Build on What Works in Your Presentation

I have a coaching client who gets nervous when he has to deliver a prepared slide presentation about his company and products, but he is very comfortable answering questions about his company and products extemporaneously.  

When he's answering questions, he's not worried about forgetting information that he is "supposed" to convey – he just focuses on answering the questions, most of which he has heard before and, according to him, he can "answer in his sleep." Also, answering questions helps ensure that he is communicating the information that the audience really wants to know. 

So since that is what works for him, we work with it. For an upcoming prepared presentation that he has to deliver using slides, I suggested that he write a question or two on most of his slides, based on the information he has to convey and also what he thinks the audience might ask.  He can introduce the question by saying, "So you might be asking…" or "At this point, someone usually asks…" and read the question.  Then he can answer the question as if it had been asked by someone in the audience and he was just repeating it.  

Practicing this technique – along with other practice and skill development– should help him become more comfortable with giving a prepared presentation.  And the audience will find having one or two questions large fonts on most slides will be visually interesting and different from the usual list of bullet points.  

Try this approach yourself.  If you have something that already works well in your presentations, find a way to build on it as you work on developing your presentation skills. 

(c) Gilda Bonanno