Never, Never ... Be Boring!
recently attended an Information Technology (IT) trade show featuring
IT seminars, I was struck by how boring the presentations were. As I looked
around the room, I saw people with glazed looks and others falling asleep.
It was a shame, because the presenters were obviously knowledgeable and
had been asked to speak on interesting and timely topics. Even though
the presenters were not professional speakers, how could they have avoided
Lighten up! Add a bit of humor. I am not suggesting starting the presentation with a joke. I am suggesting that in the field of computers, technology, and every type of business there are lots of true and humorous anecdotes that would elicit laughter and get audience members on your side. Laughter will also ease a presenters tension.
Dont tell us everything you know! Content is incredibly important, however, as presenters we must not feel that we have to pack everything we know into one presentation. Usually covering three main points/topics is sufficient for a dynamic presentation. An effective speaker leaves an audience wanting to find out more not overwhelmed by the amount of material covered.
Use props with care! It is fine to use props, including digitally generated slides and visuals, however, when we rely on these for our presentation for example, reading what audience members can see already rather than pointing out important features we lose their attention quickly. Also, boring visuals with lots of words and no graphics are a complete turnoff.
Involve the audience! Besides getting the audience to laugh and feel that we are talking directly to them, we can ask them questions and also encourage them to ask us questions or make comments on our statements. By starting a presentation by having everyone write down what they want to learn and having a few participants share what they have written is one way to get them involved from the start.
Prepare, prepare, prepare and practice, practice, practice! The more prepared we are, the more comfortable and enthusiastic we will be when presenting. And, I am not advocating memorizing, but I am suggesting that we have mapped out our direction, tested our stories, and practiced a strong opening and closing.
Work on all of these, and I guarantee, youll never, never, never be boring!
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