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11 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation

Few things in life are as intimidating as giving a talk in front of a group of people. Surveys have found that some people dread public speaking even more than they do their own death. Nevertheless, presentations are very useful and sometimes vital for selling an idea. Fortunately technology has come to the public speaker's aid in the form of a digital projector. In addition to graphically illustrating a speaker's ideas, a projector also helps to ease the nerves of some speakers by taking part of the spotlight off them. Perhaps their most important use, however, is as an unobtrusive guide, reminding speakers of important points and keeping them on the right track.

Detailed instructions on giving great presentations would of course require a whole book. There are, however, some key points that will help people make the most effective use of a digital projector.

Tips for a Great Presentation with a Digital Projector:
  1. Practice. Not only should you practice giving your presentation with your laptop and projector, but you should also practice setting your equipment up and taking it down. You should be able to do this with your eyes closed. Have a story or two handy so that you can entertain your audience while connecting and disconnecting. Practice in different locations.
  2. Simplify. Giving a presentation requires complete concentration, making it difficult to handle other tasks that may be required. Therefore simplify everything surrounding your presentation as much as possible. Take only the equipment you need. Label parts that could be confusing. Pack the equipment logically for easy set up and easy take down. Use file names that are immediately understandable. If special keystrokes are required to put your laptop into projector mode, stick a small note on your keyboard with the necessary instructions.
  3. Don't Get Carried Away. Just because PowerPoint allows you to add fancy transitions and animations doesn't mean you should use them. Use these extra features only when necessary. Don't do anything to distract your audience from your main point.
  4. Customize. One PowerPoint feature that you should probably use is the ability to customize a presentation for a particular audience. Even subtle customization (e.g., the name of a particular city) will separate your presentation from the many canned presentations that you audience may have seen. Be careful, however, to show the right presentation to the right audience!
  5. Have a Backup Plan. Experience with complex equipment shows that something will inevitably go wrong, sometimes at the worst possible moment. Be prepared.
  6. Know Your Subject Matter. The more you know what you are talking about, the calmer you will be and the more successful you will be at conveying that information.
  7. Be Passionate About Your Subject. Your audience will appreciate this, but don't fake it. No matter how dry the subject, there must be some aspect about it that excites you, either positively or negatively. Let this passion shine.
  8. Know Your Audience. Try to ascertain how much they already know about your subject matter. Don't talk down to a knowledgeable group. Don't talk over the heads of novices.
  9. Be Flexible. Stick to your main points, but be ready to adjust your presentation to the particular desires of your audience. Gloss over minor points for which your audience has no interest. Keep the lights on so that you can watch their reactions. Welcome questions and comments.
  10. Watch the Clock. Remember the old show business maxim: Always leave your audience wanting more. No matter how well you speak or how important the subject, keep in mind that your audience does have other things they could and should be doing. Be respectful of their time.
  11. While we are on the subject of great presentations using a digital projector, there is one very important tip that you may not have heard before. Here is your 11th tip, are you ready?

  12. Always have a spare projector lamp! Every day, a presentation or other important event is ruined because of a blown or expired projector lamp. The good news is that there is something you can do about it and it doesn�t require any learning curve, just a plan.

That�s it! Remember these 11 easy tips for a great presentation the next time you are up at the podium. A successful presentation - one that informs, motivates, and connects with an audience - is an extremely useful business tool. Good luck!