I went this weekend to a research Symposium. I saw good things and not so good ones, so I started today by putting together a list of
10 tips for a better presentation:
It’s no you, it’s me: Tell yourself and tell it to the slide-deck: The “power-point”is there to support your narrative and enhance your storytelling. Once, I spent a weekend in a seminar and the person in charge didn’t use the computer. Not once. Try to put less slides, not more
Big, brother (and sister)!: Remember that you are presenting in a 100-120 inch screen, poorly lighted. Chances are the projector’s screaming for a new and decent bulb. Use big type size and by all means, look for higher-resolution photos. Pick your your colors carefully. They translate somehow capriciously. No Yellows!…believe me, they are treacherous!. Thinks look quite different in our high resolution displays than in the wall
Mind the type: At risk of being arrested by the APA police (I suspect that there is one), do not use the ugly times new roman. Of course you know that Comic Sans is a joke. There is a reason many websites pick Helvetica Neue or similar: Legibility on a screen.
Be like Spielberg, use the special effects: I can only point to the very first presentation of the Symposium. Kudos!… good effects to bring attention to key points. Not too much, not too little. Elegant and useful
Some rather than all: Do not fill the slide with all the words in this world. Again, the slide is there to support your narrative. Use fewer words and mix with images. Bold words, stunning images. Almost every single slide would benefit from slashing half the words in there.
It’s the (stupid) software: If you are like me, maybe you start your presentation in Keynote, then check it in Powerpoint (but for MAC)…and then you get to the room where an older and cranky version of powerpoint is waiting to kill your presentation: It changes sizes, types, spaces, effects. By all means, make a live run of your work in the actual computer you are going to use
We (more or less) know how to read: Please don’t read the slide to us. We are there to hear and learn from YOU…. I can read the slides in my bed in a rainy Saturday morning!
Break a leg!: You, Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Carson, Abraham Lincoln…. and everyone back to Aristotle and beyond are nervous when speaking in front of an audience. Embrace it and be yourself. No one knows this better than you. Make it humane and sincere.
The more is not the merrier: When presenting with a group, think of a sitcom… do they “go to black”at any moment?.No! Rehearse and make a conscious decision on when to switch the presenter. Equal presentation time is not the best approach
The big NO-NOs: Don’t… put the hand in your pocket, give your back to the audience, read directly from the screen, be tied down to the lectern or say a lots of uh…ah… eh…. touch your face or pull your hair. Stand tall and proud for no one know this better than you!
This list compiled by a guy that make some or all of this errors frequently. Did your boss sent you TWICE to one of those “How to make presentations”training sessions?. Mine did!