Today I gave a presentation to CGA Calgary … it was the first time I have given a presentation in a while, so I was a little rusty. I took it as a good opportunity to remind myself of some basics, one of which has to be that practice makes perfect … so I need to do more presenting!!!
An obvious one but the better prepared you are the more you can loosen up and be natural. So make sure you know your material, understand how much time you have, plan the presentation to fit the time and practice it.
When you get there.
Get there early, make sure that the set up works for you and get everything ready to go. That can mean having any props ready (in this case I used my iphone and eReader as examples of technology change); ensuring any technology works and is set up right laptop, projector etc; understand if a mike is needed or not; understand how the slides are going to be flipped (by you or someone else, on the computer a mouse or remotely); practice with the setup particularly if any of it is unfamiliar; set up your watch or a clock so you can be conscious of time.
During the presentation.
Think about the pace, are people understanding what you say, are you talking too fast (a common problem). When talking to the audience try to make eye contact with as many people as possible. Add a little humour if at all possible … there were several comments from this group that they appreciated the levity in today’s session. Make sure you are giving them some meat and that the talk is relevant. In this case I was talking about the Changing Workplace and what it means to them. The kinds of opportunities and challenges it brings and what they might like to think about.
At the end of many presentations the audience does not come up with any questions, which was the case here. If I was “on my game” I would have prompted some questions, but I had not prepared for that and didn’t want to blow it. A few years ago I gave a presentation to the Entrepreneurs Club at the University of Ottawa, after which there were no questions. I was up on a stage addressing a dinner crowd, so I jumped down walked out to the middle and addressed a question to myself, then climbed back up on stage and answered myself. It gave people a laugh and opened the gates to a bunch of questions!
This is a subject that I have addressed before in this blog … so you could check out my blog entry about Giving Presentations from September 2008. I also wrote a blog entry specifically about Toastmasters back in May 2007 … The Power of Toastmasters. They are a great organization and a low risk way to learn and improve your presentation skills.
I guess this taught me that I will have to get out more … I quite enjoyed the speaking and the topic would be good for many groups. Look for my world tour!!!