Do you spend too much time preparing your presentation because otherwise, you would have to postpone the more important work? Never mind, the best presentations are those delivered spontaneously. This way you will appear authentic – for sure! No one will notice in case you skip important items anyway. If this is not your cup of tea, then of course you can also learn your speech by heart. You will never forget what you actually wanted to say.
Your Audience needs Guidance
Only your audience still needs guidance. Therefore you decide to use the laser pointer throughout your presentation to indicate which word you are currently spelling out on your list of bullet points. Your audience will always check whether your presentation is well structured. Therefore, you also moderate your slides: “So, we are now done with the conclusion. Next, I would like to thank my 37 friends and colleagues without whom I would not have been able to deliver this talk: My special thanks to Sara and Simon…”. Once you are done with that, you also provide a detailed overview of your references. This will save precious time, since your presentation slides and the handout must be identical anyway.
In your body language training, you learned to always keep your hands in the “neutral zone”. Theya should never dangle below your hips, nor should you gesture with them above your shoulders. This is why top numbers of your results always appear visually very small and moderate – just like the winner of the half marathon, who also just cheered to the side. The main thing is that your gestures match the content in the 1985 textbook.
The Big Bang of your Expertise
You want to show the world out there that you are an absolute expert in your field. So, you include each single result of your project in the speech. You may only have five minutes according to the program, but you have prepared it especially for an hour-long presentation, because everything is equally important. You start with Adam and Eve and look far beyond the next big bang in about eight billion years or so. The next speaker on the program will have to wait until you have covered all the essentials. The main point is that your boss can see how hard you are working in her department.
She also advised you to limit your presentation to three slides only. Of course, you are sticking to her instructions, which is why you had to adjust the size of the images and text. The fact that no one can read this from the fourth row onwards is irrelevant. Because you expected this anyway, you read out your text word by word for everyone. You also address every detail of your project: This also makes you credible to the scientists in the audience. In addition, you mention every single literature source as well as all methodological approaches from long ago.
Animations? Let Las Vegas inspire you!
Your friend recently encouraged you to add some color and animation to your slides. Now the letters of your most important technical terms fly around your slides like autumn leaves, your graphics flash with the Las Vegas skyline and the last word on your slide explodes with a loud bang, because that sharpens the senses of your audience. The main thing is that your slides look authentic and reinforce the impression that you know and have mastered not only your content, but also every latest animation.
Because you lay all the numbers, data, and facts on the line, you appear particularly credible. You present animated tables that are as complex as possible. Anyone who cannot follow you is out of luck. Nobody can see the details anyway because you had to limit everything to three slides only. But they should not approach you afterwards to doubt your expertise. People who work hard do not have time to prepare their presentation. This is why your graphics are short, the rest is covered on your three tables on the second slide.
Storytelling with a serious Background
It was me, of all people, who told you that you have the power to develop a compelling story out of anything. Now you can finally talk about how you have spent nights in a quiet room poring over your data, and how you also pored over the literature of Schmittchen et al. until you followed a sudden inspiration. To ensure that your storytelling still comes across as serious as required, you address your audience in a serious tone. Whether science or business, your personal enthusiasm has no place in a good presentation. Your project is far too serious for you to convey any lightness.
Because you must return to the lab right away to start your next experiment, you disappear from the podium directly after your presentation and without a lot of fuss. You will not show up at the event again anyway because after all, networking is for those who are desperately looking for a new job. But you need to start writing your next project proposal tonight and submit it by tomorrow morning at the latest.
You want to deliver more lousy speeches? Please wait for the next tips to come up some uncertain time in the future…
This post is also available in: German