Present With Confidence: Tips From The Manager’s Answer Book

Recently I attended a presentation about historical events in my community. It was interesting and informative and the presenter was very knowledgeable about the subject. However, as someone who has attended and given numerous presentations in my career, I couldn't help but be distracted by certain things he said and did. If he had asked for feedback, this is what I would share. 

  1. Know your audience.  Don't say things like "if you'll recall" or "I'm sure you'll remember" when you're talking about events that happened before most audience members were born. 
  2. If technology is involved, know how to use it.  For example, know how to advance the slides.
  3. If you are using slides, make sure they are engaging for the audience. 
  • Use color and a clear, crisp font that's easy and large enough for all audience members to read. 
  • Avoid putting too much information on a single slide. 

Manager’s Tips: Barbara and I recognize that presentation skills can be critical for a manager’s success and we discuss it in The Manager’s Answer Book.  These are some of the tips we offer:

  • Be clear about your objective.  Is the presentation to inform or is it a call to action?  
  • Lay out you key points. Keep it simple so your audience can easily grasp the message. 
  • Organize your material so it’s easy for the audience to follow.
  • A strong opening will make a big impression, so get right to the point of your presentation stating it clearly at the beginning 
  • Know your material and rehearse it as needed so that you can deliver it comfortably. 
  • Do a dry run, if possible, to be sure your slides can be read from anywhere in the room. 
  • Spend some time in the meeting room beforehand to get a sense of where people will be sitting and the best spot for you to stand. 
  • Practice with the technology you will be using so that when you’re ready to speak, you can move right into your presentation.
  • Anticipate questions you may get at the end of your presentation.

You can find more information about presentations on page 50 of The Manager's Answer Book. 

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