Presentation Tips

Here are some tips and tricks to help out new and seasoned members as they prepare for various speeches.

Using a Computer and Projector

If you plan to use your computer and projector for your presentation, please consider the following:

  • Copy the presentation (NOT a shortcut) to a USB/thumb drive in case anything happens and your can't get your computer to work as desired.
  • Notify the TM early (I MEAN EARLY) in the week and ask them to request that the projector be available at the meeting. Usually, the Sgt at Arms has it.
  • Bring along a power cord. There is nothing worse than running out of battery power and not having a power cord.
  • Plan to arrive very early and test your computer with the projector. Get everything working the way you want and then tell the computer to hibernate or go into sleep mode. This way, someone else can also use the projector. Ask the TM to turn on the projector (and maybe wake your computer) before you are introduced so that they are ready to go when you are.
  • If you do not have a computer, check with the TM to see if you can use the computer that is usually used for timing. If you do this, then the timer of the day will need to use a different computer. But you need to make sure that everything has been worked out early enough. Do NOT wait until Thur. night to plan things.
  • LEARN about your computer. There are certain function keys that will turn on/off video to an external monitor.
  • Make sure you have current drivers and software for your computers video card. This can make it even easier to set up for an external monitor/projector.
  • Remember that you may be in a position in the future where you will be expected to make a presentation. Learn all you can at our meetings so that you are prepared to present in a location without the support you have at Startup Speakers.

Using Power Point to enhance your presentation properly

  • KISS – Keep It Simple Silly
  • Slides should either contain
    • a graphic (with little or no text)
    • 5 or few lines of text
  • Don't spend time with transitions unless you are really good at it. You want your slides to compliment your presentation, not become a distraction.
  • NEVER read your slides. Your slides should be a visual outline of your presentation, NOT the presentation. Another way is to consider the slides to be your outline.
  • Avoid using fonts too small to read,
  • Use a master template so that all slides are uniform with a background that does not distract or make it hard to read the text.
  • You can always print out your slides in advance and hand them out after your presentation. The only reason to hand them out before your presentation is if you expect people to take notes. Otherwise, they will read ahead and might miss some of your important content.
  • Determine how you will change the slides. A wireless, remote mouse will do it. There are also some things you can buy that are designed to work with a computer and power point. Or you might even have someone click the mouse for you, but make sure you have an easy way for them to know when to click.
  • A laser pointer is a good way to point to something, but so is the mouse. And a laser pointer is illegal in Canada and some other places – so don't depend on it.
  • Always have a backup of your slides on a USB Thumb drive. Make sure you COPY the presentation to the thumb drive (rather than a shortcut to the presentation.)
  • Remember that 10% or so of the population is color blind. Trying viewing your slides in black and white and see how easy they are to read.
  • Don't use animations unless they really do add to your presentation.
  • Stand to one side of the screen (I tend to be on the right side so that they read the text and end up looking at me. There are different schools of thought on which side is better.

Props

There are presentations that go better if you have a prop. But don't let the props detract from your presentation.

  • Have the TM set up any props as necessary before you are introduced. Or set them up yourself and then put them aside. Have the TM put them out before your introduction.
  • If you will have any audience participation with your props, assume that the audience will take too long, not do it right, etc. In most cases, you want to avoid this.
  • Don't use something very valuable as a prop if you can help it.
  • Be prepared for something to go wrong with the prop (left at home, fell out while you were driving to the meeting, someone sat on it before you spoke, etc.)
  • Make sure that everyone can see it clearly.
  • Avoid props that need to be handed from person to person – it takes focus away from you.

Preparing for a speech

  • Prepare an outline – what do you want to say, what are the key points you want to make and how do you want to conclude it.
  • You should strive for a main topic, three supporting facts, and the conclusion.
  • Determine the goal of your conclusion – is it just a wrap up, a call to action, what?
  • Practice it so that you can present it in the time available.
  • Have at least one point/concept/fact you can use or not, as time permits.
  • Memorize your opening and conclusion
  • If you need notes, just use an outline. You can't just read your notes, so you might as well only have what you need to jog your memory. Print out your outline in 14 (or larger) point font. Place that on the lectern. Slide the sheets behind the others as you complete each topic (if you find you have more than one – which should be rare.)

Improving your pronunciation

f you want to improve your pronunciation, you have a number of choices. But your best starting point is to record your presentation and then listen to it later. How well do you understand what you said. Then get together with a native speaker and ask them for comments. I have found that there are often key sounds that can be a struggle for people and learning to master those sounds will solve many of the problems they have being understood.

Using Video/Audio recordings to improve your delivery

You will find it to be a great advantage to have your speech taped so you can review it later – on your own or with your mentor. To have it taped, you will need to bring a standard SD memory card. The club had a group purchase of these and you can purchase one for about $10 or so. Check with the EVP for information on getting one. If your computer does not have a way to read SD cards, then we also have some SD cards that come with readers you can plug into your USB port.

Things you might do to prepare the room/audience for your speech

  • Have the TM set up any props you may want to use
  • Have the TM 'set the stage' for the audience. For example, if this is a sales pitch, then the audience should know who the target audience would be. Or if this is a business presentation, the TM should explain to the members what type of employees (vendors?) they are and the role that the speaker (you) have in relation to them.

Involving other members in your presentation

  • Don't forget to look at the audience and include them whenever possible.
  • If you are saying something that some might disbelieve, say it in a way that won't have them discounting your speech. For example, if you hear 'Everyone knows that the moon is green' or 'It's a fact that the moon is green' – you know it isn't. Even if you don't know for sure, you are at least very apprehensive about the fact. Suppose instead you heard 'I believe the moon is green. While it may not appear that way to you, let me tell you why and maybe you too will see the moon in a new light.' Both say the same thing, but the second at least presents it in a way that will encourage the audience to listen rather than just tune you out.
  • Never tell the audience that they are stupid, no matter how stupid they are.
  • Smile

Things you should NOT do or be very carefull when you do.

  • Do not leave the lectern until someone comes to replace you (and shake your hand.)
  • Don't thank us for the pleasure we received hearing you talk to us. The exception might be if your conclusion is a call to action and you are thanking us in advance for the action we might do.
  • Do not use vulgarity, make racially overtoned jokes or comments, insult members of the audience.
  • You are encouraged to take controversial views on any subject (politics, abortion, religion, etc.) but do so in a way that does not insult those members who feel contrary to you. If you do decide to give such a presentation, you are encouraged to wait until you have given at least 6-8 speeches first, so you understand enough techniques to deal with the subject. There is even an advanced speech that involves giving a speech on a controversial topic.

Have any other presentation tips? Just send them to the Vice President of Education/a>.