10 Rules for Presentations
The introduction of video projectors have changed the way we make presentations. Some have rejected their use as distracting while many others have embraced them as having the ability to enhance a presentation. I personally enjoy using programs like Keynote and PowerPoint to aid listeners in processing and retaining information shared in a teaching setting.
1. Practice. Since you do not walk around in normal conversations with a clicker in your hand, you need to practice. It will give you the chance to mark your notes where to transition slides and verbally reference the screen.
2. Always speak toward your audience. One major gaffe I see people make is turning toward the screen when they speak. If you are using a microphone and are in a gigantic room, you can almost get away with this movement. But, in many cases, you are in a small room and when you turn toward the screen, it muffles your voice. It is another reason for rule number one.
3. Hide the clicker. Maybe you do not have to hide the device used to advance the slides but you also do not want to make a big deal about it. One cardinal rule I try to keep is never point the control clicker at the screen. After all, the device controlling the graphics is not the screen. Plus, most control devices are not sensitive to how they are aimed. Just hold it in your hand or place it on a lectern and nonchalantly push the button.
4. Fewer words on screen is better. The graphics on screen are for the enhancement of your presentation. You are not there to enhance the images and words on the screen. It is an important distinction. Plus, cluttered screens filled from top to bottom with words will distract listeners from what you are saying.
5. Give credit for photography and artwork. It is easy to just jump on the Internet, find the images you need, cut, paste, and be done with it. But, none of us would want someone to hear a recording of our presentation and steal it in like manner. Use the free stock photography and give the photographers credit for use in your presentation.
6. Use the technology as support and not the point. Your presentation is important otherwise you would not be making it. The points, quotes, pictures, video clips, graphs, and everything else should support the main idea of your presentation. Do not let people walk away remembering the funny movie clip and not remember your presentation.
7. Hold the cheese. PowerPoint, Keynote, and all of the other programs offer a variety of motions, word art, and the like. My advice is to use as few as possible. Because of movies and television, people are surrounded by high-end video production. Most of what you will do in this area will simply underwhelm people.
8. Copy edit everything. After the presentation is finished, it is not finished. Ask another person to read through it to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
9. Set up early. If you have done a presentation, then you know the sinking feeling of the screen not be sized properly or the mirroring being on when it should not be. There are a number of technical things that go wrong on a regular basis. Arrive early and get set up so you don’t have to say, “Hold on for just a second while I get this thing to work right.”
10. Learn from others. I suggest that you watch videos from the Apple presentations by Steve Jobs or some of the TED Talks to learn how to present effectively. Also, Michael Hyatt has some great tips at his blog.