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Your Presentation Boot Camp

To quickly get your presentations up to optimal fitness there are a few simple habits that I think are critical.  This is less about sales or presentation psychology and more about basic things we all can do to prepare for our meetings better.  Following is a short check-list of habits worth considering when planning that important presentation:

  • Read and reduce – Look at your notes and get comfortable with them.  Reduce your notes to some simple bullet-points and speak to them from memory rather than reading or memorizing an entire script – you will always sound more natural and confident.
  • Have alternatives – Assume that your presentation may take another direction. Try and think about questions you will be asked and areas where you may need to go off-script.  Be prepared, not only with answers but with some slide alternatives or alternative order of slides should the conversation change. (Maybe consider a Slide-Library?)
  • Hardware  – In the case of in-person demonstrations, make sure you call ahead and have a very good idea of what you’re walking into hardware-wise.  Do they have a projector? Will you have internet access if needed? Don’t assume.  In the same vein, find out about the layout of the room – are you expecting to present to a conference room only to find out upon arrival that you are being ushered into a cubical?
  • Design – Think about your slides and what you will be saying for each slide.  Avoid reproducing your script on your slide – Think in terms of simple graphics and bulleted text only. You can always have an alternative detail-heavy deck for distribution but when it comes to your presentation, you don’t want people reading slides.
  • Dress  comfortably – Everyone is different; some people feel great dressed to the nines while others would rather be in running shoes and jeans.  While its certainly important to always look professional it’s also important to feel comfortable, especially if you will be standing for your presentation.

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