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6 Pro Tips for Delivering a Polished Presentation
Here at Avista we have worked with literally thousands of presenters addressing a variety of audiences. From engaging and professional speakers such as Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom, to highly polished technology and financial services CEOs, we've seen the best of the best. We've also seen first timers and civilians who have crashed and burned despite their (and our) best efforts to make them look and sound good.
From that collective, back of the room perspective, here are the things we've seen that have made the difference between a so-so presentation and one that engages and delivers:
1. Keep text on your slides to a minimum
In addition to seeing a lot of great speakers, we've also listened to a lot of professional speakers talk about how to give successful presentations (very meta, we know). Almost all of them decry the use of bullet-pointed text. Your powerpoint is not a summary of your speaking points. You and your words on stage have to be the focal point, and your presentation should underscore or highlight your talking points, not regurgitate them. Think of symbols and metaphors, pictures and graphics, and suppress the urge to use words on the screen.
2. Practice, practice, practice
It's not only how you get to Carnegie Hall, but how you engage your audience. It really is something that all the best presenters we work with do. Make sure that the event schedule builds in time for a full dress rehearsal if possible, with you giving the entire presentation mic'd up so you get used to the room, your words, and the sound of your voice coming through the speaker system.
3. Speak slowly
It's a natural tendency to speak faster than normal if you're nervous on stage. Even your normal speaking cadence may be too fast when delivering a presentation. We recommend slowing down your rhythm, and also building in frequent pauses.
4. Raise your voice and speak into the (right) mic
The rest of our tips are more focused on how your AV team can help you give a better presentation.
First off, you know that you are supposed to project your voice and aim for the back of the room. To aid in this, ask you AV team to use either a handheld microphone on a mic stand, or use a headset style of microphone, particularly if you are a low talker. These are preferable to lavalier style microphones. If you do go with regular handheld microphone, be sure that it is always no more than an inch from your mouth, or else your audio engineers will have more difficulty giving you the gain you need.
Here are examples of an inexpensive headset style of microphone that we rent: http://www.avistarentals.com/shop/audio-sound-equipment-rentals/wireless-wired-microphones/headset-microphones. But we also carry a variety of pro-grade headset microphones from Countryman, the leader in professional headset microphones. Call us to discuss your specific needs.
5. Employ Confidence Monitors
Confidence monitors, or displays placed at ground level facing the speaker, can be used in numerous ways to make you a better presenter.
With the simplest setup, the display will mirror what the main images show. That will assist you from having to look back at the screens to refer to them, and keep you looking straight ahead.
The next level is to have two displays, with one mirroring the main image, and the second showing you the next slide in your deck. Alternatively, you can have the second display show the presenter view (if you're using Powerpoint), which will give you not just the next slide view, but also any notes you have added to each slide. In this instance you will want to employ large enough displays to ensure that notes are readable. You can also have the second monitor show a separate Powerpoint deck that has talking points displayed, or even a Word document that can have pages advance lockstep with the main presentation.
Avista has a variety of confidence monitor configurations it can deploy to give you the tools you need to make a great presentation. Here is a sampling of the confidence monitors that we have: http://www.avistarentals.com/shop/monitor-display-rentals/confidence-monitors, but we can also go up to 55" displays as confidence monitors.
6. Employ a teleprompter
A presidential style teleprompter is also a viable option, and is especially good if the specific wording of the presentation is important. You have to be careful to be natural and not just read the words, but this is also the chief benefit of a teleprompter, that the speaker does not have to create any words on the fly. Another benefit is that the speaker appears to be looking directly out into the audience, so looks more engaged with the audience.
Avista rents teleprompter for any speaking engagement, and we have expert teleprompter operators to make you look and sound your best. Check out our page on teleprompter here http://www.avistarentals.com/other-services/teleprompter-systems/, and check out our specific teleprompter rental here http://www.avistarentals.com/shop/presidential-teleprompter-rentals.
For inquiries, please call us at 888-462-8478.
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