10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: The Whole List

My last 10 posts have been talking about how to improve your presentations. Hope you found some of the tips useful! Here are all 10 tips in one handy list:

10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me:

  1. Don’t Use Templates
  2. Use Presenter Notes
  3. Use Presenter View
  4. Learn Your PC
  5. Use Screenshots
  6. Do What You Said You’d Do
  7. Tidy up Those Transitions
  8. Rehearse
  9. Interact with the Audience
  10. It’s a Performance

Have anything to add? Something I missed? Please add it in the comments!

10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Rehearse!

Tip #8: rehearse!

I always do a dry run-through of my presentations the evening before I give them. If it’s a longer, multi-hour seminar, I probably won’t – but I WILL look through my slides, give some thought to how long each section should run, make sure I have time for Q&A at appropriate places, etc.

But if it’s an hour-long presentation or under? Yep – I’ll probably run through it once or twice. I know – some of you are saying “well, gee David. Glad that works for you – but I don’t need to do that.”

Really? Sure, your presentation might be fine. Yay for you. But I’m guessing this – if you DID rehearse, even just a little bit – your presentation would be that much better.

For the rest of us – if you don’t rehearse, it shows. Here’s why I rehearse:

  • To make sure my transitions work.
  • to make sure my timing is accurate (ever seen someone get the 5-minute warning at the end of a presentation, and they freak out because they still have 20 slides to go over? Sure sign that person didn’t rehearse).
  • To practice saying any specific things I want to say, and to make sure I can actually talk coherently over each of my points.
  • OK – and to feel better about the whole thing, too.

So go rehearse – your presentations will rock that much more if you do.

Pic by Suzy Glass

10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Use Screenshots

Tip #5: Use screenshots, not the live web.

I’ve seen this (and experienced it, too) – someone wants to show off their new website or a new web tool during a presentation. So they go to the site, and then discover the either the conference center’s web access is down, or it’s not fast enough to handle the demonstration.

Then the presenter is stuck – that part of the presentation depended on the web actually working! Darn it.

Here’s the solution – use screenshots. The live web isn’t predictable … especially when you’re standing in front of a room full of people … and will most definitely slow you down during a presentation. Even if web access is working great, using it during a presentation will still most likely slow the presentation down as you wait for the next page to load.

So if you can, use screenshots to get your point across. Screenshots often work fine during a presentation, and can speed things along. They also give you the option to be a bit creative. For example, int he screenshot accompanying this post, I took a screenshot of a website, and then layered some text and soem arrows to help get my point across.

Obviously, sometimes you will need to go to the live web – training sessions or in-depth “how does this work” sessions pretty much require the real thing. But in most other cases screenshots probably work just as well, if not better.

Something to think about!

10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Learn Your PC

Tip #4: Learn how to use your PC (or the PC you’ll be using for the presentation)

I have to admit it – it bugs me when someone stands up in front of everyone – especially at a tech conference – accidentally moves to the next slide … and can’t figure out how to go back to the previous slide.

They get all flustered, blame “technology,” and finally decide to solve the problem by getting out of presentation mode, finding the proper slide, then restarting the presentation. Or by just skipping that slide.

I get it – when we’re standing up in front of people giving a presentation, it’s weird – and we sometimes get a bit flustered when things go wrong. That makes sense.

Because of that, I’d suggest this – take 10 minutes to figure out that PC, and the software you’re using for the presentation. Find all the different ways to advance slides (spacebar, arrow keys, etc). Figure out how to go back to the previous slide (as in the left/right arrow keys).

If you’re planning to do some slightly advanced stuff like playing a video, either in-presentation or not, make sure you test it multiple times – in your office AND on stage. Make sure you know how to turn up the audio.

Do this little bit of prep work, and you’ll look that much more confident and knowledgeable. That weird feeling you get when you’re doing a speaking gig? It’ll still be there (the only way to get rid of that is lots of experience or being an uber-extrovert) … but at least you’ll know how to go back to that slide you just skipped!

10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me: Use Presenter View

Tip #3 – use the Presenter View during your presentations!

The image above is my presentation … in presenter view. I always use presenter view (unless I’m doing a webinar from my office). Here’s why:

  • Presenter view (in Keynote anyway) displays two slides at once, so I know what’s coming up next
  • presenter view has those notes I mentioned in Tip #2 – so if there’s something I want to say a certain way, I can simply glance down at my notes on the screen – pretty handy!
  • Notice the timer in the upper right hand corner? Huge help for making sure I stay on schedule.

If you get too wordy in the presenter notes box, you have two options: 1. a scroll bar will appear – sorta awkward on the fly, but it will work; 2. break that idea into multiple slides. You can even use a copy of the current slide – it won’t change what anyone sees, but your notes will change “behind the scenes.”

Pretty tricky thing, that presenter view!