Presentation Tips
Updated 14 August 2015
The first impression a client or supervisor has of your strategic recommendations more often than not comes from an oral presentation. For that reason, any opportunity to make a oral presentation of your work should be taken seriously.  Also think of it as an opportunity to set the tone and frame the discussion. To put it another way: It is your opportunity to shine!

In organizing your presentation, it is important to remember the difference between written and oral presentations.
Written presentations are non-linear - readers can stop, start, review or skip ahead as they wish.  In oral presentations, the listeners get only one shot at your message. For that reason, oral presentations should focus on "the big picture." That means focusing on the major points, using imagery, symbolism and repetition. For example, a common mistake when presenting a strategic communications plan is presenting every goal, objective and tactic as if one is reading a recipe. A better approach is to first unveil the all of the goals, then revisit each one. There is no one correct pattern to follow. However, it is important to remember that logical is better than linear. Don't underestimate the importance of repetition - give the audience a chance to remember the things you want it to remember. An often-used pattern in presentations is to tell the audience what you plan to tell it, then tell it, and then tell it what you told it.

Also remember that it is not just what you say, but how you say it that makes a lasting impression. Body language is defined as messages you send, intentionally and otherwise, through your appearance, body movements, tone of voice and use of visual aids.  Your style of relating to others - professionalism, courtesy, sensitivity, humor, and behavior under fire - carries a strong message.  First impressions are lasting.  In just the first few seconds after meeting, we are making value judgments about one another.   You want those first impression to be good.

It is also true that vision reinforces aural learning.  It has been said that
you remember 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 30% of what you see and 50% of what you hear and see. Charles Reilly, Jr. and Dorothy Lynn wrote The Power of In-Person Communications.  In it they cite three reasons people have butterflies: you ignore your own game plan, you are afraid that you will be boring and you are afraid that you will say what your audience has heard before.  Reilly and Lynn say are ways to replace those butterflies with "positive energy:"
  1. Do your homework (know your subject and audience)
  2. Be upbeat (have a positive attitude)
  3. Select a key target (This doesn't mean pick out one person at the exclusion of all others.  What it does mean is try to relate to an individual.  Then move on and relate to another.  Soon, you will gain rapport with the entire room.)
  4. Establish good eye contact.  If you are doing a general presentation, focus on the whole room.  Don't favor one side of the room over another.  If you are making a persuasive presentation, trying to influence a decision, focus on the lion.
  5. Be helpful (Make the audience feel that you are there as a friend, to help in their understanding)
  6. Enjoy yourself.  Have fun.
Some other useful tips that will help you through your presentation:
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