Our top five presentation tips (our first four picks are from the list behind the link)
- Know your audience. A key preparation – you have to have a goal for a presentation. Are you convincing, educating or inspiring people? What do those people care about (and what do they already know?)? Also – do you actually know the people in the audience?
- Revise and rewrite. Editing is the best thing ever. When we first put ideas down, it’s generally from our point of view. Validate that the content is targeted at the audience.
- Minimize the text on the slide. Eyecharts distract from the presenter. People read ahead – the slide content should provide cues for you to speak, and for your audience to remember. If we need a bunch of text to support our point, we include it in a handout.
- One idea per slide. Focus!
- Include supporting slides. We’re already simplifying the content we present to maximize the impact of the ideas, which means that there is more content somewhere, but we haven’t shown it. Often someone in the audience (generally interested person, micro-manager, dude-trying-to-look-smart) will ask drill down questions – “Where did you get that data?” “Isn’t that diagram overly simplified?”. Adding those supporting slides (created in previous presentations, or prior to revision) after a blank slide (with the title “End of presentation”) to the deck. Don’t plan on showing these slides, just have them at the ready.
The best advice I know about preparing content for a presentation: Plan the formal part of the presentation to share 2/3 of what you want to tell the audience. Draw that last third out through engaging conversation and informal asides during the formal presentation.