Whiteboard Presentation Skills 101

I might as well be using transparencies…..

I always found the most memorable professors in University to be the ones that didn’t throw up a million wordy slides. Worse, if they provided the slides before or after class and then just read them aloud, what was the point of going to class?

Sometimes it was the professors that used those horrible transparency sheets, and they’d cover some things and then reveal them as they were working through their material that impacted me the most because I couldn’t read ahead and get bored. And I’m someone who likes a lot of “WOW” in my presentations. Sometimes we do the same, and just use a whiteboard as a presentation tool if we really want to impact the client.

In the public sector going to a presentation was either an absolute delight or a nightmare. Have you ever been to a presentation and had someone read all their slides aloud? What’s the point? I can read alone! Have you ever been the presenter and had people reading through your slides in advance? It’s the absolute worst feeling ever!

What is a good “deck” anyways?

I’ve always been comfortable in front of an audience – nervous beforehand, but always comfortable once talking. I didn’t need loads of speaking notes, but I always prepared well.

But there are a few quick and easy tips to making an effective presentation that can make your audience say WOW! And when you are prepared and your audience is paying attention, it can be way less nerve wracking!

Are you tired of having people yawn through your presentation? Or read ahead on the printed materials you have? Or check their Blackberries while you are presenting the big project you’ve been working on for months? Do you want them to say “WOW! That was great!”? Then read on…

Three quick and easy tips to a POWERFUL presentation.

1. Know your stuff & know your audience.

They key to being able to present well is knowing your topic, and knowing the key points you need to get to your audience. Click to Tweet! Who is your audience? Are they senior executives who need to understand the story and key points quickly? Or are you presenting to a technical audience who needs to understand the details? If the former, bring them along to story and get to your decision point quickly. Have all the details in an appendix or attachments so if they ask details, you have them ready. If you are presenting to the technical folks, have the details up front and save the corporate strategic bits for the appendix.

2. Don’t use your words…..

Give people a reason to pay attention. Don’t give everything away with all the text on your slides! Lure them in with your ability to talk plainly and expressively about your topic without knowing exactly what you are going to say before you say it. Grab your audience’s attention. Everyone seems to have a hyperdrive attention span these days. It takes some practice, and can be scary, but once you master it – it is so much more enjoyable to present.

3. Anticipate questions and have answers prepared in advance.

Have a dry run with someone that you trust, respect, and is a member of or understands your target audience well. This is a great way to be super ready for a presentation and learn about some questions that your audience might ask, and help you flesh out or cut out information as necessary. Ask for feedback and opportunities to improve, and then apply them. You’ll be glad you did.

As we always say, everything is a process so try out these steps. Practice, improve, and repeat. Soon enough you’ll be the star of every senior management meeting.

Check out how Ruth & I design our slides and speak to them during our webinar with Ian Brodie here.

If you have tips or tricks to presentations, we’d love to hear them. Email us at info@whiteboardconsulting.ca/staging or Tweet us@whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.

If you or your organization would like some help with designing and delivering effective presentations, let us know. We’d love to help.

Until next week…..