2 Key Elements of Presentation Skills

A colleague recently asked me what I consider to be the 2 key elements of good presentation skills.  Here is my response:

A presentation is not about you dumping everything you know about a topic on the audience.  You have to consider what the audience needs to know – what is important to them and why should they care about your topic.  Follow what I call The Golden Rule of Communications™ - communicate unto others as THEY want to be communicated to, not as YOU want to be communicated to.

Thinking about your presentation from the audience’s point of view helps you to organize your material and make sure your message is customized to this specific audience, including visuals, examples, stories, etc.  It also allows you to figure out what to eliminate so you make sure you stay within your time limit.

Don’t expect that you can just throw together some slides the night before a presentation and just “wing it.” Most people will be unsuccessful.  Effective, clear and memorable presentations take more practice than that, especially if there is something different about the presentation (new content, in front of a new audience, in a new environment) or if it’s high stakes (in front of the Board of Directors or your key client).

Practice by speaking the words out loud in as close to the real environment as possible (standing, in a conference room, using a remote to control the slides, etc.) and making sure you can communicate your ideas clearly within the time limit.  It also helps to record yourself (audio or video) and review. 

And if I could add a third element, it would be CONFIDENCE. Believe that you have something worth saying (and I’m assuming that you do) and that you are the right person to share that message with this particular audience.  Make sure that your words and your body language communicate confidence and trust that your preparation and your practice will allow you to deliver the best presentation you can under the circumstances. 

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com 

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