The best 7 minutes that you are likely to spend if making presentations (or suffering through them) is part of your job.
Among the tips doled out in this video, the stand-outs for me (and mentioned in every presentation skills article) are these:
Present an outline: even in traditional Hindu prayers (Sandhyavandanam), the starting point is the sankalp – or outlining the details behind the prayer. In presentation lingo, it is ‘say what you are going to say, say it, say what you have just said’.
Make numbers meaningful: oh, how I hate numbers. And charts filled with Excel sheets and complicated graphs put me to sleep. The art is in distilling the numbers to make them relevant to the point you are making. And presenting it in a simple, visual slide.
Keep it visual: most presentations have more bullet points than a war ravaged building. Presentation Zen calls it the ‘Microsoft Method’. Which sadly, is the norm. Seth Godin calls it ‘Bad Powerpoint‘. In contrast, visual presentations have more chance of getting through and remembered. But putting together such a presentation is hard work. For a hilarious take on how the Gettysburg Address would be treated in a typical Powerpoint slide, see here.
Keep it short: most of the corporate presentations entail taking 2 hours for something that should only take 20 minutes. The thumb rule is to make 3 major points in a presentation and keep weaving them into the presentation theme. There is some magic in the power of 3: there are 3 parts to the presentation – beginning, middle and end; list of 3’s have always been popular:
Veni Vidi Vici
Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Amar, Akbar, Anthony (OK, not as poignant as the above)
The 3 most important things in real estate: location, location, location
Blood, sweat & tears
Sex, Lies & Videotape
3 R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: last minute preparation is a patented procedure of advertising agencies. Even if one has weeks to prepare for a presentation, the bulk of the work happens the night before the big day. The entire effort goes in putting together the basic requirements – who has the time to prepare? Result: you say, ‘the next slide is about our media strategy’ and you have a slide on some other topic on screen. But I am told that even the likes of Margaret Thatcher practiced on her speeches. It’s better to rehearse and discover the flaws on your own than in front of your audience, right?
So, next time you have presentation jitters, watch Steve Jobs for inspiration.
And one more thing. This is my 500th post and coincidentally related to my favourite topic – Apple & Steve Jobs.