How to be a Gun Presenter

In this series, I’d like to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve come across over the years. I’ve done loads of presentations, all of different types. I’ve spoken in front of small audiences (1-2 people), mid-sized audiences (10-15 people), some bigger audiences (say around 50) and some VERY large audiences (in the hundreds).  Each audience is different and each presentation type is different so it always takes a lot of time to prepare adequately.

 

GENERAL PRESENTATION CHECKLIST

1) Planning your Presentation

1.1 Be clear with your objective / purpose
- Is it to inform? Excite? Motivate?

1.2 Audience Understanding
- Who is your audience?
- How will you adapt your message to your audience?

1.3 Do you need a theme?
- Analogy (e.g. make your presentation follow a well-known storyline like a fairytale or a TV show)

 

2) Introduction

2.1 Gain attention and interest

2.2 Introduce your topic clearly

2.3 Relate topic to audience

2.4 Establish your credibility

2.5 Preview the body of your speech

 

3) Body

3.1 Key Points
- Make sure your key points are clear
- Fully support your main points (use examples to make your point)
- Emphasise your key points (repeat it, take a long pause, tell them that it’s important)
- Try not to have more than 3 key points – any more is too hard for your audience to remember.

3.2 Flow
- Is your presentation organized in a logical manner?
- Does your presentation flow in a cohesive manner?
- What visual aids can you use to help maintain the flow?

3.3 Language
- Is your language accurate and clear?
- Is your language tailored to your audience’s level?
- What connecting words do you use?

3.4 Audience Engagement
- Acknowledge skepticism and/or apprehension amongst audience
- Respond to questions appropriately (see separate entry on Working with your Audience)

 

4) Conclusion

4.1 Prepare audience for ending

4.2 Reinforce the central idea

4.3 Finish with a vivid ending

 

5) Delivery

5.1 Pace
- Begin without rushing
- Depart from the lectern without rushing

5.2 Involve People
- Maintain eye contact
- Be excited! Communicate your enthusiasm. It’s contagious!
- Ask them questions

5.3 Avoid distracting mannerisms
- Unnecessary pacing
- Too many hand movements
- “um’s” and “ah’s”

5.4 Present Clearly
- Articulate words clearly
- Use pauses effectively
- Use vocal variety (time, pitch etc)

5.5 Visual Aids
- Prepare your visual aids well

5.6 Timing
- Complete on time (there’s nothing worse than someone who goes on for too long, especially when you’re delaying lunch)
- Ensure you leave enough time for questions (if appropriate)

 

6) Engage your Audience

6.1 Questions
- Anticipate questions that might be asked – prepare your answers in advance.
- Answer questions in a decisive and confident manner.
- Answer questions in a clear, direct way. Don’t waffle on for too long.
- Check for understanding, e.g. “does that answer your question?”
- If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say you don’t know but you will find out and get back to them. Just make sure you do!
- Actively listen to your audience and what they are saying (or not saying!)

 

7) Workshop Situations

7.1 Clearly define the problem for discussion

7.2 Phrase the question so that it’s open to a wide variety of answers

7.3 Analyse the problem before attempting the solution

7.4 Develop criteria for the ideal solution (e.g. cost, time etc)

7.5 Check each idea against the criteria)