Delivering a presentation is a key skill for anyone running a business or being its public face. We’ve all been to some that leave you wanting more and others that don’t quite hit the mark. Hence this mini-series with tips on how to do it well.
- Visit the venue
If practical, check out the room beforehand. This gives you all you need to avoid most of the issues listed below. If you can’t get there physically, try it virtually on the venue site, getting an idea of the layout, not just for you but your attendees too.
- Arrive early
It might sound silly but this is probably the most important tip, if indeed it can be called that. Time is your biggest asset when it comes to fixing problems, it gives you and others the opportunity to make changes before it starts.
- Bring a snack
Expecting to make it to the shop or bar during the break is – at best – hopeful. If your presentation is good you’ll be inundated with questions, so have a snack ready that’s easy to eat whilst talking with people.
- Business cards and baskets
There are two things here: 1) bring as many as possible of your own cards and try to share them out beforehand 2) figure out a way to collect other’s cards such as a basket to pass round that they can put them in.
- Bring a backup projector
Projectors fail. LED Projectors haven’t yet reached wide-enough usage so they are usually powered by bulbs and only run during presentations which is when they fail. They also overheat or are set up in a complicated method that makes it hard to connect.
- Bring extension cables
These are rare beasts and can make all the difference. If you want your laptop near you or to plug in a projector somewhere most useful for you then both power and possibly projector cable is helpful.
- Print out your slides
It’s not particularly eco-friendly, but presuming you don’t have a long set of slides (see the next post) then they should fit on about four A4 pages or less. Remember not everyone can see slides that well and many like to take notes on handouts of the slides.
- Have a copy of your slides on a USB Stick
Your laptop may fail or simply be unable to connect to the complicated projector setup. Always have a backup copy and you may find that connecting up to someone else’s laptop saves the day.
- Phone number/ helper
Invariably when you need help in a presentation room you can’t find the person you need at the venue and/or can’t leave the room to find them. Having a mobile number for the manager saves a lot of time. A helper is even better. Most importantly know that you can get the coffee/tea and biscuits on time and who to chase if it doesn’t happen.
- Presentation clicker
There are several ‘fancy’ solutions, including micro networks if you have a Mac and iPhone, but broadly they’re just a little too clever and getting a simple clicker that plugs into a USB is almost certain to work.
In case you were wondering, we have made mistakes – most notably once (and only once) being late for a presentation. It doesn’t really get forgotten.