Top Ten Presentation Tips For My Son.

An oldie but goodie from the past — one of my most requested articles. Enjoy! My 13 year-old son is presenting today at school - his 8th year graduation presentation. He's been working on it for months - a 32 page research paper AND a 30 minute presentation to the school and parents (that's more than I did in college!).

This morning, I threw together some presentation points for him to brush up on during his ride to school. I thought I would share them with you:

1. Smile. Smile. Smile.

The more that you smile, the more relaxed you’ll be. In addition, your audience will also feel relaxed and better engage with your presentation.

2. Have Fun.

Most presenters are afraid to have fun with the audience. You have a wonderful sense of humor (from your Mom and Dad) - use it! But not too much (like your Dad).

3. Move Around.

Most presenters are stiff and formal like Frankenstein. You need to engage the audience by moving around - move from the left side of the screen to the right side. Move closer to the audience (when you are making an important point) and then move back. No dancing though - keep it graceful.

4. Use Your Hands.

Your mouth should not be the only thing moving. Keep your hands moving at all times. Use them to shape your points, move them gracefully. Not too much - don’t act as if you have a medical condition.

5. Keep Eye Contact With The Audience.

Don’t just stare at the pretty girls - have your eyes bounce around from one audience member to another, smile (see tip #1), and keep bouncing your eyes. You will get everyone’s attention - that’s what you’re shooting for.

6. Try Not To Read The Screen.

You can glance quickly at it - get your point - then turn back to the audience and paraphrase the information. You’ve been practicing for many days (hopefully!) - trust yourself and instincts - you WILL remember each point.

7. Take It Easy - You Are Not Sprinting, It’s A Marathon.

You have lots of time - don’t speed through it. Frequently catch yourself and SLOW IT DOWN. Everyone tends to speed up their speaking - slow it down and have fun. Pause often, catch your breath, and then move onto the next point.

8. Engage The Audience (if you can).

Ask them questions like: “How many of you have had this problem?” - Raise your hand and invite the audience members to raise their hand too.

9. Drink Water.

Have a water bottle up there - trust me - you WILL have dry mouth. Drink at your pauses. Having a dry mouth coughing fit in front of an audience is not pretty.

10. You’re Going To Knock It Out Of The Park.

Trust Me.
I see all types of presenters all the time. Most are awful - but some really shine. The reason? They not only believe and love the subject their speaking about — they also truly enjoy to engage an audience. You have that quality in your DNA.

Much Love - Dad

P.S. My son will be following this post all day - so please leave a special comment! Thanks!

Image: Royalty-Free License from Dollar Photo Club 2014. Over 25 million images, only $1 each.

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Presentations: Longer is Sometimes Not Better.

I had to deliver a keynote to a large group of business owners the other day. I was asked to compose a quick 6-8 minute talk — and if you know me, it's a VERY short time to talk. I used iWork Keynote with an LCD projector (all set up well ahead of time) — I felt each slide would add impact (see presentation here). As you can see — no bullets, bold statements — get in and get out.

As the meeting wore on, I realized we were running out of time. To add insult to injury, the speaker before me used ALL of his allotted time (plus some) — so I received a subtle prod from the vice president to severely cut down my time. Accomplished presenters run into this all the time — if you're last on the docket, you're usually asked to shorten your talk a bit.

So I did. I talked for a total of 3-4 minutes (a 50% reduction) with the same presentation.

Guess what? Major accolades from the entire audience. What did I do?

  1. I jumped up, grabbed my remote, dispersed with the bio about me, introduced myself, and started the talk.
  2. I kicked up my energy another 50% (on top of my usual 150% enthusiasm level). This is important.
  3. I moved around and used my hands to deliver each point.
  4. I interacted with the audience — I asked questions like, "Who going to try this?" They immediately raised their hands.
  5. I spoke a bit faster, but I added assertive emphasis to each of my points.
  6. No questions. There was no time.
  7. I closed within the 4 minute mark, thanked my audience, and sat down.

The room of 60+ people burst into applause. Longer is sometimes not better.


P.S. Has this ever happened to you? Let’s talk. I’ve coached thousands of executives step up their presentation game — call or email me to schedule a complimentary session.


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I'm asked frequently by clients and colleagues alike how I construct my presentations (see a typical slide to the right). Here's my secret: Step One: Who Is Your Audience & What Do You Want Them To Take Away

This is the most important step that most executives and speakers forget. The usual process is to pick a topic and brain-dump into Powerpoint until you hit the requisite 75 slides. You’re done!