Below are the remaining of the 12 basic questions you should ask yourself as you prepare for your next presentation. View the first six here.
7. Is there a change of pace? Presentations longer than even a few minutes may need to mix things up to keep the audience engaged. A few ways you can do this:
- Transition into a new perspective — “let’s take a look at this from a different point of view…”
- Change the look and feel of your slides
- Tell a story to illustrate a point or introduce a new section
- Play an audio or video (keep these tightly edited)
- Ask a question
- Have an audience interaction
8. Is there a wrap-up and a call to action? You have stated your case in simple but convincing terms — now wrap it up. Bring everything full circle and summarize your major points. Trim the details back to their simplest form and tell your audience what is critical for them to walk away with. Then, give them action points — tell them what they should do with this valuable material you have just given them. If you have done your job well, they are fired-up and ready to go. Give your listeners a channel for this enthusiasm.
9. Have you rehearsed enough? Seasoned speakers know that their confidence, humor, stage presence and ability to connect with their audience increase greatly with practice. Don’t short yourself this precious step. Use video and audio recording, use trusted friends, get a coach and keep rehearsing. It will help you smooth out the rough spots and enhance the brilliant spots.
10. Have you checked the room and checked the technology? Whenever possible get in your presentation area before the audience does. Stand where you will be speaking from, note where the monitors are, where you can stand and not obscure the screen or stand in the projector beam. Make sure the actual technology you will use is working and ready to go. Is everything cued up? You should be able to step to the front of the room and start without fussing with a computer or clicker.
11. Did your prepare mentally and physically before you went on? You may need to isolate yourself for a while just before your speech and clear mental distractions. Or you may need to do something physical to get your energy level revved up. Mick Jagger reportedly hits a treadmill backstage for 30 minutes just before he hits the stage.
12. Did you get to know your audience ahead of time? This is a powerful technique: whenever possible mingle with your audience as they enter the room. It warms you up and it warms them up. Introduce yourself, tell them how excited you are to be there. Ask them about your subject — you may get some last minute details you can use. Then when you begin you will have friends in the audience instead of a roomful of disinterested strangers.
Use these 12 questions to build and fine-tune your speech and to prepare yourself for your delivery. You will be richly rewarded with a first-rate presentation that both connects with and motivates your audience.