I recently attended a conference and noticed something that was very disturbing. There was a plague sweeping all of the wonderful speakers that I had been looking forward to hear share their thoughts and ideas. It wasn’t the Black Death, nor was it some horrible unspeakable disease that was going to ravish us all – there were a number of really smart people who were reading word for word from their slides.
- Ad Lib. Don’t be afraid to throw in a story that might not have been planned. It’s okay to mention things you didn’t have written down in your notes; you just don’t want to travel off too far on a tangent.
- Give more visual ques. Instead of trying to cram a lot of text on your slides, use some carefully chosen graphics to let your audience know what’s in store, as well as keeping track of your place during your presentation.
- Invite Participants to Give Feedback. This is a great idea, especially if it is your first time making a presentation in front of a crowd. Your participants can really help you figure out where you did great and where you could use improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask.
There is a level of concern that crops up when we realize that we must do two things at once, like speaking and advancing slides, and things become a little easier when we realize that it’s possible to combine the two things together and just put all of the things we want to say on the presentations slides. Doing that does break rule number one about giving presentations and it won’t help you to get over any nerves or anxiety you fear. Have you ever been guilty of this? How did you get over this?