I attended a talk this morning. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectations. I did have a warning sign. The presenter opened his talk with the typical marketing pitch for his company. He got cute with it saying before he would begin his talk, he wanted to take a moment to give us a “wee dram” about his company.
I’ll be honest. His visuals were terribly put together and his use of Prezi’s sweeping slide transitions was decidedly nauseating.
It was telling that a healthy number of us took to analyzing the presenter and tweeting with others at a different social media event across town rather than sharing or expanding on salient points in the talk we were attending. If there were salient points, and many of us questioned that being the case after the talk, a group of us didn’t notice them. We were present; just not at the talk we’d paid to attend.
Here are 10 rules I’d like to offer for attention-getting presentations.
- Have a good topic.
- Have an interesting angle to your topic.
- Invest time and energy into developing the substance of your talk.
- Have stories to tell. As much as possible, communicate the substance of your talk through story.
- Limit the amount of data you present.
- Know how to turn numbers and charts in to stories.
- Be sure any visual-data are self-explanatory or that you can explain them quickly, clearly and concisely.
- Create a limited number of visually-pleasing slides. Your slides should augment your substance after you’ve determined what your substance is.
- Avoid nauseating and/or cute transitions. There are many reasons most movies and television shows have simple cuts or simple cross-dissolves; they don’t distract the audience or take the audience out of the story. Use the KISS principle.
- Check your equipment before the presentation… make sure your slides fit on the screen before you’re introduced.
BONUS… Don’t deliver a pitch about your company. Especially, don’t open with a pitch. And, don’t call your marketing pitch a “wee dram” of your company. If your presentation has substance and your delivery is compelling, the audience will want to come to you after the presentation to learn more.
Featured photo uploaded to flickr by Rob Blatt.