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Practice, Practice, Practice: The only real way to improve your Presentations

September 7, 2017

Practice is the only way to beat 'Death by PowerPoint Syndrome'

 

Depending on who you ask, there are a thousand different conflicting tips on how to deliver a presentation.  So instead of a list of "To-Dos and Do-Nots", we believe the perfect presentation involves converging the science of analytics and the art of creativity, customized to your personality. If you have jokes, tell them; if you have compelling data, show it!

 

Developing great visuals (part 3) and a speaking style (part 2) which suit you is just part of the equation. Recognize the most critical aspect to your presentation: practice.

 

"Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard". Practice improves performance in every endeavor. That’s why the world’s greatest athletes (Michael Jordan is the embodiment of hard work), musicians (Michael Jackson is another known perfectionist), and other standouts spend an inordinate amount of hours perfecting their craft.

 

Here are some tips to consider when you're practicing for your next standing ovation. 

PHYSICAL LOCATION

Nothing could trip up a presenter more than actually tripping on stage. Check out the location (if possible), the audience layout, and even things like mic checks. All these factors could influence the flow of your presentation. Be sure to rehearse with the audio-visual equipment and tools you’ll be using. 

 

Some things are beyond our control, but let's try our best to avoid the blue screen if we can.

 

JITTERS & CONFIDENCE

Have faith in the materials you've worked tirelessly to prepare, and make it as tight as possible. Go over it again and again, in your head, and actually test it out loud. Some of the most famous comedians in the world attest to this (Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, etc.).  The only real way to get rid of your nerves is practice. Additionally, here are some points that can help build your confidence: 

  • consider the overall storyboard & structure

  • adjusting pace and tempo

  • trimming or expanding information

FEEDBACK

When you’re ready, practice with a live audience. Look for people will give you a frank appraisal of how you're doing. Ask them if you’re using filler words/sounds (um, uh), obscure acronyms, or mentioning something that might be culturally offensive.

 

You might be surprised by some curveballs that would've gone unnoticed. Effective feedback provides you with positive and negative information, because whether you like it or not, you are being judged once you get up on the platform.

Practicing with a video recorder in the case of big events, as you might uncover even more critical aspects that you can tweak on.

 

One last tip we do have is, believe and love your material! You've put in so much work into the 10 minute presentation window, so once you stop thinking about presentations as an event where you might screw up, your passion can shine through. Plus, who will believe in your product if even you look shaky about it. Passion, is the single greatest force that can swing any audience into your direction. 

 

We hope this series has been helpful and entertainment to some of you. We look forward to any feedback from you! 

 

Thanks for reading!

YK has developed a comprehensive 1-2 day training on Towards Impactful Presentation conducted in some of the biggest organizations in Indonesia. This post is the last of a 4 part series that explores what goes into developing and giving a great presentation - giving readers an exclusive sneak peek into the training curriculum. For more information please contact support@yongkurniawan.com.

 

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Image source: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5261/5727330912_ca5a5a7760_b.jpg