Monday, July 16, 2007

High Impact Presentations

Today I participated in an enjoyable training session on presentation skills. And although I would have preferred programming, I did learn several new helpful techniques that I would like to share.

When in doubt, close your mouth
To avoid saying fillers (umm, so, and, etc) just close your mouth. There is nothing wrong with silence and a pause. It beats saying um a hundred times in 5 minutes.

Proper stance
When standing in front of an audience your arms should be at your side, not behind or in front of you. While at your side it can help if you make a circle with your thumb and pointer finger (this helped me a lot when practicing). If you have to put your hands in front of you, create a steeple/triangle (hard to explain verbally).

Be Prepared
To avoid nervousness be prepared. A good idea on how to prepare is to type your speech up, word for word. Then record yourself giving that speech by not referencing the paper and then compare the differences.

First Impression
The average person makes a first impression in 7 seconds. 55% comes visually, 38% vocally, and the remaining 7% verbally. It's very important to connect with your audience and create a good first impression.

Be Passionate
Nobody cares what you know, until they know you care.

PowerPoint Suggestions

You want your audience to be focused on you, not your powerpoint. Therefore use the b and w buttons to blackout or whiteout your screen. This helps in the beginning of a presentation before being introduced. Actually ironic that a non-technical person was giving a room full of technical people suggestions on keyboard shortcuts.

This obviously isn't everything that I learned and doesn't even come close to the multitude of skills necessary to deliver a successful presentation. These are just the ones that made the most impact one me.