While in beautiful Australia, I met lots of cool librarians … and gave a couple of presentations, too. Here are the Slideshare versions of the presentations – you had to be there to get the full effect, but still – it gives a glimpse.
Freak Out , Geek Out, Seek Out – I found a couple of Australia examples for this presentation, which was fun.
Creating Customer Experience. At VALA, I combined this one with the Freak Out presentation above.
Modern LibGeek Landscape – some Provocative Questions. A bit of explanation on this one. It was meant to start discussions, and be a bit “out there.” Hence the odd questions!
Tip #10: It’s a performance.
Oh yes it is. Your talk is most definitely a performance, and you are most definitely a performer.
Are you on a stage? On a podium? Talking to a room full of people? Ever gotten an anxiety attack before your talk? Yep – you’re a performer.
Your presentation isn’t just the words you’re saying. It’s not just the slides, or your movements, or your transitions … it’s not even just your content. It’s all of that – content, delivery, visual cues, the way you talk, etc – all rolled up into a big wad of performance.
Those people who read “academic papers” word for word? Those people who do the PowerPoint 10-points-per-slide thing, and basically read their outline? They probably have great content. Sit down with them for dinner, and let them share – it’ll be amazing, I’m sure. But that thing they just did on the stage, in front of people? It was a performance … but probably not a very good one (and believe me – I’ve been there, done that, so I’m guilty as charged).
But you? You know better. You have great content. A great idea or new angle that you want to share. And you know that to deliver it well in a presentation setting … well, you have to deliver great content, and turn in an engaging performance, too.
No, you don’t have to be the most amazing presenter in the world. But DO give what you’re doing on stage some thought, and I’m guessing that you’ll be much more interesting than “those other presenters.”
Pic by libraryman
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
Tip #7: Work on Introductions, Transitions, and conclusions.
Intros, conclusions, and transitions have always been a challenge for me – in writing and in speaking! In college, me professors frequently said “David, you need a transition here” or “you need a stronger conclusion.” So I’ve been working really hard on those transitions.
And I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. I’ve seen more than one presentation where the presenter was introduced, then starts their slides with an uncomfortable “um … I guess let’s get started now” and jumps right into the presentation. Or when they’re done, they end with a weird smile and a “um, I’m done now” (I have to admit, I’ve done that myself).
They’re not really that hard to do, either. Here’s what you’ll see me do:
- Usually, someone announces who you are. If they don’t, take a minute to introduce yourself. It gets you used to talking, and gets the audience used to you
- You might start off with a question, or a statement (sort of a statement of purpose for the presentation). Then briefly cover what you’re going to talk about.
- also easy. At the end of one point, flow into the next point with something that relates to it. Or at the least, say something like “we just learned about this. Next up, let’s talk about this for awhile.”
- These transitions make it easy for people to follow along or take notes.
- If you like to walk around while giving a presentation, it helps visually to actually move to another spot while making your transition
- And of course, show something like “point #2” up on the screen if you’re using slides.
- Remind people what they just learned – something like “we’ve just covered these 5 things.”
- Then I like to end with some broad statement about what can happen if you put these ideas into practice (ie., “put these easy steps into practice and you’re bound to improve your website and make your customers happy” or something like that).
- Actually have an “I’m done now” slide. I wrote a book and have a blog, so my last slide says “Thank You,” shows my book cover, and displays my website’s URL.
- If you know you’ll have a question and answer time afterwards, you might just show something like “Q & A time” on a slide, then say “it’s time for questions.”
Improve those transitions – I promise to work on them too!
Pic by dnnya17
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!