Here is THE tip for all presentations you will give in the future: Dare to prepare – each of your speeches, again and again!
Of course, every speech should be prepared so well that you can deliver it in a convincing way. Every single speech is unique and cannot be compared to any previous presentation. Also consider your target group: your audience…
- is not comparable
- has its very own expectations
- often brings with them very different levels of expertise.
How professional presentations fail…
You know this scenario: You are listening to a presentation by a well-known colleague. His standard PowerPoint slides are cluttered with long sentences the audience can literally read. The logo is displayed on each slide, of course.
The illustrations are so complex and the words so complicated that you can hardly follow, because at the same time you are trying to capture the meaning of the elaborately designed graphics.
The speaker copies further slides 1:1 from the publication in an internationally renowned specialist journal, but with title and legend in German (or any other language) instead of English. And the slide that follows is completely in German. This allows bilingual interactive presentations – really?
After 15 minutes of monolog the discussion follows. Now it could become more interesting again, because the exciting topic itself could be examined from different perspectives. However, just like the majority of the audience, you have long since lost touch or interest. Too bad – your appreciated colleague missed a great opportunity to share his expertise with others and to exchange ideas openly and lively. He did not provide any novel, interesting aspects worth discussing and no new insights for other colleagues. And all this because the time for preparation was too short…
I have seen it in many science conferences: People repeat their old presentations 1:1. You can avoid those mistakes while preparing every single presentation anew and adjust to your audience.
…and this is how you succeed
Answer those questions while preparing your next speech:
- What kind of people will attend my presentation – and why?
- What do they want to hear?
- What prior knowledge and expertise do they already bring with them?
Answer those questions beforehand, and you will collect important jigsaw pieces to succeed with your next presentation. You might support your content with a few PowerPoint slides. The logo will be shown only on the title slide. Throw out all the redundant ballast: slim slides are much more pleasant for your audience.
Illustrations supplement your statements in a meaningful way, since you portray the results of your project visually. The graphics are easy to understand and fit the topic and audience. You limit the text – if it exists at all – to a few words.
How discussions bring you forward
This time, the discussion following your convincing speech will be an interesting one, a win-win: your audience may bring in controversially discussed suggestions and even new, innovative ideas and new insights for your project. This will broaden your horizon and fulfil the original purpose of a discussion: the professional information exchange along with new ideas. Your intense preparation was worth all the effort! This is what makes for a stimulating dialog.
In the next coffee break, you can deepen the discussion with a few listeners. Last but not least, this is your chance to expand your active network.
This post is also available in: German