I started off trying to put these tips into a form of a Mnemonic or Acronym but R started appearing a lot so I decided to go for all Rs instead. These are a randomly ordered list of tips for doing presentations, the before, during and after. Tag friends or share this to your network if you think it would be of interest.
A lot. Rehearse, a lot. You need to read your presentation out loud. Reading internally you go faster so you’ll get your timings wrong. Know your quarter mark, half and three quarter marks so you can judge your timings. Could you do the presentation without your slide deck?
I use my slide deck as prompts more than anything so I would run through a presentation non-verbally 30-40 times and out loud 10-20 times. At least. Full run-throughs are needed. I don’t like the sound of my voice so I don’t record myself, I know of others that do though.
You need to agree on the topic and how they see the talk/presentation going, research who asked you to give the talk and what their goal is (they do not want to be the person who hired that crazy guy who said their industry is dead), the audience and specifics to all of those e.g. relevant case studies.
The easiest way people can remember/understand what you are going is compare your examples to something they already understand. “We’re Uber for plumbing jobs” “We’re Facebook for mothers”. Make sure your case studies, example are relevant to the audience you are talking to.
If you’ve done your research then your content needs to get the attention of the audience and retain their attention. Do you want to talk to 50 people or engage 50 people?.
A totally fresh deck and a new talk is very exciting but iterating on things you’ve done can be better as you know that stuff backwards and being familiar helps to ground you. Saying that, you don’t want to be like that guy that used the same case study for 3 years in his slidedeck for every talk that he gave. When your audience can give the talk you gave, why do they need you?
You can also test this work on a real but different audience before the main presentation by testing with smaller more informal audiences. Offer to give a talk at another event such as a BarCamp or one of the million TEDx talks that are always happening. To reference Jerry Seinfeld again and the documentary Comedian, he live tested the hell out of just a few jokes nonstop until he got it right.
Cut cut cut, cut all bits that slow you down. Too much is bad, if you have too little you can flesh it out on the fly but you don’t want to end up only half way done when your time expires.
Room + Recce
It would be good to visit the location and the room beforehand to get a feel for the place, if not, you can get photos taken by someone and/or have them fill out a checklist. So many times they tell you they have VGA and HDMI and when you get there you find out that the port has been damaged or works badly. A checklist isn’t a contract but it forces more onus on the venue to ensure it all works.
Respect the audience
Treat them like peers, talk to them like you are talking to a cousin at a family reunion. Don’t talk down to them, don’t try to bamboozle or mislead them. Share your talk/presentation like it is something wonderful you want them to know about.
I don’t like printing out my whole presentations plus most slides are image heavy and text light but I do hand out a summary sheet where people can add in their own notes.
For the live presentation:
Run through with the audience what you are going to say
Realise these points during the talk
Reflect with the audience on what you said
Presentation went well? Do it again and again and again with more live audiences.
Reactive and Randomness
Be ready for something going wrong like the AV going, the wifi going, the projector going. Someone sharing a terrible opinion or wanting you to explain something that has nothing to do with the topic.
Review + Revise
Post event, review how you thought about it, solicit constructive feedback from others. Remember though that everyone has an opinion on how you should present but the audience is the best critic. If they didn’t seem engaged, if they weren’t looking to ask questions urgently, if nobody came up to you afterwards, rejig your presentation!