I read a great post today from Chris Brogan (www.chrisbrogan.com) about presentation skills… I know, I know…. but, after you get hit over the head with another one of those 1,000 word PPT slides… you just want to say something.

Legendary advertiser David Ogilvy said, “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.” He wanted us to treat the recipients of advertisements as important people, and I implore you to do the same to your audience. Here’s what I mean when I say that:

  • Your audience knows more than you’re giving them credit for. Every time.
  • They have come to learn something from you that they can use themselves. Give takeaways.
  • They have sacrificed time. Value their every minute as best you can. Trim your presentation.
  • Your audience wants something new. Stay fresh. They might have seen you last month or on the web.
  • Give them something to DO. Give actionable next steps, such that your presentation leaves them wanting to rush out of the room and do what you recommended. If you can, make it as specific to the audience as possible.
  • Never ever ever ever feel like you have to read your slides to me.
You ARE an Entertainer

If you’re going to command the stage (or a room, or whatever format your presentation takes), own the stage. Be as polished, as precise, as eloquent, as helpful as you can be. Here are some tips that I’ve tried to boil down tightly:

  • Think visually. Slides are not Word documents.
  • Make sure your slides aren’t more interesting than you.
  • Speak louder and slower than you think you should.
  • Dress for attention. If you’re going to own that stage, be vibrant (but tasteful).
  • Speak WITH not TO your audience. Get them “in on it.”
  • More than 7 key points is wasted.
  • Be as passionate as you can be about the topic. If you’re not, why will they care?

I take great pride and care in trying to entertain when I present. How about you?