A list of tips for presentations and speeches.
10-20-30 Rule - This is a slideshow rule offered by Guy Kawasaki. This rule states that a powerpoint slide should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and have no text less than 30 point font.
Be Entertaining – Speeches should be entertaining and informative. I’m not saying you should act like a dancing monkey when giving a serious presentation. But unlike an e-mail or article, people expect some appeal to there emotions. Simply reciting dry facts without any passion or humor will make people less likely to pay attention.
Wear clothes with simple cuts and neutral tones, and make sure that they are comfortable.
A few words per slide - Don't clutter your slides! People don't have time to read sentences when they're trying to listen to you. Two or three dot points with a few words each is optimal.
Give Your Audence Energy - Start you presentation with some energy. If you're not excited, how could they possibly be?
Know thy Audience: How much do they know already? What do they care about? How could my presentation be of greater benefit to them?
Slow Down – Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way to fast. Consciously slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
Eye Contact – Match eye contact with everyone in the room. I’ve also heard from salespeople that you shouldn’t focus all your attention on the decision maker since secretaries and assistants in the room may hold persuasive sway over their boss.
Is it remarkable? - Be passionate about your subject matter, and show how remarkable it is. Put a twist on it, show it in a new light. Will people remember your presentation in a few months? If you're not sure they will, think about things you could add or take away to engage them better.
15 Word Summary – Can you summarize your idea in fifteen words? If not, rewrite it and try again. Speaking is an inefficient medium for communicating information, so know what the important fifteen words are so they can be repeated.
Housekeeping - If you can arrive early, check your presentation space for clutter and things which could distract people from your presentation.
Don’t Read – This one is a no brainer, but somehow Powerpoint makes people think they can get away with it. If you don’t know your speech without cues, that doesn’t just make you more distracting. It shows you don’t really understand your message, a huge blow to any confidence the audience has in you.
Speeches are About Stories – If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes. Great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience.
Design, Not Decoration - Don't confuse well designed slides for decorated slides. Don't even think about colours and gradients until you've got a well formatted and useful slide.
Project Your Voice - Nothing is worse than a speaker you can’t hear. Even in the high-tech world of microphones and amplifiers, you need to be heard. Projecting your voice doesn’t mean yelling, rather standing up straight and letting your voice resonate on the air in your lungs rather than in the throat to produce a clearer sound.
“That’s a Good Question” – You can use statements like, “that’s a really good question,” or “I’m glad you asked me that,” to buy yourself a few moments to organize your response.
Breathe In Not Out – Feeling the urge to use presentation killers like ‘um,’ ‘ah,’ or ‘you know’? Replace those with a pause taking a short breath in. The pause may seem a bit awkward, but the audience will barely notice it.
Come Early – Don’t fumble with powerpoint or hooking up a projector when people are waiting for you to speak. Come early, scope out the room, run through your slideshow and make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparation can do a lot to remove your speaking anxiety.
Enough With the Branding - You don't need to put a company logo on every slide.
Get Practice – Join Toastmasters and practice your speaking skills regularly in front of an audience. Not only is it a fun time, but it will make you more competent and confident when you need to approach the podium.
Don’t Apologize – Apologies are only useful if you’ve done something wrong (e.g. arrived late). Don’t use them to excuse incompetence or humble yourself in front of an audience. Don’t apologize for your nervousness or a lack of preparation time.
DON'T USE ALL-CAPS - Unless you're angry.
Record Your Presentation - Great to look back on (and learn from) and to spread to others if needed.
Put Yourself in the Audience - When writing a speech, see it from the audiences perspective. What might they not understand? What might seem boring? Use WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to guide you.
Have Fun - Sounds impossible? With a little practice you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Ask yourself: Am I passionate about my message?
Could I speak without notes? - If you're prepared, and you're passionate enough about your subject matter, you will feel less need for notes.
Do I have something really important to say? Does what you say matter?
Slides vs. You - Make sure to utilise your slides if you're using them, but make sure you don't overuse them - keep the attention on you for some of the time.
Font Size - Simple, but important! If you're using slides, don't forget to thin about (and preferably test) the projector.
Use anecdotes and practical examples to make complicated concepts more comprehensible.
Speak in varying tones and pitches to give emphasis to certain words and ideas.
Deliver your speech slowly and clearly.
Make sure that the people sitting at the back of the hall can hear you clearly, but do not speak so loud that it appears as if you are shouting.
Maintain an upright but relaxed posture while you are speaking, and do not lean forward or backward.
Leave your arms on the podium or by your sides when you are not using them to make gestures.
When gesturing, make sure that it is natural and spontaneous.
Maintain eye contact with the audience.