes on the floor won’t make you feel at all confident.
You’ve been asked to do this, so it means at least one person thinks you’re cool, you’ll feel totally accomplished when you’ve done it and it’s a feather in your career cap.
Need any help or advice to deliver presentations then get in touch.